Friday, March 8, 2013

Daughters in Law

I've been thinking, lately, about the sort of woman I hope my sons will marry someday. It's a little early, I know; my oldest is all of six. But, you, know, be prepared, know thine enemy, etc. (tongue in cheek there!)
While I'm well aware that I won't have any say in the person they marry, nor truth be told would I wish one, I will have a great deal of say in the sort of women they grow up hearing about, seeing, and hopefully one day searching for. I have a list, a very short list, of qualities that I hope they prioritize; not over faith or personal integrity, because I would hope those would be a given, but qualities that in some circles might not be as universal or intuitive as they should be. If given the chance, I'd advise my sons to look for:

1. A woman who loves;
Unselfish, gentle, kind, fierce, strong, tenacious love. Who shows empathy and compassion, bravery and honor.

2. A woman who thinks;
Who uses her brain, who is good friends with logic and reason, who reads.

3. A woman who won't ”play” them. Ever.
Who thinks ”manipulate” is a dirty word, and who thinks that the closer a relationship is, the more crucial is a commitment to open, honest, uncomfortable, vulnerable communication. Who can confront graciously and boldly and be confronted.

4. A woman who is big enough to admit it when she's wrong;
Who doesn't find her identity in a pedestal of perfection, who knows that she and others are imperfect and human and in need of truthful grace.

5. A woman who is independent;
Who wants them more than she needs them, who could survive, financially and emotionally, without them, who values the riches of personal responsibility, who faces life with them as a team but who neither needs nor wants to be controlled or coddled.

As I ponder the things I want to teach my sons to value and to search for, I feel very challenged- because, of course, it would be unfair to hold my future daughters to a standard that I cannot meet myself. Also, if my sons are to value those qualities, they should see them reflected in me, their first female influence. Some of these are definitely easier than others for my personality; I'd say gentleness, compassion, and empathy with others don't come as naturally to me, nor do meekness or unselfishness. I have my work cut out for me, indeed! Do I ever....

And lest you think my standards for women are impossibly high, it really boils down to this: I want my sons to marry an emotionally and spiritually healthy, thinking woman of personal integrity, responsibility, and loving, intimate, relational faith. Yes...... That's all. :) The women my sons marry need not be beautiful, it even a perfect specimen of physical health. They need not have a certain amount of education, or be intellectually brilliant. They need not be wealthy, have a glamorous career, polished manners, or dazzling social skills. They need not want children, know how to cook or ”manage a home”, be a spotless housekeeper, or be conversant in the ”womanly arts” like sewing, knitting, et c. They need not be smart or musical, though I'd love it if they were. No- all of those things are good, but most of them can be attained by study, practice,  or hiring good people. :) With a deep and personal faith, integrity, love, and love of logical thought, anything else is either gravy, as they say, or can be added later.

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