For the Love of a Daughter
I was recently listening to Demi Lovato’s song “For the Love of a Daughter”, in which she talks about growing up with an alcoholic father, and expresses her childhood plea that her dad “put the bottle down – for the love of a daughter”. Listening to this song got me thinking about the impacts that parents’ choices have on their children’s lives, both short- and long-term.
As those of you who have read my posts before know, I have had my fair share of unhealthy relationships (read this and this) and though I’ve made the decision to look to healthier relationships in the future for the sake of my life, and I encourage others to do the same, I’ve never considered how this choice should also be done for the sake of one’s future children as well.
See there are many factors that can contribute to one staying in an abusive or unhealthy relationship such as having a lack of self-love, or a tendency to pursue self-harm (as being drawn to and staying with someone who is emotionally or verbally abusive is, in some cases a form of self-harm), or the simple ‘fear of being alone’; so if we talk about choosing different types of men – men with character who respect rather than abuse us – for the sake of ourselves, then if these factors are still very much a part of who we are, there will be no desire to pursue healthier relationships – because we aren’t looking out for ‘our own sake’.
And when it comes to being in relationship with someone who abuses alcohol (or any other substance) or has anger issues and shows no genuine care to change, one might think “Well I can live with that, I can handle him. I’d rather be with ‘drunk’ him, than not be with him at all .” But what we seem to forget is that when we are choosing the men we date, who in turn may become the men we marry, we are not only choosing our husbands, but we are choosing the father of our children.
So ten, twenty, thirty years after the wedding day, his anger issues or his drinking problems are not just a part of your life now, but they are a part of your children’s lives, too.
And we hear countless stories and songs of the impact that a father’s ‘issues’ and behaviours can have on his children – whether it be in Demi Lovato’s “For the Love of a Daughter“, or in Christina Aguilera’s “I’m OK“, or (because fathers aren’t the only potential ‘bad guys’; mothers can also have their issues), Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You“. Don’t let these songs be the songs of your children.
And so I encourage you to assess the types of relationships you enter into. Look at the men (or women) you date, and when you envision your future with him/her, don’t just base your decision on what you think you can ‘handle’ or what you think is OK for your life, instead, remember your future children as well. Because you aren’t just choosing your husband, you are choosing their father.
So before you rush into marrying him, before you ignore the concern of your family/friends, and before you sweep the issues under the rug, think twice about who you are marrying – For the love of a daughter.
? Lauren Bersaglio