It's eerie how much my husband reminds me of my father. They're both maddeningly patient (maddening because, how do they do that?), levelheaded, calm in a crisis, kind, practical, and always, no matter what, put their families first. They're also sometimes supercorny and kinda lame dressers (sorry, but swim trunks are not shorts). I don't think it's a coincidence that the man I married is so much like my father. I grew up with an amazing man in my life, and once I was an adult, I set out to find someone who could measure up.
From an early age, I noticed how my dad treated my mom like she was his queen. He told her, and still does, that she's the most beautiful woman in the world. He never put her down. He rarely, if ever, raised his voice to her. He wasn't the kind of guy who stayed out late drinking with the guys. He always made it clear he'd much rather be home with her. My dad worked hard, but it never failed that he'd have a smile on his face when he walked in the door after a long day at the office.
At the same time, my dad was always on hand to help me with my homework or listen to my stories about school and friends. He never missed a school play or chorus concert. He was available for late-night advice about anything, even boys. And yes, I felt comfortable confiding in him, even when silly middle school crushes morphed into high school heartbreak. My dad told me I was smart and talented and helped me see I had a lot to offer the world.
I guess I always knew a potential life partner would have a lot to live up to. Still, I dated my fair share of disappointing men. Some found more time for friends and partying than me. Others had wandering eyes. One in particular treated me horribly and made me feel as small as possible so he could feel better about himself. It wasn't until I met my future husband that I believed there was more than one good guy out there.
My now-husband never made me question if I was important in his life. He told me I was the most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes on but also the most interesting. I feel so fortunate that 13 years later, he still thinks this! My husband put me first. He never yelled or insulted me. And then, once we wed and started a family of our own, I proceeded to watch him become a devoted, even-tempered, untiring father who had endless energy to play with and help our kids with any and all issues, big and small. Sound familiar?
I'll admit my choice in a mate may not have been as conscious as it seems. It's not like I dated thinking I wanted to find a man like my dad. But I always knew what a good guy looked like, what he sounded like, what he said and didn't say. I owe my dad a huge debt of gratitude for treating me and my mom like gold, as he clearly helped set me up for a happy life with a wonderful partner. I can only hope my daughters will find partners who make them feel as valued and loved as my dad and their dad do.