As regular readers now know, from time to time, we turn to one of the less-crazy bridal sites, OneWed, for “her perspective.”
Ahh, the father of the bride. He’s sweet and bumbling, he’s quick with a checkbook but baffled by all this wedding business. Oh wait, that’s Steve Martin. Really the father of the bride is scary, he hates you, he doesn’t want anyone near his precious daughter, oh wait, that’s Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents.
The truth is, the father of the bride is probably not all that different than you.
There have been a lot of studies* that show that women tend to marry men like their fathers. As the daughter and wife of dark, curly-haired, glasses wearing, absent-minded professors I’d like to protest these studies, but I can’t.
As people become more mobile and marry later in life, they’re less likely to know each other’s families. If wedding planning is some of the first prolonged contact you’ve had with your future father-in-law, you may be noticing some traits that confuse or even bug the crap out of you. Before you comment on them though, think about those studies.
It is possible that the very thing that’s bugging you about your future father-in-law is part of why your bride is attracted to you. It’s not that she loves your need to always be in control, or your inability to remember to make a phone call, it’s that it’s familiar to her. Those obnoxious traits that she complains about with her father, may be just the traits that drew her to you! Although we seek out the different and unusual in the dating years, when it comes to getting married, most of us choose the familiar.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re free to be absent-minded, controlling, or sloppy. Your fiancée probably does not consciously connect your cute way of forgetting on what day of the week Thanksgiving falls** with her father’s obnoxious inability to remember her mother’s birthday. She never said to anyone, “Gosh, I wish I could find a guy who always needs to be right, just like dear old dad.” But still, it is part of why she loves you.
Getting to know your fiancée’s father as an actual person, not a stereotype is a great way to gain just a little insight into your bride, and what makes her love you.
Marta Segal Block writes the Ask the Wedding Maven advice column for OneWed.com, home to both the Savvy Scoop a daily blog of helpful and non-cringe-inducing wedding information and weddingpreparty.com, the single coolest way to plan your wedding online.
* Yes, I know “studies” is a terribly sloppy, vague “Internety” way of writing, but seriously Google “women marry men like dad” and you’ll see what I mean.
** It’s Thursday, Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, why is that so hard to remember?
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