Falling in love changed my view of Father’s Day.

The third Sunday in June is supposed to be a day to honor our fathers and thank them for all they’ve done for us. Instead, that day always been tough for me.

I had a hard time forgetting all the things my dad did to me when I was growing up. So finding a Father’s Day card that wasn’t all mushy and loving and telling him he was a great dad was difficult. Most years I didn’t get him a card.

Dad died when I was 40, and I still hadn’t forgiven him. I had buried my feelings, thinking that was all I needed to do to get past the hurt.

Little did I know that my future husband would force me to make the change that would forever alter my life, my attitude, and even my looks.

A month before our wedding, my fiancé decided that “we needed to talk.” Not a good sign in a relationship, but I figured we better just get it over with.

“I’ve heard you talk about your father and seen ‘green smoke’ coming out of your mouth,” Bryan said. “And your eyes send fiery daggers. I won’t allow that hatred to poison our marriage, so you have to forgive him or we can’t get married.”

“If I haven’t forgiven him in 35 years,” I said, “what makes you think I can forgive him in 30 days?”

“Not my problem,” he replied.

Since I really loved this man, I decided to go to a bookstore, get a book on forgiveness, read some of it, and tell him I had forgiven Dad. I could work on the actual forgiveness later.

It only took reading about half the book to realize that forgiveness has nothing to do with the person who hurt me and everything to do with me. I had allowed Dad to control my life far too long, and forgiving was a way for me to take back my life. I finally got it!

When Bryan picked me up for dinner that night, he took one look at me and said, “You forgave your dad today, didn’t you?”

“How can you tell?”

“Your eyes are clearer and you look happier than I’ve ever seen you. Looks like you got rid of a big weight you’ve been carrying.”

Father’s Day has never been the same since. I can now thank God for the father that I had most of the time and for all that I learned from him and because of him.

Even if our dads weren’t the greatest, we can still find something to celebrate.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.


  1. So true that the garbage we carry is our problem, not that of our perceived nemisis. I was at odds with my Dad for many years. Ir is an incredible journey to move theoug my hurt and accept his love. Thank you for this touching post.

    1. Thanks, Jaci. For years, I thought that I was right in holding on to anger. But I didn’t realize how it was negatively affecting my life. So glad you were able to move past yours.

  2. Debbie,
    This post ministers deeply. For me, it was my mom. Letting go of the weighty chain of unforgiveness was liberating. Being free of the control that unforgiveness brings has improved the quality of my life in so many, many areas.

    By the way, I am quite impressed that Bryan would have the courage to tell you 30 days before your wedding to “shape up or ship out.” That took great courage. He must be quite a special spiritual head in your home.

    Blessings! Keep writing. Your words move and make a difference.

  3. Thanks, Debbie. Your words touched me.

    Yes, Bryan was the spiritual head in our home until he went home to be with the Lord. I have many precious memories of him, and this is one of the most special.

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