My Father Helped Me Rope My Cowboy

cowboy love
Love, Family

In the fall of 1994, I was devastated when my fiancé told me that he felt we needed a break. He was returning to Austin, Texas without me; I would stay in Dallas with my family.

I couldn't speak—my throat had a honest-to-goodness lump and my eyes were swollen. When I got home I went straight to my room. Upon emerging, my father had a hug waiting and had taken down each and every photo of me and my fiancé, replacing them with crazy family pictures. I have no doubt that my mother was also instrumental in this quick shift of goods.

Dating Around
That day I decided that if men could use women, women could do the same, so I did—many times and without remorse. About once a week my father would remind me to be careful and ask me to remember that all men were not like my fiancé. Looking back, I think he was trying to tell me to have faith. Read: The Bad Girl's Breakup Rx

After my dates I would come home and tell my dad how it went, including the small idiosyncrasies that made it impossible for me to see the man again. Wrinkled shirt, bad glasses, expectations that I would pay for his meal as well as my own... you know the routine.

In February of 1996, after being stood up on Valentine's Day, I decided that I was finished with men. Once again, my father encouraged me to be safe and to be myself. He reminded me that my value was not measured by whether or not I had a man in my life; I could and would be successful without one.

The Cowboy
One evening, I met a gorgeous but obnoxious cowboy at a bar. We had both knocked down a few, and I danced with all his friends. I was sporting the flirtatious attitude you get when you put on your dancing boots. (Don't pretend that you don't know what this is!) While I danced, he drank every beer I left on the table.

When I recounted the story the next day, my dad gave me the usual smile and laugh, relieved that I wasn't serious about any of the drunken dudes I danced with.  The Beer Goggles Calculator

The next week, I ran into the cowboy again. He was still devastatingly handsome in his Wranglers, starched shirt and Stetson. I tried to ignore him but he approached me. Turns out we had much more in common when were sober, and we hit it off immediately.

Dad's Approval
When I returned home the next day, something was different and I think Daddy knew. When Corley the cowboy called, my father answered and made a joke. When they met in person, Corley was quick-witted and Daddy was able to speak with him easily. I hadn't realized it, but this connection between my father and my man was what I had been looking for. Corley and I have been married for twelve years.

I don't think of my father as a matchmaker, but rather a match keeper. He was a sounding board during my dating years, and he's always encouraged me to put myself first. Now that I'm married my father keeps Corley and I together by example and his belief in us. He continually tells me how proud he is of both of us. He tells me that Corley is a good man, and I know that he loves him. My father's confidence gives me hope for the future—our future.

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Corley and I have had our ups and downs but we fight fair and, because of the precedent set by my parents' marriage, I've never thought of leaving him or not working things through. We are a match and a good one, thanks to my match keeper.   

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.