Imagine you could fast-forward your teenage granddaughter’s life fifteen or twenty years. She’s thirty-five, and you get to see her coming in the door from grocery shopping with three young kids. Clearly, the outing has been stressful.
Her husband is lounging on the couch. The sink is piled high with dishes and toys are still scattered all over the living room floor from the day’s activities. First thing out of her husband’s mouth is this: “About time you got home. What’s for dinner?”
None of us wants our granddaughters to live in a marriage relationship like that, do we? But what can we do about it? Granddad, you can help your granddaughter develop proper expectations for her future husband by how you treat the significant women in your life today.
There are no guarantees about whom you granddaughter will choose to marry—nor that even if she chooses wisely, everything will go well with her marriage. But you have an opportunity right now to influence your granddaughter positively for decades to come, and I urge you to make the most of it.
If you are controlling, demanding and lazy, then your granddaughter is more likely to accept that as typical male behavior. But if you are considerate, warm and open in your communication (especially with women), and willing to help around the house, you’ll give your granddaughter a firsthand glimpse of what a loving relationship looks like.
More than that, you can teach her how to communicate with a man in a healthy way. Share your hopes and dreams with her; be available when she needs to talk; learn to just listen and draw her out—without giving a long lesson or lecture.
Your example will help guide her as she thinks about what she wants in a husband and as she decides which boys and young men to spend time with. We need to treat all the women in our lives like we’d want our future grandsons-in-law to treat our granddaughters.
Men, we know that living in harmonious relationship with the women in our lives is its own reward. We earnestly pursue healthy relationships because we know it’s best for us—and for those we are in relationship with. But we also know that as our granddaughters are watching, they are forming expectations about what’s OK and not OK. And I don’t need to tell you that their mental cell phone video recorders are running all the time.