How My Dad Influenced my Choice of Whom to Marry

I can still remember the way the house smelled like freshly brewed coffee. Every morning I found my father sitting in the Victorian Style floral chair reading his Bible. He always seemed to be sitting with one leg crossed over the other the Bible in his lap, and his coffee on the end table.

I grew up with a godly man as a father. A man who knew how to love his wife, his two daughters, and his son. I learned from his lessons. I learned what I was worth, who I deserved, and why I deserved a godly man. He wasn’t perfect, but I watched him correct his mistakes.

From an early age my parents worked hard to bless us. My dad didn’t have an easy childhood. When he was young his parents divorced and he dropped out of high school for two years, but ultimately earned his diploma.He then decided to backpack from New York to Arizona to “find himself”  but found Jesus instead. This moment that he chose to follow Jesus changed his entire future, and the future of his coming family. He stayed in Arizona and met my young, stunning mother. They married quickly and had me shortly after.

Desires to learn about the Lord
As I was learning about Jesus, my dad was beside me through it all. When I had questions, he could answer them. In fact, I can’t remember a question I asked him that he couldn’t answer. He was wise. He was in the Word and he was a living, breathing example of what it looked like to be knowledgeable about God’s Word. My husband today is the exact same way. He is a man passionate about apologetics (the defense of Christ and Christianity), and about growing in his knowledge and understanding of the Lord.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Hardworking and diligent
Neither of my parents had college degrees and as a young child I watched them struggle financially. I always noticed their love and trust for Jesus. I watched them tithe, and be generous givers. I watched my father work tirelessly to provide for us. He was a motivated, loyal, honest, and hardworking employee and his actions did not go unnoticed by his employers. He moved up the “ladder” and ultimately was able to purchase my mother her dream Bed and Breakfast. I knew that when I got married I would marry a man who was just as hardworking and diligent as my father was. I sought after a man who would selflessly work hard to provide for his family.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1: 1-2).

Discipline with grace
I remember when I was seventeen and I earned my first speeding ticket. I was mortified at facing my parents’ wrath when I returned home that evening. I will never forget the moment I walked in the door, tears in my eyes, and uttered the words “I got a speeding ticket”. But my parents weren’t mad at all (as far as they acted). They noticed my sorrow, and they showed me grace through their discipline. I learned how to discipline my children and vowed to marry a man who knew the same thing. I am now married to a man who has a very Biblical sense of discipline and grace. James knows when to discipline our children and he knows how to do it with great love. We believe together that the correct kind of discipline will make our children better followers of Jesus.

 So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them” (Luke 17:3).

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart” (Proverbs 29:17).

Make family a priority.
I knew where my dad’s priorities were. There was no question he loved the Lord, and then his family. He spoke to God about big family decisions, and listened to God’s advice. The Lord came first for him, but then came his love for our family. I still remember him walking through the door and playing with us immediately. He didn’t retreat to his “man cave” and have “alone time.” He was there for us. He wanted to play with us, and be part of our lives. My husband is the exact same way. He walks in the door after work, gives me kiss, scoops all three of our children up begins to play with them. I always looked for a man who loved his family. When I was dating James I appreciated the way James was devoted to his parents, siblings, cousins, and grandparents. I knew he would love our family if he already loved his.

 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalms 127: 3).

The topic of how my father impacted me is not pertinent only to those who may be seeking a spouse. It is also important for men to understand the value of a father’s significance in his daughter’s life. If you are a young father, take note–daughters will one day seek a man who has similarities to you. If you can show her that she deserves a man of virtue, honor, and integrity, she will seek a righteous man out.

My father gave me security, love, wisdom, and value. I never had the desire to “date around.” My father influenced me in such a way that I knew I deserved a godly man, and that is who I sought out. He saved me from the heartbreak of bad relationships by being the example of a man after God’s own heart.


Bethany Brittenham is a graduate of The University of Northern Colorado with a major in Communication. She is a stay at home mom and lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband of 6 years. They were unexpectedly blessed with three children within 4 years, which has kept them on their toes. Bethany has a deep desire to have a strong marriage. She believes a good marriage is a reflection of Christ's love for his believers.

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