As I write this, Logan is in the car with my dad on the way to Mexico. My dad heads up a church group that goes to Tecate, Mexico four times a year to do projects and play with the kids at an orphanage. He’s been doing this for over 12 years, and this is Logan’s first time going with him. And, to be clear, Logan is going without me.
This isn’t the first time Logan has done something with my dad without me. They golf and go to baseball games. They talk on the phone and text about business.
In less than a year, they’ve become buddies.
My dad has two daughters – me and my older sister, Julie. My dad loves us very much and has never expressed disappointment that neither of us is a boy.
Still, I know he wishes he had a son. I like football and can talk some sports with him. But it’s just different with guys. Generally speaking, they talk, act, and do things differently than women do.
The evolution of my relationship with my dad.
My dad and I became a lot closer when I started college, and we’ve continued to build on that foundation, especially in the last few years. Prior to then, I never talked with my dad about the guys I was interested in or was dating.
It felt uncomfortable to share “girly” things like that with him.
But that changed when my first boyfriend and I broke up. I talked with my dad a lot about the situation and realized that he had a lot of insight to offer. He gave me “the guy’s perspective” that I never got with my mom.
We’ve also grown closer through my career change from law to psychology. Over 30 years ago, he made the switch from teaching to financial planning, so I knew he could give me the inside scoop.
And as I’ve talked with him about someday having my own business, we’ve connected on that front too.
It’s taken a lot of work on both of our parts and still requires work. Sometimes I have to make the conscious decision to call my dad instead of my mom when I have news. And it’s not always easy to share my feelings with my dad. Our relationship, in some ways, still feels tentative, like when I’m hurt by something he says or does. Sometimes I don’t know how to address it with him.
Forever is a long time.
Years ago, I told my parents that I was afraid that I would be blinded by lust and infatuation and ignore signs that a guy wouldn’t be a good life partner. This fear originated in a couple of different things, but one was a comment from my mom when I was a teenager.
“Forever is a long time,” she said.
For the most part, this comment was helpful because marriage is a huge decision, arguably the most important decision of a person’s life. It shouldn’t be based on feelings alone, but also careful thought and consideration about what’s most important to a person and finding someone who shares those values.
On the flip side, her comments has had a downside too. It’s made me more critical than I’d like to be. I find myself looking for flaws to prevent me from being with someone who isn’t a great fit because forever is a long time to deal with that.
But this has gotten me into trouble because I know that no one is perfect and everyone has flaws (including myself!).
To avoid making a bad decision, I told my parents that I wanted their approval about my boyfriends. I’ve realized, though, that this is unnecessary because they raised me not to rush into marriage or put pressure on me to have kids.
They encouraged me to get an education, pursue a career, and figure out what I want out of life. They didn’t say to wait to get married or to get married young. They just told me to do me (in other words) and the “right” relationship would happen naturally.
The intersection of marriage and family.
Connection with others is what brings life meaning. My parents have been the two most influential people in my life, and I know what a blessing it is that I have them – because not everyone has parents who support, encourage, and love them.
Bringing Logan into the fold had the potential to change that. I’ve seen it happen where a guy comes between a girl and her family, and I never wanted that to happen to me.
I don’t know where I would be without my parents, but I know that I would have a huge void in my life. So when it comes to who I date, if he doesn’t get along with my parents, and if he doesn’t want to hang with my dad, it’s not going to work.
From the start, Logan talked about wanting a relationship with my dad, and his actions have shown that. He’s initiated calls and texts with my dad, and it was his idea to join my dad’s church on their trip to Tecate.
I get that there are plenty of families where the son-in-law doesn’t get along great with his in-laws, and I’m not saying that the marriage is doomed or shouldn’t have happened. Family relationships can be complicated, and everyone’s dynamics are different.
But for me it’s important.
I see my parents often and talk on the phone with them even more. They’re an essential part of my life, and I don’t want that to change because of a guy.
I’ve seen firsthand that this isn’t a concern with Logan. He makes an effort to spend time with my dad and get to know him better. I’m both impressed and comforted by how close they are becoming, and I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the future.