The Big Idea of Remodeling

The early years of raising of our daughters are, in many ways, like new construction. House building. It’s a dad’s privileged responsibility to take the raw material of that tiny, helpless baby girl and shape her into completeness.

But now that she’s married, we’re taking the relationship we’ve built with our daughter for twenty-some years and retrofitting it into something different . . . not defining, but redefining.

What happens when our daughter takes our arm and we walk her down the aisle and say, “Her mother and I do,” is incredibly consequential. Our association with this woman will never be the same. It must be radically changed. Remodeled. If we don’t do this well, serious trouble awaits us. But if we are successful, this remodeled relationship with our daughter can be amazing.

If you have ever tackled a home remodeling project, you know what I’m about to say. If you haven’t, you can ask someone who has . . . or you can trust me with the following truth: remodeling is far more difficult than tackling new construction.

Building from scratch can be plotted and planned and controlled. Remodeling is a mystery. Surprises, twists, and unexpected turns are inevitable. New construction includes the precision of following a blueprint. Successful remodeling is solving one problem after another.

When we’re starting from scratch, we can roll out the plans on the hood of Old Blue and go for it. New construction is fairly predictable. Precise. But when we’re radically changing something that already exists—rebuilding something—we take it a day at a time. We brace for the unexpected and unforeseen surprises and roadblocks. Just like when our daughters get married.  

Published June 18, 2009.


Excerpted from Robert Wolgemuth's new book She Still Calls Me Daddy: Building a New Relationship with Your Married Daughter After You Walk Her Down the Aisle (Tyndale House, 1999).

Parents of two daughters and grandparents of five, Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth are the authors of more than 20 books. Robert’s bestselling titles include She Calls Me Daddy, the notes to the Devotional Bible for Dads, and The Most Important Place on Earth. Bobbie’s books include the Gold Medallion best-seller, Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, co-authored with Joni Eareckson Tada.

They have had the privilege of nurturing their own children’s faith. Now Robert and Bobbie celebrate as the next generation is being led to Jesus Christ.