Are you haunted or excited by the thought that many girls end up marrying someone a lot like their dad?
If you have a great relationship with your father, the idea of marrying a guy like him can be comforting. It’s an honor to marry a godly man like your dad if he was a father who introduced to you Christ and exemplified the love of God to you. If that’s your dream, then praise the Lord!
But perhaps you are the girl who could use some encouragement because your relationship with your dad is rocky. Perhaps the thought of ending up married to a guy like your dad is frightening.
“Daddy issues” are what psychology calls the emotional brokenness in a daughter whose relationship with her father is broken or dysfunctional. “Daddy issues” are like holes in the fabric of a girl’s heart. It’s really important to become a whole, healed person — mentally, emotionally and spiritually — before you enter marriage or the pain and sin of a dysfunctional relationship can continue into the next generation.
Here are three main reasons why girls marry guys like their dads, and how to face them:
The wounds we carry have a significant effect on our ability to choose healthy relationships and function properly within marriage. If a girl carries a fear of ending up with a man like her dad, this may indicate she carries emotional wounds, stemming from needs that have not been met, unmet expectations, hurts both intentional and unintentional — essentially, injured feelings, and the effects of others’ sin.
A wounded daughter will often react in extremes in future relationships:
- If a father never told his daughter she was beautiful, the girl will either not be able to receive a compliment, believing she is not worthy enough, or she will seek approval from guys any way she can get it and never be satisfied with what she gets.
- If he is an absentee dad, a girl will either become fiercely independent or clingy.
- A dad who has trouble communicating can have daughters that either over-communicate, or shut down.
To become whole, a girl needs to come to the Lord to receive approval and healing. At His throne, she will find out that she is worthy, beautiful, and enough. His approval satisfies and lasts.
Wounds are wide and varied — but the point is that when we choose to deal with our wounds and face them, the extremes we swing to in our wounded-ness will come to a balance and from that place we will be able to more clearly see and choose to, or not to, marry guys like our dads.
While one side of a girl’s wound can come from her dad, the other side at times, can come from her own issues. It’s in a woman’s nature to want to find all of her approval in men. It’s part of the curse. A dad is never going to be able to meet all of a girl’s emotional needs — nor will her husband be able to fill them all. Only God is meant to, or able to do that. A girl can create a lot of problems in her relationships when she expects people to meet needs God was meant to fulfill.
I have a wonderful dad, and a good relationship with him, but some of my “daddy issues” come from the fact that I was expecting my dad to fill some emotional needs that only God can. Part of finding healing from our wounds means taking ownership of our side of the issue.
God is bigger than our biggest “daddy issue”. He longs to set the standard for us of what a father should be, and be there for us when a man fails to meet our deepest needs. To keep from repeating the mistake of seeking to have our needs met in a certain type of man, we need to learn to go to God first.
Some girls marry men similar to their dad because that’s the only type of guy they have ever known. And the familiar, even if undesirable, can be less scary than the unknown. But familiarity with dysfunction can lead to poor choices in a spouse:
- A girl whose dad never treated her like a lady will not expect a guy to treat her like one; she won’t even know what a gentleman is.
- If a daughter never sees conflict resolved without shouting, she won’t know that is unhealthy
- If true acceptance has never been experienced, a girl won’t know what a valuable trait this is in a man.
Each family has its own subculture, many sins becoming a natural part of the way the family is taught to deal with life. But Scriptural principles — not simply what is familiar — should be the standard for manhood and womanhood. Healthy, Christ-centered community is important for healing as it gives daughters the chance to interact with different kinds of manhood and the chance to observe couples honoring and respecting each other and parents training and shepherding their children with love. If dysfunction is what is most familiar to you, seek change, and seek it within healthy, godly, community.
The choice is yours as to whether or not you marry a guy like your dad.
It starts with being willing to face your wounds and any daddy issues you may have. It may be hard, but it is possible! If something in this post brought up a wound, please share it with a trusted friend or mentor who knows you well. An outside perspective can help speak truth, life and healing into your heart.
If you struggle with fear in the area of choosing a spouse, remember, The Lord hasn’t given you a spirit of fear. Fear is a good indicator that something might be off. Confess the fear and ask the Lord to show you what you fear. He will never shows us a problem (fear, wound, or sin) without also showing us a way for healing when we ask Him for it. He promises to heal our wounds, and is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 147).
Christ came to redeem, restore, and heal—us and our families. Whether we hope to marry a man like our father or not, we can seek healing and growth now to bring clarity to our decisions in the future.
Please Note: we are not addressing abuse or a doormat approach. Sin needs to be and can respectfully be confronted in an appropriate way and abuse should never be tolerated. The span of this post is not intended to address these other issues. If there is abuse happening please tell the authorities and someone you trust!