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There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage. - Martin Luther
"Dad, I'm getting married." Few words make a dad feel so powerless, even a little scared, and yet so proud. The single biggest decision our children can make is choosing a lifetime companion. The stakes are high.
"I'm getting married." It's the ultimate graduation, the ultimate breaking-away, and the ultimate coming-of-age statement. He is no longer to be just your son. He is now to be someone's husband. They will start a new life of their own, together.
My wife and I had been praying for our son's future spouse from the first moment he was born. We prayed that God would select a great partner for our son, and that he could be a great partner for her.
In high school the prospects didn't seem too promising and, even into college, we were starting to wonder if there was, in fact, a partner for him. Then he met a wonderful young woman and started a serious relationship.
Dad decided that she was "the one." She was smart and organized - a great complement to our son's gifts. They took relationship skills training classes together, which helped them to fully evaluate their future together. And, perhaps because of these classes, just as the wedding date was being set, they made a decision: this isn't right. They called it off.
All kinds of new feelings swept through our family: disappointment, disillusionment, a sense of loss. It was a mutual decision, but really hard for them both. My son shared that he didn't see how he would ever meet another potential spouse. The field was shrinking and his pending military deployment would limit his ability to meet eligible women.
Then he met her. He didn't plan on it, it just happened. On one of his few weekends of leave, he discovered his future mate sitting across the aisle in church. Despite the difficulty of a long distance courtship they are now married. And Dad thinks she is wonderful.
My son has given me a gift. He has given me a new daughter - a beautiful, charming, kind, delightful daughter. Wow! This feels great. I am proud and excited for them both.
A military marriage is challenging, so we continue to encourage them. They are honing their communication skills and looking forward to their end-of-deployment reunion in August. They have started well by choosing well, but they cannot relax. Now they must continually work to understand each other better and better. If they succeed, they will be rewarded with the "lovely, friendly and charming relationship" that my wife and best-friend Lisa and I have enjoyed some 28 years now.
If you or a family member is in a developing relationship, Operation Us has great classes to help teens and adults learn how to make that most important decision in their life . . . choosing a life partner. If you have already chosen a life partner, Operation Us has classes on keeping your married relationship strong and healthy.
Recommended highly by Dad Highley.
Duane Highley is the father of four older children, ages 13 to 24. He and his wife Lisa reside in Springfield.