Well, I’ve already established that I’m not going to threaten my daughter’s date with a shotgun. However, I’m sure some of you readers are curious what I would want to discuss with said date. Should the young man¹ come and talk to me, here are a few things I will want him to clarify for me. If I don’t like his answers, I’ll certainly talk to CFd about them, and present my thoughts or concerns. Ultimately it’s up to her, though. ²
Q. First of all, why are you talking to me about this?
Best answer: “Well, I know how important family is to CFd, and I don’t feel like I know you or CFM all that well. I’m wanting to get to know you all while CFd and I figure out what our relationship means for us.”
Good answer: “Well, I think CFd’s and my relationship has reached a point where I’m considering spending the rest of my life with her. I wanted your advice, because I don’t really have anybody else to ask.”
Also Good answer: “CFd and I were talking the other day about our relationship, and she thought it would be a good idea for us to get council from you, so here we are! ::CFd standing next to him smiling::”
No points on the attempt: “I know that you’re CFd’s father, and so you’re her authority. I wanted to have your permission to date her.”
Well, right off the bat, are you asking me because you think I need to approve who CFd goes out with or dates? Nope. She makes her own decisions about this. Will she ask me for advice? Of course! I mean, I hope I haven’t ruined that for her by then. Chances are, she has had all sorts of conversations with me about you by the time you’ve talked to me.
Honestly, it would concern me a great deal if a young man came and asked for my daughter’s hand. If it were just a simple gesture because he wanted to check with me, I’d give it a pass. You know, there are a lot of men out there who require that, so I won’t fault a young man for thinking I might be one of them (you know, maybe he hasn’t interacted enough with CFd to know better). However, you won’t get my permission. It’s not mine to give. You’ll have to take that up with CFd. If you can’t conceive of a marriage without my permission, then you may have patriarchal patterns in your head, and I’ll be sure to mention to CFd that she may want to look elsewhere for a date.
I’d love to get to know you, and so would CFM. You’ve obviously won CFd’s heart, and that warms mine. I would be happy to offer any advice you and CFd want about this. I’m happy that you’ve asked, even though you really don’t have to. CFd would love for her suitor and I to get along, so I’ll do my part.
Q. Have you talked to my daughter about how you feel?
Best answer: “I have, and she feels the same way. This is just all so new to us. We’re really sensing that our relationship is going the way God directs us both.”
Good answer: “I haven’t yet. I want to, I really do. I’m really sensing she feels the same way, so I want to be careful. Do you think this is what the Lord wants?”
No points on the attempt: “I haven’t. It wouldn’t be right for me to do that because we need to keep ourselves emotionally pure. I was hoping you would talk to her about this before I broached the subject to her.”
Again, if you’re waiting on my permission to do anything you’ve seriously misunderstood the nature of CFd’s and my relationship. And no. No, no, no. I am absolutely not going to woo my daughter for you. If you can’t do that, then get off my lawn. Grow up.
Do I think this is what God wants? I say you two should figure it out together. I agree. I think she does feel the same way about you (or, maybe I don’t get that idea, but I could be wrong). At any rate, you should tell her, and let me know what she says. I’ll talk to her afterward, since I’m sure she’ll want to ask me about it (at least I hope). If you decide it isn’t the best way to go, then I’ll help out any way I can. Broken hearts are rough, but they’re a part of life.
If you think it’s what God wants, and she agrees… I assume you’ve bought a ring? Good, good. No, don’t show it to me. Really, it’s more fun if she’s the first to see it.
Q. What do you know about sex, specifically, how to please your partner?
Best answer: “Well, I’m not experienced really, if you know what I mean, but I think I have a good handle on it. I had sex ed, and what they didn’t teach I learned from medical sites. I know that both partners’ pleasure is equally important and so I hope whoever my partner is can help me out there.”
Good answer: “I don’t really know much beyond sex ed from high school, but I know it’s important to both partners. It’s just that the subject is awkward.. but learning is important enough to endure that.”
No points on the attempt: “Well, I don’t really know much about sex. I had sex ed in school, and the subject makes me really nervous so I don’t talk about it. Can’t we just kind of figure it out as it comes?”
OK, I get it. Sex is an awkward discussion for young people, especially when they have had little or no education on the subject. I understand that, and I empathize (really, I’ve been there). I’m not looking for candid talk on the subject.
However… The culture in Christianity today is so focused on a man’s pleasure during sex – and his needs – that Christians forget that women have sex for pleasure too. For a man and woman to be ignorant of how it works for the woman when they go at it isn’t healthy sex, and indeed could be dangerous.
What I want to know is, are you as a young man going to be able and willing to listen to my daughter and respond to her needs? As awkward as it is for you to hear (and believe me it’s awkward for me to say), I want my daughter to have a fulfilling and wonderful sex life with her partner. Are you going to be able to give this to her? Are you willing to try?
Q. How have your talks with my daughter gone when it comes to your beliefs?
Best answer: “Oh, those have been going really well! She and I have tossed all kinds of ideas back and forth and she has presented the most engaging discussions I’ve ever known. We’ve really challenged each other a lot, and she’s made me think.”
Good answer: “I haven’t had much of a chance to talk about things like politics or religion. I’m interested in it though. I was raised to be (fill in the blank) and so I’m looking forward to hearing another perspective.”
No points on the attempt: “Well, it’s been a little hard, actually. She keeps interjecting with different opinions and I’ve had to correct her about some things. She has some pretty weird ideas, but I think I can teach her.”
HAHA! Yeah, I should have labelled that last one a personal foul instead of just no points. My daughters are going to have opinions, and if a guy isn’t interested in hearing them, that may be the only deal-breaker on the table for me. That’s really not my vision for my daughter, and I hope she feels the same way.
Good talk, son. Good talk.
¹ For purposes of this article, I am assuming it will be boyfriends. Again, not meaning to leave anyone out. However, the assumption that young men need to come to a girl’s father and ask for her hand is usually within a heterosexual cis male context, and so that’s the context of this discussion.
²Now I do want to make a quick note: CFM and I just talked, and we’re agreed that for our daughters’ safety we are going to wait until they are 16+, the driving age in the US, before we allow them to “date” – meaning go somewhere alone with a boy. I really don’t mind if my daughter falls in love before then. That’s not the issue here. Doing things with a boyfriend in a group setting? That’s great. We just think it’s wise for her to avoid being alone with someone until she’s that old. Disagree with that if you like, and I’d love to hear your opinion, but that’s what we think at this point.