The Extraordinary Bond Between a Father and His Daughter

by Stephen Bradshaw December 29, 2016

little girl applying lipstick on her father

There's a scene in "Pride and Prejudice" that makes my wife cry every time we watch it.

You might be surprised to hear that it's not the scene at the end where Mr. Darcy walks across the field to confess his love for Lizzy. That is a beautiful scene. However, the scene that really touches my wife is when Lizzy’s father, after hearing all that Mr. Darcy has done for Lizzy, looks at her and says: “I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to any one less worthy.”

I love that line. It captures a piece of that extraordinary bond between a father and daughter; a bond that I recently discovered alive within myself.

When I sat down to write about how my two-year-old daughter should one day expect to be treated by her man (when that day comes a long, LONG time from now), I became overwhelmed with emotion to the point that I couldn’t even describe what those feeling were, which, as a writer, is my job.

I sat in front of my computer typing, erasing, and re-writing for 37 minutes (yes, I checked the time), trying to describe to her the fierce, loyal, and deep love I feel for her. It was one of the first times I had experienced the true strength of this father-daughter bond.

Part of the reason I had such a strong emotional reaction is that it was the same weekend that I was a groomsman in my brother-in-law’s wedding. I stood next to him at the front of the church as his bride walked down the aisle in a flowing white dress, arm in arm with her father. I watched as her father gave his blessing on their marriage, leaned in and kissed her, and then handed her over to another man.

I watched as she and her father danced together. I can’t imagine how hard that day must have been for her father. And yet, I have no doubt that the strength of his fatherly love for her washed away those feelings of grief and replaced them with pride and joy for her.

Observing their relationship during such a monumental event was a beautiful thing. It reminded me of another time I witnessed this same love play out. The day was March 15, 2007, the day I proposed to my wife. I started the morning off by calling my wife’s father so that I could ask for his blessing to marry her.

He was very gracious and asked me several important questions. After our meaningful conversation, he gave me his blessing. Full of excitement, I put my proposal plan in order and later that evening, I was engaged to the girl of my dreams.

My wife and I were both thrilled, of course, but I remember being somewhat surprised by the reaction she had when I told her about my conversation with her dad. I expected her to be pleased but I never would have anticipated how deeply moved she was.

She wanted to know every detail about the questions he asked me. Those questions meant the world to her because, as I now understand, her daddy was proving to her, even when she wasn’t there to hear it, how much he loved and protected her and wanted only the best for her. As my own daughter bounds around our house with her little pigtails and her scrunchy-nosed smile, I feel that same love for my daughter, steeling me to be her protector, her advocate, her supporter, and her rock.

I would lift mountains and calm the seas for my daughter if she needed it. That is what fatherly love for my daughter propels me to do. It truly is a beautiful thing.

Take a moment today and reach out to your own father. Tell him what you love about him or about one of your favorite memories with him. If you have a daughter, tell her father how thankful you are that he's in her life.

Stephen Bradshaw


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