I suppose I never quite understood it while I was growing up – the way that my father would go to any extreme to protect me. Couldn’t I do anything I wanted to? Couldn’t I have any fun? Didn’t he want anyone to love me? Did I have to have so many restrictions? It seemed strange to me at times that while almost every other girl I knew was able to wear short skirts, stay out late, and see anybody they wanted, my dad would go crazy if a guy even looked at me sideways.
Well, when I say “go crazy,” I’m talking about his eyes. You could see it in his eyes. That “don’t-you-even-think-about-looking-at-my-daughter” look.
We would always laugh about it, comparing him to Steve Martin from that delightfully tacky 90’s romantic comedy Father of the Bride. He would react in the exact same way – with that protective instinct bringing about those crazy eyes. I also imagine when I talked he also saw a seven year old girl with pigtails.
He would always tell me to be very careful when I told him the guys I was interested in and would give me advice as to which guys were suitable. Which happened to be none. “You shouldn’t be interested that guy,” he would say, “he isn’t going to treat you right.”
Frustratingly, it seemed to me like he was never going to be happy with anyone that I chose. But even more frustratingly, he was always right.
There was even a time when I went into his office to find something and saw a note on the desk. It had a man’s name at the top, a list of ways this guy had apparently made advances towards me the previous evening at a dinner at our house and at the bottom of the page, in big, bold, capital letters it said, “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”
I quickly went to him to see what was going on.
“What is this?” I asked, “I’m not even interested in this guy!”
“He was showing interest in you. I didn’t like it,” Dad said, disgruntledly.
“Oh, but he’s a nice guy!” Mum said.
“You don’t know him like I do,” Dad said – in a way that told us both that he was dead serious.
It was very amusing… and you know, he was probably right about him too.
Because of all the aforementioned evidence, I was quite afraid when my husband-to-be was to meet my parents. Well, he wasn’t even my husband-to-be. Actually, I had never even met him, but he was coming to see me for the first time after some prior correspondence. I had the feeling that he was the one, but I was quite sure that my Dad would frown upon him like all the others.
Things were off to a scary start when he sent my sister with me to the airport gate to meet him (most likely so that he couldn’t hug me, which my husband later told me he would have done if my sister wasn’t there). I was sure that my Dad was going to give him a hard time and tell me that this was not the guy for me.
Surprisingly, he warmed up to him right away.
Yet his protection continued throughout our dating. Whenever we rode in the back of the car he would constantly check in the rear view mirror. Once he came and hit the car bonnet when we were sitting in the car reading a map (he broke into a huge grin when he saw we were just reading). He was always concerned with my purity.
…and I believe that is one of the reasons I was able to stay pure until my wedding night. As Solomon said to his son, so it can be said to a daughter who has a good father (like I have):
“My [daughter], keep your father’s commandment[s] […] Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil [man], from the smooth tongue of the [adulterer]” (Proverbs 6:20-24).
The thing that most startled me about him though – considering his protection of me – was his willingness to give me over to a good man and know that I was being loved. My husband even confided in me that when he went to ask Dad for his permission to marry me, Dad got in first and asked, “So what are your intentions for my daughter?” He wanted to see me happy and well-treated.
Sure, it was hard for him. He did tell us when my newly made husband had “kissed the bride” to an extent that he thought was sufficient, “That’s enough guys.”
He made like he was joking, but I think there was more than a little truth behind that joke.
Though he previously was protecting me from those who would profess to love me and trample on my heart, when he saw that there was another man that would protect and cherish me and my heart, he was more than willing to let me go.
He came to stay with us recently, and upon seeing how my husband and I interacted, he wrote in a parting note, “I love how you love each other! Keep it up!”
I choked back the tears as I read this. Yes, it is definitely a light-hearted correspondence, but it touched me because it made me realize something about my Dad: he did want me to be loved, but not by just anybody, and not in just any way. He wanted me to be loved by someone who was trying to love as Christ loves. Someone who cared about me in my entirety – not just my body, but also my heart and soul.
He had been working all this time to protect my purity in order to secure my long-term happiness, and I am so incredibly grateful that he did. I owe my current happy relationship to him, I have no doubt about it.
There were times when I thought he just didn’t want me to be happy and have fun; but in fact, it was completely the opposite. I am having more fun and am enjoying more happiness now than I ever could have imagined.
…and if I had just thought about it for a moment, I would have known all along that that would be so. He was (and still is), after all, a pretty great example of how a man can love a woman very much and very well.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for protecting my purity and happiness. I love you!