Try this simple exercise. Write down five positive and negative traits of your father. Now look at those traits. How many of them are true of you and/or the person you married? Truth is, we are attracted to people who are familiar to us. Often, we unconsciously seek out partners that remind us of dad (and mom) or we become much like our parents.
You may be thinking—no way, I am completely different!
Look again. Working with hundreds of couples over the years, the pattern is clear; we take on the traits of our parents. So let’s begin with the positives.
Dad’s influence is powerful. My father is stable, a man of integrity and faith. I married someone just like him. He can also be hard on himself when he makes a mistake and hesitant to take risks. Those two characteristics would apply to me. My dad is in me in ways I may or may not recognize. Unconsciously, I found parts of him in my husband.
So this Father’s Day, focus on the positive and honor dad for pouring good things into your life. List those positive traits, tell him or write them in a brief note. Sometimes, we focus too much on the problems and not enough on the good things we get from our parents.
Later, you may want to reflect on those negative traits and decide how much of those are in you or the person you married. Acknowledging those traits conscious allows you to understand the attraction you have to specific people and will help you work on those issues in your marriage and yourself. Then, you can change those things that need changing and keep those parts you value.
Even if your parenting wasn’t stellar, you do have a heavenly Father who provides you with all you need. Not all dads are good at giving unconditional love and acceptance, but your heavenly Father does. He never rejects, abandons or makes you earn His love. God is always present and ready to give you good things. The good news is you can’t find any negative traits when it comes to God, our Father!
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
Dr. Linda Mintle will celebrate this Father’s Day with her 91-year-old dad. She is thankful for his life and all he means to her and her family.