Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An old letter to my daughter and son-in-law

Caleb and Sarah

(I started writing this in the week after you were married but somehow never sent it to you so here goes, two years and some later. I hope some of the thoughts are still valid.)

Wish I had some great words of wisdom for both of you, but I don’t.

I guess I know you both will have some hard times ahead and wish I could spare you from them. All I can do is share my thoughts and hope that you will weather those hard things easily enough so they don’t get in the way of all the good things you have ahead of you.

I really appreciated what Pastor Ken said (at your wedding) about communicating because I think that may be the single most important thing you can do for the rest of your lives.

You’ll have to learn to talk about stuff – the important stuff. Not hold it in. Don’t ever assume the other knows what you are thinking. Don’t ever assume you know what the other is thinking. You have to talk about things – little and big. Especially the little. If you don’t talk about the little things; well, that’s how you practice for the big stuff.

Don’t try to change the other person. You are both going to change anyway. Years from now you’ll look back and realize you are both different people. But the way you get different is of course by growing up even more than you have. Experiencing things together that you never experienced before. The important part of this is that you not force change on the other. Each of you will change for the other person but you won’t resent the change if you do it because you want to change for each other.

Toilet seats and where you squeeze the toothpaste are only important if you let them get that way. If it really bugs you – you need to say so and why. Realize that some things just won’t change- no matter what. Old habits die hard.

Be able to separate things that matter from stuff that doesn’t so you can spend your time on the big stuff that matters most.

At work we often have a problem with spending all our time on the urgent things and the important projects don’t get done. Be able to decide what is important. Fires need to be put out but you have to work on the important things all the time.

You have lots of very big decisions to make in the next few years. Notice I said years. You don’t have to work out everything right now. Get to know each other better. Spend lots of time doing things together. Talking. Even working together is OK.

Then as decisions come up, you’ll already have a better sense of what the other desires, wants, etc. and can focus your decision making around those things.

I just finished (quite some time ago really) a book on Love Languages. I guess it is a good thing that I know what your mom’s is and she knows mine. This is not something we’ve worked on but I hope it means we are paying attention to each other as we go along. That even without taking some sort of test, we know each other pretty well. Don’t expect to know each other very well yet. But be patient with each other while you are getting to know each other. Many young couples have spent months together before they actually have to live together. You don’t have that advantage so you’re going to experience things and quite possibly be surprised at how the other one responds (or doesn’t).

Blessings to and on you both!

Love

dad

(June 2008)

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