Loving Your Daughters
What do you think makes your daughter feel loved? Matt and Lisa Jacobson share practical insight into knowing how to build a close and lasting relationship.
About the Guest
- Visit Matt's website at https://faithfulman.com/
- Lisa's website can be found at https://club31women.com/
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FaithfulMan.com, an online social media community focusing on the topics of marriage, parenting, and biblical teaching. He is the author of 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. He lives with his wife,...more
What do you think makes your daughter feel loved? Matt and Lisa Jacobson share practical insight into knowing how to build a close and lasting relationship.
Loving Your Daughters
Ann: Okay, I have a question to begin today.
Dave: Oh, good! Well, it may be good; we’ll see.
Ann: What do you think makes me feel loved? [Laughter]
Dave: Ohhh, I should know this answer. I know! I mean, words, gifts, time, touch.
Lisa: Oh, all the things!
Ann: Wait, you’re just naming all of them!
Dave: I know; I’m going in order of love languages, but words of love and affirmation are huge.
Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Ann Wilson.
Dave: And I’m Dave Wilson, and you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on our FamilyLife® app.
Ann: This is FamilyLife Today.
I was going to say, “Time is probably my number one.”
Dave: Well, when we go out on a date, that’s time.
Dave: You want to talk,—
Ann: Yes, that’s true.
Dave: —so that’s words.
Ann: —about our relationship.
Ann: Well, I’m excited because, today, we’re going to help some parents. We’re going to help them understand ways that will communicate love to their daughters.
We’ve already talked a little bit about how we can communicate love to our sons. We have Matt and Lisa Jacobson back with us today on FamilyLife Today. Welcome!
Lisa: Thank you.
Matt: Great to be with you again.
Ann: We’re excited, you guys, because you really already have helped us understand how to love our sons and how to communicate that. Today, we want to talk about how we love our daughters. I’m excited to see how that will be even a little bit different.
Dave: This is going to be 100 Ways to Love Your Daughter, obviously, and we’ve mentioned, you guys are the 100 Ways couple. You wrote a book on 100 Ways to Love Your Husband; …Love Your Wife; and now, …Your Son; and …Your Daughter.
We haven’t even gotten to it yet—but affirmation—we’ll get to that later. Let’s talk about it.
Ann: I like that subtitle: The Simple, Powerful Path to a Close and Lasting Relationship.
Matt, you started FaithfulMan.com. Lisa, you started Club30Women.com. You guys are authors—best-sellers—of these books on family, marriage, women, and men.
Dave: The parents of eight children!
Dave: How do you guys do it all?
Ann: Four girls, four boys?
Ann: You know, that’s pretty unusual to have eightkids—eight of your own biological kids—today.
Ann: Were you just drowning at times?
Matt: Oh, yes! [Laughter] Absolutely!
Lisa: I was trying to think of a nice, Christian, spiritual answer; but no, that’s it!
Yes; it was pretty intense some days, but fun.
Ann: But look at you! [Laughter] You’re really impacting so many and helping so many of us today.
I was intrigued by your very first way to make your daughter feel loved. You said to ask her questions.
Lisa: Yes—not just, “How are you doing?” or “What are you up to?”—but really asking: “What were you thinking today?” or “What’s on your heart?” Or get specific—that’s even better—you know, “How did your conversation with So-and-so go?” or “Are you nervous about this test coming up?” All these things just open up good conversations; and sometimes, they’re not even aware, themselves, they were struggling with something or heavy about something.
I just remember myself, being especially a young girl, just feeling lost in my own thoughts and emotions. How nice it is to have somebody care, but also help you kind of process some of that too.
Dave: But I mean, do they answer?! Because sometimes I think—maybe it’s a male/female thing, or maybe not—but sometimes, when Ann asks me a question like, “What are you thinking?” or “…feeling?” I’ll be like, “Nothing really.” Part of me doesn’t want to answer; the other is, “I’m really not thinking or feeling anything!” But with daughters, is it different? Do you get answers?
Lisa: Some of my daughters are very ready with their answer and excited about it. I can also think of another daughter, who I was just talking to this weekend, in fact; and I was just getting the dead-end answers: “Nothing,” “Not much.” I thought, “Okay, well, maybe nothing is going on,” but the more we were talking, the more I saw emotion in her eyes. And then I just said, “You seem sad in your eyes. Is there a reason I’m seeing that?” And then, they got really teary, and she said, “Well, I suppose; it’s a lot of things.” I said, “Okay, well, let’s talk about some of those things.” But she’ll make me work at it.
And I was talking to Matt after this phone call—do you remember this?—I just said, “I’m really glad I hung in there. I had to keep reminding myself to be patient, and not to yard it out of her, but to really gently pull those things out from her.” She felt so much better after we were done talking. I felt better, and I know she did. Sometimes, you have to work a little harder, I think.
Ann: Matt, is it the same for you with your daughters? Is it harder for you to go there? Because, Lisa, you’re watching the facial expressions to get what they’re emoting.
Dave: You’re not trying to say we men can’t do that?
Ann: No, I’m not!
Ann: No, I’m really not.
Dave: Just checking; just checking.
Ann: But I’m just asking, with daughters with a dad, are you watching as closely? It’s different for you, probably.
Matt: It is for me. I don’t know if this is for every dad—but I just have this hyper-sense of protection—maybe just, you know, over-the-top kind of protection. [Laughter] So—
Dave: Wait, wait, wait! What does “over-the-top” mean? Was he like—I’m looking at Lisa.
Matt: Well, I’m just constantly vigilant—I think, too uptight, really, in a lot of ways—so just maybe too uptight about: “I don’t know if that’s the right thing,” and “What’s happening over there?”
Lisa: “Is that safe?”
Matt: “Is that safe?” And so the communication that I had—I mean, early on—was really about, “Hey, I’m the protector”; that was my mindset.
Ann: I see.
Matt: And I’m not even saying that that’s necessarily how they perceived it, but it’s definitely easier to chit-chat with the kids when they’re younger.
Matt: No question about it. You know, when they get older—we talked maybe a little bit about this in the …Sons book—where there’s that transition to manhood; and it’s over the course of years.
Matt: Almost like the dawn—right?—it’s a little light, and then it gets lighter and lighter until the full light of the sun. It took me a while to understand, “Oh, that’s the mode we’re in; that’s the season we’re in.” Now, my daughters are just/if they get in trouble, they call me.
Lisa: One thing I’ve noticed, particularly in terms of this kind of conversation is, you’re a good processor; and they like processing with you.
Lisa: She and I might have the conversation—the emotion/the “I feel for you,”—but I’ve noticed they will call you, especially, when it’s something they just want to work through—
Lisa: —without the emotion of mom.
Lisa: And I think we’re now all comfortable enough that I’ll even say, “You know what? That might be a good thing to talk through with your dad. He’s wise, and I think he’ll see things without the emotional cloud that I can sometimes see things even.”
Ann: Yes; I like that you say: “Closeness comes from seeking; from seeking their hearts and pursuing a relationship.” I know that when our kids became teens, I became so focused in on their behavior—of what they weren’t doing—
Matt: Yes, absolutely.
Ann: —and I was fearful of what they were going to do.
Matt: Very natural.
Ann: Yes; but now, that our kids are adults, they’ve said, “I wish that you would have pursued my heart more.
Ann: “And asked me more about: ‘How’s my heart doing that’s making me make these dumb decisions?’” You know what I mean?
Matt: Well, this world is a big, bad, awful, disgusting place in a lot of ways! [Laughter]
Ann: Says the protector! [Laughter]
Lisa: See what I mean?
Matt: So you get focused on those things.
Matt: And you want to protect them from, you know, predators and other such influences and people who would take advantage of them; and that can be such a focus. But yes, they need to know that you love them; they need to know you like them. They need to know that you like their personality; that they’re wonderful the way they are.
You know, if a parent can just tell themselves that: “You know what? My daughter is just wonderful the way she is!” Now, it’s interesting, having four daughters, their personalities couldn’t possibly be more different. It’s really interesting that way. But we just have tried to communicate with them: “You know what? You are a unique, wonderful, beautiful creation of God,” and “We just love how you think! We love who you are! We love your personality!”
Sometimes, there are maybe even parents out there, who are thinking, “Well, I don’t really love my kid’s personality right now”; [Laughter] you know? But sometimes, you can speak the future truth into them.
Matt: You don’t have to love the bad thing they did to you, but you can love who they are. Tell yourself, “I need to communicate that.”
Lisa: That reminds me—I was just talking to a mom recently/this last week—and she has a little girl, who’s just very emotional/high-strung, flips out all the time/meltdowns.
Lisa: She, herself, is kind of a no-nonsense personality; so she’s just at a loss with what to do with this little girl. I said, “Oh, I love this! She’s passionate!” She goes, “Oh, what’s that word?!” [Laughter] I said, “No, this is wonderful! You know, it’s hard when they’re five and they’re that passionate; because it could be over the bowl of cereal, and it’s a total meltdown.” I said, “But you know, just think of this little girl when she’s 25,”—I was thinking of one of our daughters and how she is passionate for pro-life; and she’s out there marching and she’s advocating—“That passion is a beautiful thing in a 25-year-old woman.”
Dave: Yes, to project that.
Lisa: It’s hard when they’re five, maybe; it can be. I told her/I said, “I wish I would have had that picture in my mind when my little girl was five, because I think it just would have been so much easier to go, ‘Hey, I know you’re overflowing with it now; but just wait until the Lord matures you, and we walk through this together. It’s going to be a beautiful thing!’”
Ann: It’s so funny, Lisa, because I was just talking to a group of young moms with daughters. I said, “You know, I’d be careful of using the words, ‘You’re so dramatic!’” Every single one of the moms said, “Oh, no!” [Laughter] “That’s all/we use it all the time!”
Ann: They said, “But she is dramatic!” I said the same thing: “She’s passionate.
Ann: “She feels so deeply.”
Dave: Well, we—one of our sons was—would the word be “dramatic”? He was just very passionate. Everything had to be lined up and just 100 percent in everything. At times, as a parent, it was just exasperating.
Dave: You just, “Ohhh!”
Ann: It’s draining.
Dave: And then, when he became a man, and he gave his first sermon at our church—he’s a pastor/preacher now—the first sermon, we just looked at each other, like, “Oh, there it is!”
Ann: “It all makes sense!”
Dave: He was on fire up there! He was jumping around like—
Ann: He was crying; he was passionate.
Dave: “Oh, there it is! It’s being used now in a beautiful way.” But man, as a parent, it was one of the most frustrating things. You’re right, Lisa, you’ve got to project into the future:—
Dave: “This is a beautiful, unique gifting in your child that God can possibly use some day to advance the kingdom.”
Lisa: Because if our goal is to get through breakfast, let’s just say—
Lisa: —the bowl of cereal is a problem; right?
Lisa: “This meltdown is a problem,” and “You’re interfering with my goals, and so I’m frustrated with you.”
I say this gently and carefully, and with conviction: “If our goal, as a parent, is to raise up this child for the kingdom of God, then it’s just breakfast; and we don’t have to worry about it. What we really want to do is like, “Hey, you’re feeling really strongly about this right now. Let’s address this; let’s work through this.” It’s no longer just an inconvenience; it’s actually an opportunity.
Matt: And really, you know, I think it’s probably time I should tell the dead goat milk story.
Lisa: Aww. [Laughter]
Matt: We don’t run a deli.
Lisa: We have eight kids.
Matt: We have all our little kids: “You’re going to eat what’s put before you.
Ann: Right; yes.
Matt: “And we’re not doing the drama thing; that’s not happening. You’re just going to have what you’re given.”
Well, we got cereal. We used to not do a lot of cereal, but—
Lisa: Cold cereal is a treat; it’s expensive!
Ann: Yes, it is!
Matt: —for that crowd. Anyway, we got goat milk. We always had goat milk; we had friends, who had a goat milk farm, so we got goat milk. Anyway, I put it on the cereal; and the kids were just sitting there, with this look on their face. I said, “What’s the matter?!” because I’m thinking, “Hey! We went out and got cereal. You kids are supposed to likecereal! We’re having breakfast; you’re going to have to have breakfast.”
Ann: “This is a treat!”
Matt: “This is a treat”; absolutely!
Lisa: “Eat your treat!”
Matt: And Vienna, our no-nonsense daughter, goes, “Dad, this is dead goat milk.”
[Laughter] I said, “I’m not going to put up with any of this complaining! What in the world?!” And no kid would touch it! I took the jug, and I said, “What’s the matter with you kids? There’s nothing wrong!” I took a big drink of it, and then I threw it in the sink. [Laughter]
Dave: Was it that bad?
Lisa: It was so bad!
Matt: Well, it had gone bad; there’s nothing wrong with goat milk. [Laughter] All you goat milk farmers out there, don’t write in and complain;—
Lisa: It had sat in the sun or something.
Matt: —because it’s a great thing to have if you can get it, but there was something wrong with this one. And it just reminded me—[Laughter]
Lisa: We all laughed.
Matt: Yes, we all laughed; but the parent, who’s not going to put up with drama—
Ann: Well, as we talk about asking kids real questions, I was remembering when I was 16 years old. My dad—I’m the youngest of four—he didn’t spend a lot of time with me. My uncle had cancer; my mom had to take him to chemo treatments. Every time my mom was out of town—and she took him once a week—my dad would say to me; all the other siblings are now out of the house—he’d say, “Hey, we’re going out to dinner.” It felt—
Dave: —because he didn’t know how to cook. [Laughter]
Ann: Yes! And it felt really awkward, because I’d never spent time with my dad. I was nervous. It sounds crazy, but I just didn’t know him. He sat, and he began asking me questions/deep questions, like, “Tell me who you are now.” You know, I am like, “What?! What is happening right now?” And that dinner continued; he’d get an extra cup of coffee and ask more questions: “Tell me about what you see as your future.”
And it was—I’m still going to tell you—those were some of the best days of my life with my dad, because he saw me; he took an interest in me. When somebody asks questions and really listens, you feel incredibly important.
Dave: You feel loved.
Ann: —and loved, yes.
Ann: One of the things I love, too, is you said—here’s an example—I felt like you had some of these ways to love [your] daughters, [who] were very much alike; you said, “Get up early and watch the sunrise together.” Tell us about that.
Matt: Well, sometimes, you can just do something that’s out of the ordinary with the kids. You know what? If you put a plan together like that, they’ll be all-in.
Matt: “Let’s just do it! Let’s just go. Let’s do something.”
Ann: Tell me the first time you did this.
Matt: Well, it wasn’t just the sunrise—we’ve done a number of things like that—for instance, one time in November, there was a meteor shower at night. I said, “Okay; we’re just going to take the blankets, and we’re going to put them out on the lawn. We’re all going to get out there; we’ll get under a couple of blankets, and we’ll just watch the stars and see who can find the most shooting stars.” That’s a time that we did that sort of thing. I can tell you, as a parent/as a dad, I wish I would have done a thousand more of these things.
Matt: Absolutely! What I was referencing in the broadcast about sons is—there are things in the books, where we grew into/we learned to do these things. I wish I would have done a lot/a lot more of those kinds of things.
Lisa: I had one of those awakening moments when one of our daughters was, I think, about 12/13. She just was clearly exasperated with me; she said, “Mom, I just wish you’d spend time with me!” Here I am, a homeschooling mom. [Laughter] I feel like I’m a pretty committed mom. I took her to music lessons. I couldn’t believe it.
Ann: You’re with her all the time!
Lisa: I’m with her way too much! [Laughter] But she meant it with all her heart and was clearly just so frustrated with me. I thought, “Okay, I’ve got to figure this out.” I realized, I’d been doing all these things for her—taking her to music lessons, cooking her meals, home-educating her—but in her young girl’s mind, that’s not the same thing as, “I just want to be with you.”
I started taking her out, just doing little date nights. Actually, she’s in her 20s now, and we still have a weekly date. We’ll go to coffee, or we’ll grab something to eat. We just love this time together; love it! And she was probably my hardest kid to connect with, and she’ll be the first to tell you that. We just had a hard time, personality-wise, connecting. But that gentle pursuit of her heart and just saying, “I don’t have an agenda. We’re just hanging today. We’re going to do something a little special—nothing fancy—but special.”
Ann: We did that with our three sons. How do you do that with eight kids?! How are you dating these eight kids? [Laughter]
Matt: Well, I do want to touch on just that one point/just that subtle point. There are a lot of parents who do a lot of things for their kids; and they’re doing, and they’re doing, and they’re doing.
Lisa: You know, so it’s real!
Lisa: It’s not like it’s—
Matt: Absolutely; you’re all in,—
Matt: —but there is a massive difference between doing and being. In that being mode, what you’re really saying is, “I want to be with you.” Whereas, in the doing mode, “I’m just doing things for you.” But your daughter needs to know that you actually want to be with her. It’s really more communicating that you want that time with her than that you had that time and checked the box off.
Lisa: I don’t know about you, Ann; but I have always struggled with performance, like I just have to be doing things.
Ann: Oh, me too!
Lisa: Checking things off the box; that’s what makes me a legit person.
Ann: Get things done! That’s all we do as moms; we are getting stuff done!
Lisa: We are Get-it-done girls.
I just wonder how it could have been different if the people, who loved me/around me, were just content with just being with me/that I was okay just as I was.
Lisa: And I didn’t have to be doing all these things to be a joy. I really want to communicate that to our daughters.
Matt: You know, nobody looks back on their parenting and says, “You know what? I wish we would have spent more time making sure the kid got to soccer practice,” or “…making sure we didn’t miss music lessons,”—nobody says that. What they regret is that they didn’t reach the heart of their child. The way you do that: “Kids spell love T-I-M-E.”
Matt: It’s just being there; and again, communicating that you want to be there. That’s the nugget: “This child/my daughter knows I actually want to be there with her.” That’s really the core of it: this sense that I’m communicating value to her. We are, as parents, communicating value to our kids. We actually want to be with them; and that fills that child with a sense of security, a sense of value, and a sense of love. That’s really the core of it.
It doesn’t matter whether you have three or eight kids, or what life throws at you. You know, we’ve had a few challenges. We have a daughter, who’s severely brain damaged. When that happened, it took two years out of our life in terms of just fighting for her existence. She’s 21 now—in a wheelchair; a paraplegic—there’s that. And then, my parents actually lived with us for the better part of 25 years, or something like that. My mom got Alzheimer’s; she had it for 10 years. But those things are just this weight of obligation that come.
Ann: I’m listening to all you’ve been through. Those are hard things; they’re weighty things—you’re right—they’re heavy; and yet, you’re loving these eight kids under your roof.
Matt: Imperfectly, but yes.
Ann: In a way—imperfectly, yes—but you’re intentional.
Ann: As you said earlier: “Way to go!”
Dave: Yes; “Way to go!”
And part of what I’m hearing—and I think this is something that’s very—again, I’m speaking sort of, as a parent who’s been there; you know?—
Matt: Yes, absolutely.
Dave: —not that we’re done—but we sort of are in some ways. We get so involved in doing things that we think we’re with our kids, and we’re watching them play soccer;—
Ann: —their activities.
Dave: —you know? I remember, years ago, somebody asked us at our church, “How do you do it all?
Dave: “You know, you’ve got three boys, and you’re doing this, and you’re leading this church.” I remember looking at them, and going, “No, we don’t/we say, ‘No,’ to so many other things. Do you know how many coaches wanted our son to be in this league, and this league, and this league?”
I remember I was coaching Little League baseball, and they said/they literally told me—these other guys—“If you don’t play 60 games this summer, your kids will never progress.” I am like, “We’re playing 20; that’s it!”; you know?
Dave: And they look at you like, “You don’t care about your kids!” “No; I care more about my kids being with us, as a family, sitting down at dinner tables and hanging out in the back yard than I do sitting in bleachers, watching them play another sport.” Again, I’m not against that; obviously, I coached all the way through.
Dave: I loved that, but I think we get so involved in doing that we’re not being a family!
Dave: And the memories are really not—they don’t remember us sitting, watching them play—they remember us playing with them.
Ann: I agree with that, Dave. And it’s hard to say, “No,” to some of those things, when you feel the pressure of our culture,—
Ann: —telling us, “This is what’s important.”
What I hear is important to you guys is a family, whose foundation is on the Rock of Jesus. When I hear all you’ve been through, it makes me think, “Oh, that’s your strength.” Talk about that as we close.
Matt: Well, there’s probably not a person listening, who doesn’t have all kinds of things in their life that they just wouldn’t choose for themselves; okay?
Matt: All kinds of people listening, who have things that they would never choose for themselves. And yet, as we take a step back, and just look at it, and we go, “You know, if I didn’t choose this for myself, is this something that God allowed into my life for His purposes?” God’s at work; and God’s at work in us, and He’s at work in our children. God’s so gracious with us on the journey that He’s taken with us; He’s so patient with us; He’s so unconditionally loving toward us. He’s that Father, who has His arms out all the time.
Can we recognize that our children are on a journey too? They’re walking through life, too, and they have things in their lives that they wouldn’t choose for themselves. God is at work; and as a parent, I just come back to that verse in James 4:8; it says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Our walk in life is about walking in communion with the Father. The Word of God says, “When we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”
Having a great relationship with your kids, as a believer, really starts with communing with God and walking with Him/walking in the light with Him.
Ann: That’s so good! Thank you, guys, for being with us.
Matt: Great to be with you. God bless!
Bob: I imagine you’re finding yourself thinking about practical ways that you can express love for your children, whether it’s writing a note, sending them a text, doing something special with them to engage with them. We need to be looking for simple opportunities/simple ways that we can connect, heart to heart, with our kids and for them to understand we really do love them.
Matt and Lisa Jacobson have written two books to help us with this. One book is called 100 Ways to Love Your Son; the other is 100 Ways to Love Your Daughter. We’re making both of these books available to listeners this week: those of you who can join the team that makes FamilyLife Today possible for you, for people in your community, for people all around the world.
FamilyLife Today is listener-supported. We’re here today because listeners, like you, made today’s program possible. We want to ask you to make tomorrow’s program possible by making a donation today. It’s easy to do; you can donate online. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to donate; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY; 1-800-358-6329; you can donate over the phone. Again, your donations help cover the costs of producing and syndicating this program so that hundreds of thousands of people, every day, can benefit from the work that’s being done here.
We’ll be happy to send you, as a thank-you gift, Matt and Lisa Jacobson’s books, 100 Ways to Love Your Son and 100 Ways to Love Your Daughter. We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, in advance, for your support of this ministry.
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about some of the wrong thinking that accompanies the subject of singleness; because there are a lot of myths around what it means to be single in our day. Sam Allberry is going to join us tomorrow. I hope you can join us as well.
On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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