Her mother and I are divorced. Her fiance's parents are divorced as well. (Maybe that's why it's taking so long for my daughter to get married?) But I want her to understand that even though our marriage fell apart at the end -- the marriage failed as some people put it -- in my mind the marriage was a solid success. After all, my wife and I were together for 30 years (who keeps a job that long these days?). We owned a home, raised a family; we were contributing members of our community. And we produced two wonderful children.
We offered them happy childhoods, making sure to live in a good school system, ferrying them to baseball, tennis and swimming practices, loving them the best way we could. And now that they are adults we support their choices (even though, to us, they sometimes seem like questionable ones); and as their parents we do not argue or fight; in fact, we get along reasonably well and might even be considered friends.
B wants to tell my daughter that the clock is ticking if she wants to have a baby. My daughter was pretty good at math, though, so I think she knows the numbers. However . . . I hope she's marrying this man because she loves hm and gets along with him, and not just because at age 34 she thinks it's "time" she got married. But I don't know if I could raise the subject without sounding like I was cross-examining her, without immediately putting her on the defensive and shutting down any true communication.
Who has any experience with this? Do you have any advice for me?
Perhaps the person I want to talk to is not my daughter at all, but her husband-to-be. We have a saying in golf. You hit the ball up toward the hole. You think you have a good shot, certainly on the green and maybe even near the cup, but you're too far away, or behind some trees, and so you can't see where the ball actually came to rest. You walk up to the hole expecting to see the ball sitting on the green -- instead, it's off to the side, maybe in the rough or in a sand trap. This shot is jokingly called a "son-in-law" . . . meaning, it's not what you expected.
My daughter's fiance is not someone I would have expected. He has his positive points -- a good job; he doesn't party or run around . . . he instead spends his spare time fixing up old cars or old bikes or else tinkering with technology (which means he has old cars in the driveway and old bikes in their living room). But he can be a little . . . I'm not quite sure, but he doesn't always sit quite right. With me anyway. Maybe the problem is just that he's in his 30s. But anyway, what I think doesn't matter. What matters is what my daughter thinks of him, what she sees in him that isn't apparent to the elders in the family.
I guess I just want to make sure this young man treats my daughter well -- that he thinks of her before he thinks of himself. That he supports her emotionally, builds up her self-confidence, encourages her ambitions, and doesn't (like many men do) tear someone down in order to build himself up.
I also wonder: I have a son, and our relationship is pretty well defined. What will it be like to have another male in the family? I do not want to have to compete with him for my daughter's affections.
Marriage. It doesn't seem like a big thing when someone else is doing it. But now I know it's a scary proposition, and seems even scarier when you're going through it with your daughter than when you go through it yourself.