To my Son, on His Wedding Day…
Son, I couldn’t be more proud of you as you prepare to marry and settle down with one of the kindest, most thoughtful women I’ve ever met. Your choice to marry Sarah is an excellent one. And although I wasn’t there for you growing up, I’ve decided that speaking into your life on this important day is my right as your father.
Treat Sarah with care. Don’t be a slob and leave every task to her, as I did with your mother. But if you do, make sure you make it seem like her idea to pick up the slack to serve you and show you love. If you don’t want to have to paint the fence or hang the Christmas lights or cook, just act inept. She will never know the difference, and will step up and complete those tasks with joy in her heart to serve her family, I just know it. She seems like a real go-getter.
Tell her that you love her every day, as I did with your mother. I know that you’ve spent a lifetime learning in church that love is an action rooted in commitment, but treat it as a whimsical sensation that could change at any moment. This, of course, entitles you not to honor your promises. Don’t ever tell her that, though. Let her believe it means she can count on you to be there on the porch holding hands in the rocking chair when you’re both 80. You don’t really have to mean it.
But I have to tell you, Son, life will be much easier for you if she believes you. You have no idea the headache and expense if she doesn’t. And you have no idea how much fun you can have with other women if she does!
And when you’ve had your cake and eaten it too, and her accolades and praise just don’t do it for you anymore, go find a new place to lay your head for a few years. There’s always going to be a deep need in you to fulfill the gaping wound I left in your life, so hey. Maybe you’ll find some fleeting joy in changing dance partners every so often. Sarah will get over it. I guess. Who knows? Who cares. It doesn’t actually matter, because life is about YOUR happiness, son. That’s what’s important here. You’d do well to always remember that, as I did.
But remember, and this is important: do NOT let her know it’s coming. Don’t do anything to prepare her, or go to counseling, or try to fix things or hang on, because in the end that’s all pointless anyway. You’ll want fresh and new and shiny acknowledgment of your manhood, and this seems to wear off at around year 9. Sarah’s got a shelf life, son. So don’t bother. Just find your new better half and tell Sarah when it’s convenient for YOU. Or, don’t tell her. A double life can be fun too, as long as you’re extremely good at lying.
And if you have kids with her, make sure you don’t live near them or raise them, because that way she can go ballistic about you being some kind of lowlife, and then it’s easier for your new girlfriend to think Sarah was the problem. This is critical, son. Don’t forget this step. It will save you a lot of effort and annoying explanations.
I know you can relate to me never being there at your games, or your good days, or your bad days, or…well, ever. So just know that no matter what you do, your son or daughter…or both…will be just as disillusioned as you were growing up. But, I find that if you never address what you did, maybe buy them some stuff and confuse them with your charm and smile, they’ll love you anyway. It’s like tricking a blind man. They’ll buy it long enough to not despise you and then you can hide behind the passage of time while you wait for their indifference. You’re welcome for the sneak preview. I’m glad some good can come out of my abject failure as a man, a father, and a husband. I’m honored that I can show you the ropes.
Congratulations, Son! May you and Sarah have a lifetime phase of happiness.