How I Teach My Daughter About True Love

by Michelle Downing December 21, 2016

couple kissing in rain

I know it’s so important to raise your children to be hard-working and have strong morals. We give them the best education we can so they can build a bright future for themselves and be independent. Which I do, don’t get me wrong. But, I hope for so much more for my daughter.

My greatest hope for my daughter, once she is grown, is to know the love of a good man.

I want my daughter to understand how a man treats a woman.

I’m not talking about gender-specific roles from the olden days. My husband cooks dinner for our family, and I mow the yard. I take out the trash, and he starts the laundry. There’s no bread-winner in our home or homemaker. We both work and we both make our home run smoothly. We are a team.

I’m talking about good old-fashioned chivalry.

My husband always gets out in the cold to fill the car up with gas, even if I’m driving. He always rushes ahead to hold open the door wherever we go. When we cross the street or take the stairs, he holds out his arm to make sure I don’t fall and always walks closest to the street. When we go to a restaurant, he always pulls out his wallet to pay, even though all of our money is coming from the same account.

I know it sounds silly, but my daughter is watching.

They say children are a product of their environment, a product of their parents. Well, in our family, it sure feels like that must be true. My parents are divorced. So are my husband’s. And so are my daughter’s.

Yes, my husband is her step-father. She has, unfortunately, seen every dynamic of a broken home that she can. She has step-cousins, step-aunts, and step-uncles. She has more grandparents and step-grandparents than any child I’ve ever known.

But, what may be hardest of all: she has a half-sister born to two married parents who love each other and have loved each other all her little life.

I know that for my youngest daughter, finding a wonderful man will be easy. She will look for someone just like her dad. She gets to grow up with someone who is kind and generous. She gets to grow up with someone who loves her with all his heart, someone she can depend on, no matter what.

Most importantly, she gets to grow up with someone who loves her Mom.

I’m trying to teach my oldest daughter that this is possible. That in a world where over half of couples divorce (and well more than half her family does), love still exists.

What’s the easiest way to teach her this? To date my husband.

We still have nights out on our own where we get dressed up for each other. We still find things to talk about that don’t involve the kids. We still hold hands in public and sneak kisses.

In today’s crazy hectic world, it’s very easy to get too busy to be a couple. Kids have homework, games, practice, and lessons. You have work, errands, housework, and carpool. A date night seems impossible. Of everything going on, it’s the first thing to get cut from the list.

But, it can’t.

Your kids may be your world now, but they won’t be forever. Your kids will grow up (or just turn into moody teenagers and have no time for their parents). They will move out and make a family of their own. They may even move far away and have a hard time visiting. They will find their own days filled with work, games, practice, lessons, and carpool.

And what will you have?

Your husband.

In a world where half of couples divorce, I can’t wait until the day my daughter finds herself part of a couple that won’t. I can’t wait to see this vicious cycle come to an end. And I will tell my daughter about the importance of dating her husband.

As a woman, my daughter will have always known love, because she’s grown up watching me love my husband.

Michelle Downing


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