By Cassidy Campbell |

A man is not a plan.

These are the six words that have been drilled into my head by my dad for as long as I can remember.

Growing up, I never thought much about this advice. As a fourth grader I never considered liking a boy who had cooties and chased me on the playground, so I just disregarded it.

My father raised my sisters and I by this motto. My parents got married at a young age, so growing up I thought that going to college, finding my husband and getting married right after graduation would also be my story.

My parents wanted to remind us that this is not the usual scenario for every college student and that it is completely OK if I went to school and did not find my future husband.

My dad thought it was extremely important for his three daughters to grow up depending strictly on themselves for their happiness, wealth and well-being, so for this reason, he taught us this lesson from a young age.

He knew that one day a boy would come into the picture and he never wanted my happiness to rely on this particular boy.

As I watched my sisters go through high school and college, I saw the ways that they did and did not take my dad’s advice when they began dating. So when I started high school, I tried to remember what my dad had always taught us growing up.

That a man is not a plan.

After my first “heartbreak” my senior year, this motto finally became more powerful. Yes, this breakup sucked and I was extremely sad, but like my dad always said, a man is not a plan. Did I really expect this high school boy to be the person I would fall in love with and get married to?

After a lot of tears and a couple pints of ice cream, I realized that this boy was not the sole reason for my happiness. When I finally came to that conclusion, the moving on factor got that much easier.

Right before I took on college, the advice my dad had given me suddenly became a lot stronger and more persistent. Growing up I was taught that six word motto, but when I got to college the message became a lot more real for me.

My parents knew that there was the possibility I could go to college and find my future husband but they also knew that I might not. They did not want me to go into college with the hopes of finding someone and getting married immediately after I graduated.

Most importantly, they wanted me to find a major that I was passionate about and would want to make a living out of. They did not want me to get a degree for something I did not care about or to expect that my husband would make a living for me.

“A man can’t make you complete. You can’t depend on him for your happiness and confidence. Those things have to come from within. If you find someone— that’s a huge bonus blessing in life, but you have to make your own plan for your life too. And you can touch on focusing on your relationship with Christ too. Grow confident through your faith and lean on Christ when you need someone to lean on. A physical man will never complete you or your life— they can’t. Only inner confidence and Christ can bring out the shiniest version of you— not a man.”

This advice from my dad that seemed so silly when I was growing up has become such an important concept that I now live by. I know that I can only find true happiness within myself and that a boy will never be the sole reason for my happiness.

My dad’s advice has also become a standard I live by. As I start to consider seriously dating at this point in my life, I do not want to waste any time on someone who is not worth spending time on. My dad’s six word motto taught me to spend my time with a boy who has morals— someone who meets my standards and checks off the boxes for the man I truly want to fall in love with.

I have been able to find happiness through who I am, my accomplishments and what I think of the person I’ve become, and I now know I will never need a man for any of these things.