Posts tagged protecting your daughter

Interviewing Mister Maybe



This summer, I gave my two oldest daughters away in marriage to men who last year had asked for my blessing.

Today, I’m getting together with another young man, who has asked to date my youngest daughter. He’s the first one.

DaddyDaughterHandYou would think this would be old hat for me by now, but I’m still nervous and a bit unsure. I mean, talking about purity and honor is not the typical conversation you’d strike up with a relative stranger who’s 40 years your junior. But I’m also convinced that this is one of the best things I can do for any young man who has an interest in my daughter.

It’s not a “patriarchal” thing or a control thing. It’s really more about love and stewardship; about giving guidance and bestowing value.

Based on my experience, this guy probably won’t be the one who marries my daughter one day—the first one usually isn’t. But he might be. I want him to know that he needs to treat my daughter with the same honor that I treat her, and that I treat my wife. If he’s not the one who will marry my daughter, I still know that my daughter will likely marry some day, and the young man I’m meeting with today is likely to marry another young lady. So as early as this weekend, this boy and my daughter will each be on a date with somebody’s future spouse.

If marriage is years off for the two of them, why focus on that right now? Because in a woman’s search for Mr. Right, there are a lot of Mr. Wrongs who are more than willing to burden her with their baggage—some of which she’ll carry with her into marriage. But, mostly, it’s a focus because marriage is a good standard by which to teach relationship integrity.

Interviewing Mister Maybe

Before you get the idea that I’m going to screen this boy as a possible life-suitor or that I’m going to torture him with the third degree, it’s nothing like that. It will just be a friendly conversation over ice cream or a shake where we get to know each other and freely talk about our intentions and expectations. I’ll let him know that I’m not just interested in my daughter’s welfare, but his as well. He’ll know that my intentions are completely honorable. If I find that his aren’t, it will be a short meeting. If his are honorable, it should be a good time.

I’ll ask him about his family, about himself, and about his interests, including my daughter. I’ll compliment him on his taste in young ladies, and I’ll tell how much I think of her as well. I’ll let him know that I’ve given my life to protecting her and helping her become the young woman God created her to be. I’ll let him know that in giving him permission to date her, I’m also entrusting to him the responsibility of respecting her moral purity and putting her before himself.

I want him to respect her. I want him to respect me. But I also want him to respect himself. As a man-in-training, he needs to strive toward nobler standards of selflessness, protection and thoughtfulness. I want him to know that I’m calling him up, maybe even to be better than he thinks he can be. I want to call him up to be his best, just as his own dad would.

I actually did this with the youngest of my four sons when he first started dating. I met with the father of the girl he was dating and told him what standards I expected of my son in how he treated his daughter. I even gave him a copy of the book that inspired me to meet with any boy who was interested in any of my daughters.

Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date is a really quick read that’s encouraging and practical. Dennis Rainey gives dads eight points to cover in the interview that turn what otherwise would be an uncomfortable chat into a vision-building call to manhood.

  1. A woman is God’s creation, a beautiful creation, a fine creation.
  2. The attraction of a young man to a young woman is both normal and good,
  3. I understand and remember what the sex drive of a young man is like.
  4. I am going to hold you accountable for your relationship with my daughter.
  5. I’m going to challenge you to purity.
  6. I want you to respect and uphold the dignity of my daughter by keeping your hands off her.
  7. Do you understand all of what I’ve just said to you?
  8. When you’re a dad someday, I hope you will challenge your own children to abide by these standards and that you will interview your daughter’s dates. Can I count on you?

The book has more detail, including a sample conversation. It also includes personal reflections from Dennis based on the dozens of interviews he’s done, and thanks from his daughters who have avoided carrying baggage into their marriages.

I want my daughters to know that I value them and am willing to fight for them, and I want them each to find a lifelong spouse who will do the same. But above that, I want them to know that they’re valued infinitely more by their Heavenly Father who sees them for all their beauty and design and doesn’t want them to settle for anything less.

© 2015 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just finished reading Scott Williams’ post, “Interviewing Mister Maybe” on the Stepping Up blog for men.

STEPThink - 10-point checklistA girl really desires a real relationship with her dad. Read “How to Really Know Your Daughter.”

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistDennis Rainey talks to dads of daughters on the FamilyLife Today broadcast about navigating the dating years 

STEPPass - 10-point checklistGet the book Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date to have on hand for your daughter. Share this post with other dads.

Future son-in-law: Do this … don’t do this



The following letter is not an actual letter. And, it may sound like the rant of an angry father (as my son pointed out when he read through it :). Well, to some degree it is. I’m not angry, per se. I’m disappointed in the young men (Christian young men) who have expressed “interest” in my daughters at some level. It’s not that I’m mad AT them. I know there are a lot of great young Christian men (even the ones implicated below 😉 who understand how to enter into a relationship with a young woman and nurture the relationship. I also realize that there are just as many young women who fail to properly move forward (either too fast or too slow) in relationships. Recently, my daughter has experienced some of the challenges that are covered at some level in my letter. I’m not really an angry old ranting father … really. But, I do expect that young men conduct themselves in a way that is addressed below. So, with this as an intro, read at your own peril.  😉

Dear young man who wants to pursue my daughter,

I want you to know that I am very excited that you want to be a part of my daughter’s life. I’m sure you are already sensing what a special woman she is, which is why you are considering entering into a relationship with her. I want you to know that we’ve been praying for you for a LONG time. In fact, her mother and I have been praying for you before our daughter was even born. Well, maybe it wasn’t you. Much of that depends on how much of this letter you understand and the expectations of a young man who would like to be a significant part of my daughter’s life. If you aren’t ready to pursue a deeper relationship with her, than this letter probably doesn’t apply. If you are, please read on.

Do ThisI hope this doesn’t feel like a semester final. It’s not. It’s much more important than that. You see, you can’t cram for this test. What you are about to enter into needs to have been built into you and you need to have been honing and working on it for years. Let’s face it, the requirements for dating my daughter are character qualities that you cannot learn from simply reading a book or playing video games. It is a personal, one-on-one relationship that requires someone of godly character and integrity.

Since I don’t know you yet (though I am really looking forward to getting to meet you … honestly) I thought I might offer you some advice on some things to say and do while avoiding other things that wouldn’t endear you to me, to her, nor to her Lord. Yes, her Lord. See, my daughter is a follower of Christ. Therefore, she has been bought with a price and anyone that she eventually meets, dates, and weds must have that in mind above all else because it is her identity. Alright, enough chit-chat let’s get to that all important list of things to say and do and those things to avoid when wanting to date my daughter.

DON’T DO THIS: Lead her on with words that miscommunicate your intentions.

That is a big mistake. Don’t tell her something to lead her on and then pull that rug out from under her. Yes, it reveals that you are the kind of man she shouldn’t be spending much time with anyway, so thank you for making that obvious. But, a man is not a man if he doesn’t live up to his word. Your word is part of your DNA. If she can’t trust what you say BEFORE you are “dating” how could she ever trust you as you enter into a relationship. She will be much better without you, if that is what you are considering doing. I’m not a harsh man. I understand that feelings change and that maybe you don’t feel you’re in the same place in your relationship with my daughter that she might feel with you. That’s OK. Relationships are like that. Like the ocean’s tide they unevenly rise and fall in the lives of those involved. It’s cool to tell her, “I don’t know what I feel or where I’m at in this relationship.” I support you in that confusion. Listen, I realize you may not have spent one minute thinking about marriage. That’s OK. This relationship may not end there. But, whenever a relationship starts, it has the potential to end in the ultimate relationship and before it goes there, it needs to have been built on a solid foundation.

Having been married for nearly 29 years, I’ve been there … confused about women I mean. But, when I said “I DO”, I DID. Forever. I meant it when I said, “in good times and bad, rich or poor, sick or well, till DEATH do us part.” That’s quite a commitment to make to another person. Too many of young (and old) men and women don’t take that commitment seriously. They are just bridge words to get from the wedding ceremony to the honeymoon suite. Nope. They are words of significance. They are your identity. So you can see why empty words spoken to lead my daughter on in the beginning of a relationship will not work for me (or her).

One young man recently told my daughter that he was “interested” in her. My daughter understood that to mean he was interested in her enough to pursue the relationship at a little deeper level. Then, the young man turned to her a few days later and said, “remember that ‘interested’ comment? Well, forget I ever told you that.” I’m sure you wouldn’t do that but just in case, don’t tell her you’re “interested” unless YOU ARE INTERESTED. And by the way, you might want to choose a different word. There’s no commitment in the word “interested.” I’m interested in football, steak, the outcome of the elections and a host of other things in life. But, it’s not a word to be used in a relationship. It might be true. You might be interested. But please don’t use that as an expression of any kind of personal commitment.

DO THIS: Spend time expressing important things to her in person.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.