Dear Laney and Remi,
There are so many things I want you to know about life and love. So many things I wish I had known at an earlier age. But if my mom had handed me a list of "guy facts," I probably would have looked at it for a split second and rolled my eyes. Maybe you'll do the same and I can't blame you, but maybe you'll be smarter than that and listen for a moment. Dear daughters, these are the things I want you to know about guys and relationships. They are just some ideas I've picked up over the years during my relationship with your father and in the relationships I've seen around me. Yes, your mom is giving you unsolicited relationship advice. And yes, I'm writing this when Laney is not even two years old year and I'm still weeks away from giving birth to Remi. Mom's crazy. Get used to it. I love you girls.
A Dozen Things I Want You to Know About Guys
1. Guys tend to be less literal than girls. Guys like to tease and joke around and they mean well although you may not take it that way. I know a lot of guys that show their affection by "picking" on girls. It's elementary, I know, but the boy that pulls your hair and pokes fun at your girly whims is the boy that likes you. It's weird but it's true. They just want your attention.
2. They need to play. You pretended you were a princess for years. They pretended to be Batman, Peter Pan, and the Red Power Ranger. A lot of guys are kids at heart and this is is a good thing. Wait until you watch your husband play with your own kiddos, you'll see. So, let him play and play with him. Most guys like to wrestle, play games, and be competitive. Competition may or may not be your thing but it might be his. Find something you can do together to scratch that playful itch. It's healthy for both of you.
3. Guys want you to be interested in their "things." First of all, always be yourself. However, be interested in what he is interested in. Learn about his favorite sport, video game, author, or hobby. It will go a long way and it will give you something to do with him that is for him, not you. Who knows, maybe you'll find that you really enjoy it too.
4. He needs spoiling too. Take time to dote on him every once in a while. He will appreciate it more than you know. Learn his love language. If personal time is his "thing" make a special date for just the two of you centered around doing some of the things he loves. Maybe his "thing" is affection. Simply going up behind him and rubbing his shoulders or playing with his hair will go a long way. Taking the time to do things just for him will show him you care. Plus, he'll most likely return the favor. But that shouldn't be the expectation.
5. Guys need to know that you aren't made of glass. It's my job as your parent to teach you how to take care of yourself. I hope your dad and I are able to teach you self confidence and pride. Sadly, there are people who will try to take advantage of you. This could include some of the boys you date. They need to know early on what your expectations and limitations are. Also, guys want to know that if you get into a lovers quarrel, you'll be alright. He should be able to express his feelings and know that you won't fall apart. Being that you are my daughter, you may be a little more on the sensitive side. This is hard to overcome and it may take some life experiences to figure it out. Your sensitivity is good; it makes you compassionate and nurturing. You just have to figure out how to manage it.
6. He can't read your mind. One of the worst things you can do to a guy is to shut down on him. He is more able to fix a problem if he knows the cause of it. I know it's hard to express your feelings sometimes. It's also annoying to have to vocalize something that you feel SHOULD be apparent. However, he needs you to talk to him. Communication is everything.
7. He needs to know your worth. He needs to know you are more than a pretty face. Tell him your dreams, talk about the things that interest you, and have thoughtful conversations with him. Never play dumb. You are intelligent, act like it.
8. Guys need space. Encourage him to go out with his buddies every once in a while. You need to be confident in your relationship enough that you don't feel like you have to spend every waking minute with your boyfriend or even your husband. That's your problem, not his. If he has broken your trust, it may be more difficult at times to watch him go out and do things. Tell him how you feel and what your worries are. Let him help put you at ease but don't make him feel guilty for doing the things he enjoys. Don't forget that you need your space too. Don't neglect your friends. Do remember though that when you get married, family comes first.
9. He doesn't always think about sex. Okay, it may be on his mind a lot. Especially if you are a teenager. But there is much more to him than that. Everyone needs and wants affection but that affection doesn't always have to be sexual. So don't think the way to his heart is through sex and what we old folks call "heavy petting." Sure, he needs physical affection. Everyone does. Give it to him in other ways. Scratch his back, rub his head, or massage his hands. He will appreciate the comfort and the spoiling. Also, don't tease him. He'll respect you immensely.
10. He doesn't need you to change him. If he has problems that you think need to be fixed, move on. He needs to fix them himself. I'm not saying he doesn't need fixing because maybe he does but it is NOT your job to fix him. If you are in a relationship for a long time and see a pattern of issues that you don't feel you can live with, then get out of the relationship. Some issues are worse than others. You have to learn which issues you can live with and which you can't. If you find yourself in tears over the same thing every couple of months, well, there's your sign. Leaving a relationship is one of the hardest things you'll do in life. The longer you stay, the harder it will be to leave. Maybe he will change eventually...probably not. Don't forget numbers five and seven.
11. He has feelings too. I've seen some pretty tough men cry. I've held sobbing teenage boys. Don't forget he's human and there are things that bother him. You can hurt him just as bad as he can hurt you. Your words can sting; your actions can cause him pain. The worst thing you can do is brush off his feelings. He needs you just like you need him.
12. This one is the most important. He needs you to pray for him. Start praying for your future husband now and don't stop once you've found him. Pray for his health, his safety, and most importantly his soul. Pray that he is making good decisions before he ever meets you. Pray that he is strong, intelligent, faithful, and kind. I pray for your father every day, every single day.
-When we found out we were expecting another little girl in January one of my husband's first comments was, "I really need a gun." We often joke that when the girls become teenagers we are sending them to boarding school. I'll be the first to admit that there is a double standard when it comes to daughters and sons. Sure, we worry about our son's first heartbreak and we want to make sure he knows how to treat women but there's just something about little girls that makes us feel over protective. I've been thinking about the things I wish I had known about boys and relationships early on. I know the best lessons are learned by experience but if perhaps I had known these things I would have been saved some heartache and perhaps I would have been a better girlfriend or even a better wife early on. Don't worry, I plan to write out a list of things for my son that I want him to know about girls too. Is there anything you would add to the list?