By N.M.

There is a common saying that goes, “A girl’s first true love is her father.”

I’m lucky to have been one of those daughters who had a really (no, I mean REALLY) amazing father growing up. As an adult, I got to see him gracefully, and sometimes stumble, into the role of father-to-adults, a father-in-law, and grandfather. He had a lot of mentors, like my irreplaceable mom, to teach him how to become the best husband he could be, five children with limitless advice on how to be a better father, daughters-in-law and a son-in-law to help him navigate the tricky waters of father-in-lawhood, and best of all, grandchildren to remind him there is never an end to how much love he has to offer.

I have never known a humbler person than my father.

This quality is what allowed him and my mother to teach me to put my Heavenly Father even before themselves.

So, this love story isn’t about my father, but I know he won’t mind. In fact, I’m confident he will be very proud.

My parents’ greatest gift to me was the relationship they helped me build with my Father. It’s a love I’ve known since I was a child and I can still distinctly remember as a teenager praying and thinking, “I know true love.”

It was after a friend at school had brushed off my sympathetic embrace after her and her boyfriend had broken up saying, “You wouldn’t understand. You’ve never felt true love. You’ve never even dated anyone.” Her words were said out of hurt but stung like only the truth can.

I thought about what she said in my solitude later that evening.

I came to realize that although those words seemed factual at the time, no words could be further from the truth.

It was a thought I had as I was praying and I remember how it made me smile. I have been in love. I AM IN LOVE. That was God’s true love. And it was okay if it’s not the kind of love that looks like what my friends were experiencing. Actually, I thought, it sure felt like the kind of love I’d rather have in my life: unconditional with its ups and downs yet eternal and absolute. I finally felt confidence in myself: A single teenage girl in love.

As a young girl still growing into myself, I would nevertheless experience the fleeting twinge of loneliness once in a while, but after that experience, I was happy to wait for the kind of true love God might have prepared for me. And He sure didn’t disappoint. Thanks to Him, and with the help of my parents who introduced us, I eventually met my match, my husband, my true love.

My Father was my first true love. And because of Him, I’m learning to become the best person I can be for my forever true love.

And we’re living happily ever after*.

*With like A LOT of hard work, compassion, forgiveness, communication, silly accents, and never giving up on each other.

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