I have loved you and have been worrying about you since the moment I knew about you. I watched what I ate, took my vitamins, made sure to do all the right things so you would be born healthy. Then I fretted and stressed over every decision, wanting to give you the best upbringing I could. I tried to teach you to be strong, happy, independent, honorable men, and I think it worked. You're both wonderful men. Dad and I tried to be the best examples we could be, showing you a strong and loving marriage.
I want you to have a strong and loving marriage, too. I want for you that kind of tender and abiding love that will warm you all of your life. You'll need to find the right woman to achieve that.
Look for a real woman, boys. Look for a woman with a mind of her own, but a heart that she'll give to you. Find one who is strong enough to be loving and tender. Be strong enough to be tender with her, too. Find a real woman, complex and abstruse as she might seem to you, because it takes a real woman to build a life and a family with.
Be a man who is respectful and respectable, and look for a woman who will be respectful of you. Find a woman with integrity, discretion, empathy and tact. She should be the one who knows your secrets and holds them close, never revealing things that you wish to remain private.
Choose a woman with a light heart, who finds the joy in every day. Choose a woman who makes you feel like the future with her is the brightest sun. Choose a woman who makes you laugh, and who you make laugh, too. Choose a woman you can talk to, and whose opinions you value.
Attraction is important. You should never focus only on her outer beauty, which is so changeable, but you need to be attracted to the one you plan to spend your life with. She doesn't have to look like Katy Perry. If her eyes sparkle when she laughs and that makes your heart race, if she has great legs or an awesome rack or whatever, she needs to appeal to you. Son, I don't care if your preference is for a tall brunette, a short redhead, a curvy blonde or that bald green girl from Star Trek. You're going to be looking at her almost every day for the rest of your life. You need to like what you see.
Take a good look at a woman you're serious about. Can you live the rest of your life with her, with her flaws just as they are? Never marry someone with intent of "fixing" them. If she changes, it will be her own development as a human, and has nothing to do with what you want to change about her. When you know her better, you will know more flaws, too. And always remember that you, my darling son, are not perfect either. Every time you are tempted to open your mouth to criticize or correct her, ask yourself two questions: "Could I do any better than she is doing?" and "How many things would she like to correct about me that she is not saying?" Then decide if it's worth going there.
You must learn how to see the love in what she does. Remember that everything she does for you is probably at the expense of something she could be doing for herself. It is a demonstration of love for her to do things for you, whatever they are. Teach yourself to notice those things, and appreciate them.
Your great-grandma told me that marriage was like two stones rubbing together. Eventually you rub each other smooth. She was right. 100%. Knowing that, learn how to pick your battles. Decide if a thing is really worth fighting about, and if it is...FIGHT FAIR!
When you find this angel woman, who treats your gentle heart like the most valuable and fragile treasure, who respects you and plays with you and makes your heart go pitter-patter, be all that you can be to deserve her.
Pay attention when she speaks to you. She merits your attention.
Don't wait until she has to ask you to do something. If her tire is going flat, don't wait until she is stranded on the road side. If you see her struggling to open the pickle jar, just open the damn thing for her. OK? Give a little advance thought to what she might need or want. Anticipating her needs is a wonderful way to show her your love.
Never make fun of her, embarrass her or hold her up to ridicule. Be sure that if you are teasing or playing with her that it's a game in both directions and not sport at her expense. Make sure that you always, always, always treat her like the most beautiful girl in the room, even if Katy Perry really is there. She won't mind half as much if you look at other women, if you make her feel like she always looks better than "her" to you.
Speak well of her behind her back and to her face. Treat her with the honor and respect she deserves. Regard her love for you as a tender and fragile gift that you must nurture, support and earn.
Take care of your health and your looks. You want her to be attracted to you, too, and you want to remain healthy enough to do something about it when her eyes tell you that you are looking hot. 'Nuf said.
My wish for you is to have the kind of marriage that is the nurturing foundation on which you can frame your life. It can be the shelter against the world's cold winds, and the greenhouse to grow your family. Your marriage can be your hiding place, your showplace and your safe place every day of your life. You must build it to be that. Together, you and she can create it.