It’s a blessing to have a great dad. My own dad stopped by my house today just because he was driving by—and even though I’m now a mom and he’s a grandpa, it’s always great to hear from him in the middle of a busy day! My dad is responsible for starting me on the path of faith, showing me what godly manhood looks like and instilling in me a passion for God’s truth.
But there’s a downside—if you can call it that—to having a great dad. It’s something we don’t really think about until we’re seriously dating or married. When you have a godly, awesome dad with whom you’re very close, it’s very difficult not to compare.
Comparison is a trap. We talk about this all the time regarding relationships with other women. But it’s also a trap when you find yourself comparing your boyfriend or young husband to your dad, even though your dad has years of spiritual maturity and experience your boyfriend has yet to live through.
If you struggle with comparing your boyfriend to your dad, here are a few principles to keep in mind.
Why we compare
We don’t compare because we want to hurt our boyfriends and husbands. We do it because we love and respect our dads. Since we spend our formative years looking up to and learning from our fathers, it’s super easy to take what we saw in him and hold a young man to that standard. And while a godly dad DOES show us what Christian manhood looks like, remember that by the time you were old enough to recognize and appreciate your dad’s character, he was likely a good 10 years older than your boyfriend is now!
So no matter why you compare, it’s not healthy to do so. Appreciate your dad for who he is, and look for the general qualities he possesses in a young man. But also remember that young men will not be as mature as your dad, and will need grace for growth.
What comparison does to your marriage
What happens if you give into comparison while married? A few things. First, your husband will start to feel inadequate, like he can’t measure up. This is especially hard if you’re comparing issues of preference instead of actual character issues. For instance, maybe your dad loved hunting and building things with his hands, but your husband doesn’t do either of those things. If you compare him to your dad mentally or verbally, you can make him feel like less of a man because he doesn’t take part in “manly” activities.
The reality is that men of God look many different ways, and they don’t have to drive trucks and hunt in order to honor the Lord with their masculinity. Be sure that you’re not comparing preference issues. And if you’re comparing character qualities, remember that it is GOD who changes a man into a person of integrity. Rather than try to shape your husband into a mini version of your father, pray for him! Invite God’s spirit to transform his character so he can become a stronger version of the man God designed him to be.
Your husband is not your dad
Lastly, let your husband be himself. He is not your dad, and he’s not supposed to be. Not only are husbands and dads in completely different roles, but they’re also made up of completely different people. If you expect your husband to be like your dad, you’ll be disappointed. But if you expect your husband (or now-boyfriend) to be himself? That’s exactly what he’ll be!
It can be struggle to reject comparison. Your dad is a great man and he should be appreciated! But learn to appreciate your boyfriend or husband for the great man he is, too.