An Open Letter to my Son on His Wedding Day

Dear Jalen,

I find myself reflecting a lot these days, marrying off your first boy will do that to a mom. It’s just so hard to believe my son is becoming a husband. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that you were testing the limits of crib boundaries & seeing how many times you could get out of your time-out chair before we had to hit refresh on our parenting tactics. Your determination, as evidenced by a baby safety-gate climber, looks much more attractive as an adult. You go after your goals, scaling challenges with the same determination you had as a child. I’m so proud of you! Way to apply it in such a great way.

When it came to falling in love, you nailed it there too. You found the most amazing girl in Brianna. You’ve always been a deep thinker, who doesn’t waste time with frivolous excess words. I remember early on encouraging you to communicate how you were feeling to Bri. I’d share my thoughts and wait for your feedback. Crickets. I had no idea if any of my parenting advice landed.  However, I’d like to think you took some of my tips to heart because she stuck with you in high school, through college and then said yes to your invitation to spending the rest of her life with you. As the mom in this equation,  I feel like I got the lucky end of the deal! I have an amazing son & now I’m blessed with an awesome daughter-in-law too.

You’ve always been my sweet Jalen. Tenderhearted and resolute. Funny, oh so funny, and thoughtful. I have loved seeing you apply those amazing characteristics toward your relationship with Bri.

More recently, your dad and I have had the absolute pleasure of sharing the dinner table with you and Brianna on so many weeknights. Often it would turn into a double date since Ava was at soccer practice and Jaxton was working late. Oh, what an unexpected gift that has been. I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to a dinner invite around your table (or coffee table, considering your cozy apartment). I keep hearing about your cooking skills.

If I could leave you with one last bit of advice before I send you off into married life, this is what I’d say: Put God first. I know it sounds like a Christian school yearbook tagline, “All the best, dude, keep God first”. But, it’s true. With 27 years of marriage experience, the thing that’s grounded me the most is being secure in my relationship with Jesus. It helps not put unnecessary strain on your spouse. It helps with perspective too. And while I’m at it, I’ll throw in one more thought. Communicate often. Don’t assume Bri knows what you’re thinking. Share your feelings even when it feels awkward or uncomfortable. Oh, and, invest in your relationship. Go on regular dates, seek Godly counsel (therapy), and attend annual marriage retreats. Okay, okay. I’ll stop. I’m starting to see why you were quiet when I’d give you advice. You likely couldn’t get a word in.

I just love you so much. I’m excited for you to be in the marriage club. Let’s dance on August 28, 2022 until they shut the lights off on us!


Photo: Madison Ashley Photography

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