Hello sweetheart, 

I hope you don't think it's odd that I'm writing this for you and you aren't even born yet. I was going through my website and came across the very first post that I published, Games that Men Play, and it made me think of you. It made me think about the future possibility that you might have your heartbroken because of some guy and I will have to hold you in my arms and tell you that everything will be okay. And I started thinking of all the things I would say and how it would make me feel and how I would hope the guy moves far away so that I can't get to him.

Most importantly, it made me think about the things I can share with you now that might still be relevant once you actually get here. Sweetheart, you have to understand that the world we live in now is pretty broken. People don't normally treat each other like mommy and daddy treat each other. They don't place value in their relationships, trust each other, or even treat each other with respect. And I'm afraid that you will experience this for yourself at some point in your life. Hopefully these things I am about to share with you can help guide you towards more fulfilling relationships and steer you away from many crap experiences.

1. Your worth is NOT determined by what a man says about you (or anyone else for that matter).
If you learn nothing else, you have to understand that your worth is not determined by anyone but God. You are on this earth for a purpose and no person can tell you otherwise. I have seen many men that try to belittle the woman they are with because of their own insecurities or because they want to have control over her. Be encouraged that you are a smart, beautiful, and courageous young woman (just like your mother) and no one can take that away from you. You will come across people who will try, because there are people who will always try to tear down a person that they see greatness in. They will say things, they will do things, and they will hurt. The most important thing for you to know is that you will be stronger because of it and they will only be more upset that you didn't entertain their opinions of you.

2. As long as you believe in yourself, no one can stop you.
There is only one person that can determine how far you can go in life - You. Always remember that what you tell yourself and believe about yourself will be the truth. You might experience a setback (or a few), but that doesn't make you a failure. You might get scars, but that won't make you any less beautiful. You may have your heartbroken, but that won't mean you aren't worthy of love. Always remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be and no one will be able to keep you from being you.
 
3. You don't need to sacrifice your dreams and success for anyone.
You can be and achieve anything you put your mind to. If you want to be an astronaut, we'll send you to space camp. If you want to be a sports star, we'll help you practice. If you want to be a computer programming genius, well, we might have to call someone else to help you with that. What you need to know is that no matter what it is you want to do, make sure you don't sacrifice those dreams for anyone else. At some point, someone will probably try to convince you that a woman should give up her dreams in order to be with the man she wants. That is an outright lie. People will also say that they only took certain paths in order to please their parents and I want you to know that you never have to do that for us. We will be proud of whatever you decide to become because we know that you will be the best you can be at it and that's what matters. You chase your dreams and the right people will support your path to success, not block it.

4. You don't have to settle for less.
Your mom always likes to tell this story about a time from our first year of marriage. She really wanted an M&M ice cream sandwich one night, so I took her to the gas station near our house to find one. The price was about a dollar higher than she expected, and I know you see how frugal she is now, so she decided she would just get something different. As she reached for another option, I grabbed her hand and told her "You never have to settle for less". For some reason that really stuck with her and I want it to stick with you. Relationships should be fulfilling, they should grow you, and add value to your life. If there are people in your life that hold you back, belittle you, or make you feel like less than the angel you are - get rid of them. Your mother has the art of cutting people off down to a science and I have learned a great deal from her. There will always be opportunities for new friends, new boyfriends, etc. Never allow yourself to settle for bad relationships with people simply because they are there.

I don't know how old you will be when you first read this but I want you to know that your mother and I love you very much and we always will. We want you to have the best of what life has to offer and we want to see you succeed at everything you do. We will share whatever advice we can with you to help you learn from our past mistakes and hopefully you'll listen so that you don't have to experience them all for yourself.

With love forever,

Daddy.



Relationships can be like a poorly cooked steak: Beautiful on the exterior but a disgusting disaster if you take a peek on the inside. There are people that will immediately leave the table, those that will eat it anyway because it's all they have, and then there are those that will take the necessary time to make it what they want.
 
I was standing in one of the infinitely long lines at WalMart a few days ago, casually minding my own business when a guy and his female friend took their own places behind me and struck up a pretty interesting conversation with each other. I was standing with my mother-in-law (mom-in-love is what she prefers to be called) and even though I generally try to avoid eavesdropping I couldn't really help but feel like I was a part of their conversation anyway.

The guy was basically complaining to his friend about the fact that his girlfriend was a real piece of work and never seemed to be satisfied with anything he did for her (this was on Valentine's Day none the less). He claimed that she always seemed to take interest in other people and never really appreciated him for being the person that is always there for her at the end of the day. I had a hard time really keeping up with his rambling but it seemed like he thought she was immature, oblivious to the effort required to make a relationship work, and was only worth the trouble because she was pretty.

Now, I'll be honest, I really wanted to just turn around and tell this dude to stop whining because he sounded pretty annoying. But there's a real teaching moment buried within his narrow minded view of his relationship: Most people will dine and dash on their relationships and some others will sit until the restaurant closes and never ask for the check.

I get it, relationships are work...sometimes they are hard work, but that's something you have to be willing to understand when you decide to put two people together and expect them to make their lives mesh. I'm coming up on 3 years of marriage this month and I'll be the first to admit that it's not always sunshine and rainbows, but that's a part of the fun. Conflict is how you grow and the mistakes that you make can lead to valuable lessons, but you have to be willing to learn from them. I think that most of my generation falls victim to a microwave mentality because they can basically find a partner with the push of a button (Tinder, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) but the moment things start to require a little work, they lose interest and give up. And I'm not knocking that method of starting a relationship, it just illustrates the point I'm making.

Sometimes people get so caught up in wanting a relationship that they don't actually think about the work that will be involved to make it last. If you're not ready for the commitment, you'll probably make your exit sooner than later. On the flip side, some people want a relationship so desperately that they are willing to stay in the worst situations just to say that they have someone. Neither of these scenarios are particularly desirable.

But I digress, you have to know and be honest about your own situation at the end of the day or you just might find yourself asking:

"Am I about to run for the door or am I still sitting in the dark waiting for the check?"



To most people, being in a relationship means that you have someone that is always there for you, a constant support system, and an indefinite friend to share experiences with. In the majority of cases, this is a worth-while set up, but for some of us it truly isn't all that simple. Many people have to learn that being away from your partner can actually be an okay thing. Allow me to explain..

Men, by nature, are extremely visual creatures. Our DNA constantly draws our eyes towards beautiful women [mostly due to our primal instinct to procreate]. You could be the most attractive woman in the world, but if another attractive woman walks by, a man will almost always look. And if you've been slacking off in your efforts to keep him interested, odds are, he will leave you in pursuit of someone else.

Our society is chock full of contradictions. One thing that I particularly can't stand is the inequality and hypocrisy that women face when it comes to sexuality. Specifically, in the way that it relates to whether they are "wife material" or not. Prime example: "You can't turn a hoe into a housewife".