to my son on his wedding day

A letter to my son on is wedding day.

By Doug

This Saturday, June 15th is a very special day for us. It’s the day our 28-year-old son (and first born) gets married.

But it’s also special for another reason, as it just so happens to be our 34th wedding anniversary.

It should be a great day!

It’s really hard to believe just how fast time flies.

Pardon the cliche, but it seems just like last week that our son was a 5-year-old playing with his Tonka trucks in his giant dirt pile in our backyard.

And it also seems like just last week that Linda and I took our vows on a sweltering Saturday in a church with no air conditioning.

I look back at all of this with such sentiment and emotion that I’m tearing up as I write this. Life goes by so fast and much of it seems to be taken for granted in so many ways. And these are the types of events that tend to cause me to reminisce.

Just the Beginning?

We have a feeling that this will be the first of three weddings for us. With the other two more than likely happening over the course of the next couple of years.

As you may know, we have twin daughters as well, who are 24 years old and have long-term boyfriends. Now, when they get married, I think I will really lose it. I know damn well that I’ll have a rough time walking them down the aisle and with the reception toasts for both of them.

At least with my son, I don’t have to worry about that. I’ll be able to tear up somewhat inconspicuously while sitting in the pew.

Anyways, there really isn’t much to this post as far as dropping any knowledge on you or helping you guys with your struggles with infidelity.

However, in my search for help with ideas for a speech/toast for the rehearsal dinner, I came across this article by Steve Horsmon on the Good Men Project website, that I thought was worthy of sharing.

 

our son's wedding day

 

To My Son On His Wedding Day

This is the letter my dad would have written to his son if he knew what I know now.

By Steve Horsmon

I’m a man who is in the business of providing relationship advice for men. I encourage and lead other men to improve their intimate relationships. The path I’ve taken to this place has been rocky – and I’ve learned things. My clients and I share a history of spending our early years struggling to know ourselves AND the women in our lives.

I never received a letter from my dad giving me the “Top Secret” information I would need to succeed in my intimate relationships with women. Most men never do. My rocky ride has since smoothed out mostly because of what I’ve learned along the way. I don’t begrudge my dad for not telling me sooner. He did the best he could do and I will always appreciate how hard he worked for me.

This is the letter my dad would have written to his son if he knew what I know now.

Dear Son,

As your wedding day approaches I want to give you 5 THINGS to keep close to your heart in your marriage. I didn’t learn these lessons before it was too late for me. Do not make the same mistakes I did!

Before I give them to you, please understand these truths without any self-doubt. KNOW you are worthy of love. KNOW you deserve a life of love, inspiration, and passion. KNOW there will be ups and downs and to expect and embrace them.

#1 – She can FEEL your intentions

Your wife has a very special ability to sense negative energy and pressure. She can’t “read your mind”, but she “feels your love”. This “intuition” is widely documented, though many women don’t even trust it themselves. But they WILL react to it. We men are so simple, so direct, so “what you see is what you get”. This is why we stink at reading between the lines and taking hints.

This is also why we stink at truly understanding the avalanche of emotions we can cause in our women without even knowing it. It’s obvious that your angry toned, table pounding, perfectly logical argument will ruffle emotional feathers. What’s NOT obvious is how she FEELS your intentions. Even without a word, if your energy oozes the least bit of resentment, condescension, or judgment – YOU have already declared war. And yes, it’s your fault. Sorry.

The GOOD NEWS is that your wife feels positive intention the exact same way. Positive intention means positive energy which means everything you say and do is coming from a different place – a place of love. Instead of judgment, your intention is acceptance. Instead condescension, your intention is respect. You get the idea. It MUST be true. You MUST be authentic. The results you will see in the tone of your conversations are absolutely mind-blowing! But YOU have to GO FIRST.

I can hear all of your “yeah but” arguments now and already call “bullshit”. There IS a way for you to take more ownership for your energy. You can’t own her reaction or her happiness, but you can do better, BE better – if you WANT to!

son's wedding

#2 – Don’t ever think she is NOT a sexual woman

If you ever decide your wife is simply not sexual, not physically affectionate, or EVER aroused – you’re wrong. Just like you, she is designed for sexual arousal and sexual pleasure. That’s about where the similarities end.

She DOES think about sex. She DOES have fantasies. She DOES get aroused. But, if your marriage has tensions, she just doesn’t have YOU in mind.

Don’t let “life” numb your awareness of your responsibility. Sex is not a guaranteed fringe benefit of marriage. Sex is the result of an age old cycle of attraction, flirtation, and foreplay. And that’s really all she wants. If you lose this recipe she can easily imagine it with someone else. Women simply will not have sex with someone they don’t feel attracted to.

The key word to remember is ATTRACTION. Without this, flirting and foreplay are a complete waste of time unless you’ve pushed so hard you wind up with “obligation sex” – the worst possible type! I don’t want that for you.

The most important thing to know about attraction is that it will not happen in an environment of bad feelings. You have the ability to create feelings of attraction – or not. This ability will come from you KNOWING who you are, what you believe in, and the direction you’re going in life. Attracting her to join you means always respecting her and supporting her need to do the same for herself. You are neither superior nor inferior to her. Help her feel that in her heart every day.

While you are not in charge of her moods or behavior, you need to be aware of how you may be involved in her reactions toward you. Becoming attractive to her may involve reversing some damage you unknowingly inflicted. If you have been argumentative, dismissive, resentful, negative, or critical you ARE in charge of that and need to get to work. Why?

Because fixing THAT stuff is important for WHATEVER goals you have in life. If you decide to fix that stuff JUST TO GET SEX she will know it in an instant! Yes, she really is THAT good. A man who is willing to resort to “stuff” to earn sex is seen and FELT as tremendously non-masculine to a woman.

#3 – She has no choice but to LEAD if you’re not trying

By “lead”, I mean being the one who chooses to OWN your part in the marriage and the household. So many men will complain about their “bossy wife” or their “nagging wife” or their “disrespectful” wife. Why? …because they deserve it.

Your wife will rightfully expect and appreciate some leadership from you! Leadership is an important part of the attraction formula. Many men allow their women to lead everything:

  • the kid department,
  • the laundry department,
  • the meal department,
  • the cleaning department,
  • the relationship department,
  • and even the SEX department!

It’s no wonder these guys find themselves begging for morsels of respect and physical affection. They don’t deserve it. You see, the type of leadership I’m talking about is really about your ownership of some of the departments.

Taking responsibility and following through is absolutely SEXY. Establishing your personal values for what you’re in charge of is SEXY. Playing your role in keeping the relationship loving, respectful and fun is SEXY.

This type of leadership will finally allow her to feel safe, trusting, and relaxed because YOU have stepped up. A woman lucky enough to have a man like this doesn’t have to resort to nagging or bossing. With the right level of leadership she will respect you, partner with you and be proud of you.

my son's wedding

#4 – She expects you to understand how to help her feel safe emotionally

For both men and woman, Emotional Safety simply means that our emotions are not judged and not subject to debate. It means that emotions are respected for being real and important exactly as they are felt. It means the environment is safe for sharing and discussing our feelings.

Emotions are not supposed to make sense or be logical. THINK before you say, “Well, you shouldn’t feel that way.”

When a woman says, “I hate it every time you lose your temper. It makes me feel, I don’t know, I just hate it!” What she’s trying to say is that “You have the ability to either make me feel good or bad, and you are choosing to make me feel bad.” And THAT choice of yours speaks volumes to her about your concern and respect for her. And it never helps to tell her, “It has nothing to do with you. You shouldn’t feel that way.” Trust me on that one.

If a man chooses to create an environment of emotional safety, he is choosing to understand what behaviors of his can allow that to happen. He is choosing to make changes in how he responds to his wife’s emotions. He learns the power of a masculine response over a boyish reaction.

#5 – She picked you for a reason

She is attracted to you. She thinks you are funny. She laughs at your jokes. She loves making love to you. She trusts you and respects you. She is proud of you.

Don’t screw this up. She loves who you are now. But, you have a lot of growing to do still.

Within the first few years of marriage, many men lose sight of who they are and why they picked her. They can grow impatient, critical, and judgmental. These negative emotions start in very subtle ways during seemingly inconsequential events.

If you’re not careful, those events will lead to bigger events and soon you may find that her trust, respect, and attraction for you has faded away.

Be the man she married. Be the man she needs. Be the man who is better than trying to “get even” by creating bad feelings in her just because you’re feeling bad.

Love her. Give to her without expecting something back. Respect her words and her dreams without judgment.

Talk to her. Be open. Be vulnerable. Let her understand you and your fears. Cry with her.

But don’t stop leading! Lead YOURSELF first so you can lead her to a stronger marriage.

Accept responsibility. Expect more from yourself. Surround yourself with other good men like you who are on the same path.

I’m one of those men and I’ll always be with you – for the rest of your life.

Love,
Dad

 

My father never had “the marriage talk” with me and obviously, I failed at some of what the author mentions (though I certainly do not blame my father). I had to learn many of these lessons much later in life as a result of my screw-ups and immaturity.

I think I just might give this letter to my son on his wedding day.

 

 

 

    16 replies to "A Letter To My Son On His Wedding Day"

    • WhoKnows

      Beautifully written, every point is spot on! Congratulations to Doug and your son! May he have a very happy fulfilling married life in front of him.

      • Doug

        Thank you WhoKnows!

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Doug,
      Congratulations on your son’s wedding – and on the fact that is happens on your 34th anniversary too!

      This is a terrific and heart-felt post, Doug. I couldn’t keep it together reading it! As everyone knows, I am a mom. It feels as if time travels at light-speed these days. I can imagine your son, Doug, playing with his Tonka trucks and then walking down the isle (Gasp!) It’s all positive, but it all goes too quickly!

      Here is a book recommendation for your son:

      The Man’s Guide to Women by Dr. John Gottman

      For all male readers of this site, I recommend it too. Women are hard to figure out. I am still trying to figure myself out, so maybe I will read John Gottman’s book.

      For Doug: Here is what I would say to my sons on their wedding day. Please know that this a satirical letter that is written for a LAUGH….hoping someone, somewhere, will find one. But, it also contains some Truth in it too – as all satire contains Truth. If anyone gets offended, it’s not written to offend; it’s written to give you a chuckle.

      *********
      Dear Son,
      Don’t ever forget to draw close to us, as we have always drawn close to you. But, don’t get drawn so close to us, that you lose sight of your wife.

      Regardless, we will always be just out of sight, recording everything you say with motion activated recording devices that upload everything you say to a satellite and then transmits it to our phones all day long. So, you will always be with us and we will always be with you. (Also, we will be SO bored without you around, can you blame us?)

      Let us all be one, big happy family. I hope we have earned a place in the lives of you and your wife’s future children. Let your dearest wife and the family you create know that they are at the center of your universe. You are starting a mission that will give birth to many, future generations. Make sure that you make your marriage work because not only your life, but the lives of those unborn, are at stake.

      I will always love you, son.
      Love,
      Your Mom

      PS- Don’t mess it up by flirting with the waitress, or the nurse who puts a band-aid on your “boo boo,” or the Starbucks barista, or (God forbid) your wife’s friends or her female relatives. The penalty is worse than living alone, in a dog house, forever, with no dog. In fact, that dog house that you will be relegated to is sitting – at this very moment – at the top of a mountain with a peak that is only 1 inch wide. If you did not listen when your teacher taught you about Newtonian physics, it means whichever way you move inside the doghouse, you will tumble down the mountain to your ultimately death. Also, while you sit in this dog house, unmoving, no one will throw you a bone; ever, except maybe someone super shady on Craigslist who may just be another guy messing with your mind. You are, however, allowed to dance with your wife’s 90-year-old grandma at grandma’s birthday party. No matter how old a woman gets, she needs to know she is lovable; especially your wife. So, do not forget, it’s all about your wife.

      PPS- One time I dated a guy in college and the only instructions his father gave him, as his dad started to drive away QUICKLY in the car, while NOT making eye contact, was, “Keep it in your pants, alright!” And he and his dad never spoke of “it” again. When “it” comes to women, other than your wife, well, “Keep IT in your pants.” And we all know what “it” is, even if we will never utter “it’s” name.

      PPPS- We know you have a name for “it,” but PLEASE DO NOT tell your wife “it’s” name. She will laugh so heartily that you will never look at her the same way again. And she certainly will never look at YOU the same way again. I am pretty sure this is only a male phenomenon, unless I live under a giant rock, which could be possible. Because, you know, I am like SO OLD.

      PPPPS- We are spending all your inheritance, living the high-life in Monaco. You know, the place where James Bond goes, if he ever has a scene inside a casino that involves guns and rolling over tables. (Just kidding! You know we don’t visit Monaco, just casinos). Just checking to see if you were paying attention. As you know, we DON’T visit casinos or Monaco, and good, old mom here believes in untouchable, family trusts to ensure there is money for future generations. (You are welcome).

      *******
      Congratulations, Doug and Linda!

      Sarah

      Readers… any words of wisdom for Doug and Linda?

    • Sarah P.

      Also, I found “car karaoke” with Paul McCartney. Don’t forget to have some Beatles sings on the dance floor. It’s not a wedding without the Beatles. (Die-hard fan here).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjvzCTqkBDQ

    • Sarah P.

      Hey Readers,

      If you could write a letter to your cheating spouse about how you felt on your wedding day VERSUS how you feel now, write it. I want to hear all about it. Women, were you wide-eyed brides with hearts full of hope and waiting to live your happy ending? Or were you resolute and realistic, knowing everything has ups and downs. How has it changed?

      When I eloped with my husband and people found out afterwards, some gave me books, others gave me talks. The best “talk” from was a work-mentor who was about 10 years older. She was always so light-hearted, and if she wanted to smoke a cigarette, we knew to catch her in the corporate garden. I would bring my coffee, she would bring her cigs. One day she was being put back on a project in her home state. She was a consultant and I would never work with her again; I was sad. We went to lunch at this very empty Italian restaurant. Once we were alone, her sunny exterior evaporated. The conversation went like this and this is a SMALL snippet of what he spoke of over three hours:

      “I know you think it won’t happen to you… after marriage an all… the affair thing. But, marriages are like roller coasters. I know he is crazy about you and you are crazy about him. One day that won’t be the case.”

      I said, “But you and your husband are happy. You have no children; you own a vacation home in Aspen, you are always traveling to the most exciting places.”

      She looked at me, “I think he is cheating on me. You know we only see each other on weekends. He has called several doctors to ask about the cost of getting me breast implants. He never has a problem with my A cup before, but now he does. He knows a little too much about how big breasts feel and why he wants to me to have them. My alarm bells are going off.”

      Utter silence. What did I say to that? I couldn’t believe it. This was a woman who had no enemies because she was always smiling, laughing, and making up comedy on the spot. She was beautiful, funny, and she always seemed to know what to say when in order to defuse conflict. She had taken me under her wing because she saw potential. By boss’s did too and so she was my mentor. But, we always put together reports for executives or developed game plans to get everyone to work together better. We joked a lot, but it fell into the category of “stupid humor.” She would make a comment about clothing and sometimes she wore jeans and flip-flops to work on Fridays. She was NOT a lowly worker bee who could get away with that. But, somehow people didn’t care. She had always known, when I was dating my boyfriend (now husband), the nights when I went from work to his house. She would see some heels tucked under my cube or a pair of high heeled boots that I would keep in my cube. She would see the boots and say, “Oh look there, I see you got your CFM boots.” I had no idea what she meant. I was building CRMs (Customer Relations Management) systems. So, I always assumed she was using a play on words. One day I finally asked what on earth she meant. She said, “You don’t know what CFM boots are?” I said, “No, I don’t. What are they?” She laughed. I had no idea why. She said, “Everyone over the age of 20 knows what CFM boots are.” (I was 29 and did not know). She finally said, “Come on. Stop being so serious. You and me both know those are “Come F*** Me” boots.” My jaw dropped. Then she laughed and walked off. I wore them because I wanted to look TALLER. That’s why I bought them; to look taller. I had no idea there was such a thing as a CFM boot. But, then I grew up in a very religious home. We didn’t talk about these things. Did you?

      Fast-forward later to that lunch. Her light-hearted exterior was gone because she had found some evidence that her husband was cheating. I did not know what to say, even though I had been cheated on myself. She had been married for many years and had many shared assets. Her mother had died of cancer when she was around 13. Now her husband was cheating on her?? How??? Why??? She was one of the most fun and beautiful women I had ever met and she was very loyal to her marriage. She did NOT flirt. She would say off-color things to me because I was naive (at the time) and she thought it was funny. But, she never spoke that way to men. She was the perfect role model in the professional environment. I could not imagine WHY her husband would cheat on such a gem of a woman.

      She was desperate and seriously considering getting breast implants that she did NOT want. Her own mom had died of breast cancer and cancer is tricky to screen with implants. So, she was triggered not only by her mom’s death (once again), but also triggered by her husband’s affair, and she considering mutilating her body in an effort to keep him happy, which would lead to a reduced ability to screen for breast cancer. I did tell her that she deserved a lot better. I had seen photos of them and she was the “shining star” of the relationship. I told her she was lovable as she was and that I supported plastic surgery IF she wanted it. But, not in an effort to attempt to compete with another woman. I was blind-sided by the news her husband was doing this and did not imagine how she kept the smile going while at work. I still think about her from time to time and I am so angry that people like her are not valued as the pearls that they are.
      When she was a teen, she and her dad trained for a hiked to the top of Mt. Everest and I believe they scattered her mom’s ashes there. They noticed the poor villagers and she had a side-business going where she imported their woven rugs, sold them, and sent money back to build the villages. She did not need the money; she wanted to be a force for good. It still breaks my heart that it’s always the BEST women who are cheated on. I have never seen a case where the other woman is superior to the wife.

      I do not counsel many men, but I believe the OM must be one slimy individual to target a married woman. These people are gross.

      ****
      I would like to hear from everyone about the letter you would have written to your spouse on YOUR wedding day and how that letter would change based on the knowledge of their affair.

      This is a BRAVE assignment. Is anyone up for the challenge?

      Sarah

    • Sarah P.

      PS- This was a SHE I spoke with. I just caught a typo.

    • TryingHard

      Congratulations Doug and Linda. I hope you have a wonderful weekend of celebrations

      • Doug

        Thank you TH. We are planning on it!

    • dhamilton

      Doug, thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.

      • Doug

        Glad you liked it, Dhamilton!

    • Shifting Impressions

      Congrats Doug and Linda…..it’s special days like this that make the struggles of surviving infidelity so very worth it!!! I wish your family all the best!!!

      • Doug

        You are so right, SI. Thanks!

    • Patsy50

      Congrats Doug and Linda on your wedding anniversary and to the new Bride and Groom. May they enjoy their life together for many years to come. And may you look at your beautiful Linda, as you looked at her on your Wedding Day!

      • Doug

        Well said, Patsy. Thanks!

    • Joan

      Dear Doug and Linda, All my very best wishes to both you and your son on your `big days`. Thank you also for your help. I wish you all happiness and Love with a capital L from England!

      • Doug

        Thank you very much Joan. We had a fantastic time and everything went off pretty much without a hitch. Now all we need is some sleep!

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