So...You want to Date my Daughter
July 4, 2015 - Category: family-blog
Recently a friend of our boys started to come over to the house often and even began to stay the night a couple of time per week. One day he came to me privately asking if it he could date our 16 year old daughter, Cori. I was prepared for this question because I noticed his attention had turned over the course of these several weeks from hanging with the boys to talking to Cori more often and even watching movies with her. What could have been a simple “yes you can date my daughter” turned out to be something much deeper as Danielle and I considered our response.
As parents, we are uniquely qualified to raise our children as we are led and so are you. The world has put so much pressure on parenting that many parents cave to the culture standards and miss out on a real blessing to help each of their children move into their destiny. One way we do this is by helping them learn God’s way is better than the world’s way. Dating or courting is one of those opportunities.
When this young man asked me the question I had already prepared my thoughts. Danielle and I had even discussed the possibility prior to the question being asked. So when this young man took the courage to ask to meet with me, I was prepared. I told him that if he wanted to date my daughter, Cori, there three truths he needed to hear from her mother and father.
1. She is of great value.
We told this young man that if he wanted to date our daughter several things would change. He could no longer stay the night while Cori was home and ‘hanging out’ with her would not be the norm. If he really wanted to date our daughter, we would expect a specific plan for dates. He would need to ask her beforehand, pick her up, treat her like she’s the most important person for that particular time, drop her off from the date by walking her to the door, saying good night, and then going home.
Both Cori and this young man did not first understand why we were expecting this from them. In fact they thought that “just hanging out” would be better than spending money on dating and they could spend more time with each other. They also thought that since they had started out as friends, dating would be going backwards. So we asked them both to trust us as we explained the purpose and blessings of dating the right way.
I asked them to consider what would happen if all you did was “just hang out”? What would you miss? I explained that they would both miss some of the greatest emotions in the courtship process such as the courage of preparing to ask her out on the date, being intentional in preparing the adventure of the date and most all, enjoying the anticipation of the date and the pursuit of my daughter.
Danielle and I know this is important and have heard from many families through our family ministry. Some have told us they never had these experiences. At the time they didn’t think it was really important to spend effort in the pursuit. Some even said they missed out on many memories that at the time they thought were insignificant such as getting hand written cards, flowers, small gifts, and the joy of pursuing and being pursued. Most of what they did was through text messages and “just hanging out” individually or in a group. They also said that there were some pressures that came from so much idle time. For many, this idle time led to mistakes and giving up many firsts – first intimate embrace, first hand holding, first kiss and so on and typically not to the one they would eventually marry.
We explained, the preparation and anticipation of the dating process would allow each of them to consider one another more deeply spiritually and emotionally as God speaks to their hearts. It would also give them time to consider some very important questions as time goes on such as, do I want to continue? Am I being treated in a way that shows me I am worthy? What is my heart saying about this person? Would I marry him or her?
You see, we have always told our kids that if you are going to date make sure it would be someone you might want to spend the rest of your life with. We asked them to be choosey because so many date or hangout simply for the sake of entertainment and wind up missing God’s plans for their life. Yes, God can redeem but it can also bring unnecessary pain in the process.
We have been told that this is old fashioned. However, any girl who is truly honest with herself admits she wants to be pursed and taken on an adventure. Why do you think romance novels are a billion dollar industry? If there is no adventure in reality they will seek it elsewhere. As parents, we ask you to consider this with an open and honest heart. If you really want to know God’s intent for this kind of love, passion, preparation and anticipation read the Song of Solomon. Tell me, moms, if this is not what all girls truly desire? Again, I submit that you are uniquely qualified to raise your children as you are led, don’t be bullied by the world.
- The evidence: One day Cori was at the front door after coming home from church and she was beaming all over. Across her face was a brilliant beautiful smile that was incredibly noticeable for blocks around our home. This was not just an everyday smile but this one was special. When I opened the door she said to me, “Oh my gosh, Dad, I get it!” I looked down in her hand, there was a vase with a single rose and baby’s breathe with a hand written card attached. Cori began to describe the effort (and smooth trickery) of what this young man had done to put it in her car without her knowing. She told me her first thought was "how did my dad get this in my car?” As she began reading the card, the words began to speak to her heart. She said she felt not just wanted in this relationship but needed as being a part of completing the missing part of the adventure. He used words to describe how special she was and how she made him feel when they were together. He also described his longing for the next time they would be together. Now, evidenced in her room, stands a memory of being pursued.
Now they both “get it”. He is having as much fun in the preparation and anticipation as Cori and both are being blessed in the pursuit of the adventure.
2. Honor her and her parents.
I continued to explain to him that God gave this girl you want to date to me to watch over and to protect. I explained that we have told Cori as well as our other children that we would trade our next breath for them. So I continued, if you are to date my daughter, we expect to know where you both are going and when you will be arriving home. This will change over time, but for now if you’re going to be late or if your plans change it’s your responsibility to call us and give us an update. But most importantly you need to know this-- when she is with you, you have my permission to risk your life to protect hers.
When this young man first heard this he was a little taken back from the statement. My daughter at first laughed when she heard me but she also knew I was completely serious. What that statement was really saying to this young man who wanted to date my daughter was that I place a high value on her and that he should also value her the same way. It also told him that in giving him permission to date my daughter I would be watching very closely because she really does matter a great deal to me.
Keep in mind that we are not ‘helicopter’ parents hovering around our children and suffocating them with over parenting. In fact it’s the opposite. We trust Cori in her relationships and mostly we trust the Lord. We also trust this boy who wants to date my daughter or we would have said no. We are intentionally telling him and her that she is of great value and she deserves to be honored as well as protected and in someway we are sharing this responsibility of her protection with him.
Recently when Cori was leaving for a long trip to Guatemala she gave me a card that really touched me. She wrote, “I may not always immediately understand what you say or do, but I am learning to trust you more and more every single day because you love me so much and I am fully confident of that, thank you”.
Your kids may not fully understand your parenting and your concerns for them through these stages, especially dating. But what they really want to know is that you love them and you have their best interest in mind and boundaries are important. You may not even be thanked for several years but you still need to be the parent and show them this kind of love. They want it and need it.
3. Allow me to help guide you.
This may be a little uncomfotable for some of you dads, but it is important to open this door from the very beginning. Like me, most young men have never been taught how to court or date a girl. We have told Cori that you should never date someone that you would not consider marrying. So, if she was willing to consider the long term possibilities I wanted to help her and her boyfriend understand God's purpose of marriage as their relationship grew. Marriage is more than a ring and sharing expenses, and the real purpose needs to be taught. Even today many believing couples don't fully know or experience the true intimacy that is only found in marriage and not in any other instituton or any other relationshlip. God's purpose for marriage is so important to fully understand. I wanted both my daughter and my potential future son-in-law to feel its depths and receive the blessing in the convenant of marriage.
Several months into their relationship this young man thanked me for takng the time, giving him books to read, and just talking to them both about courting, dating, and the possibility of marriage. He told me that he had no idea because no one had ever taught him these things and he was so thankful. For over two years Danielle and I intentionally helped guide them and mentor them and we were all blessed.
Parents, it’s never too late to be intentional.
For many parents reading this; you may feel like your daughter would not go along with this for a minute. For some of you this whole dating thing has already begun and you don't think you can interject from your heart. Remember and believe this-- it’s never too late to become intentional in your children’s lives and it does not matter if you’re married or single. It’s never too late to move your relationship with your children to a place of respect and honor. It’s not easy; but will be one of the greatest gifts either one of you could ever receive. We call this: “hitting the reset button”. You must draw a proverbial line in the sand and set a new course with your parenting. Although, this may be a delicate situation if it has gone untended for a while, it is still very important. Parents you can reclaim lost ground. We believe that a family vision statement can be a great place to start. This is why we do what we do at C2 Family. We can help equip you through the process of winning back ground that you may feel you have lost. Check our resources and family conferences at C2family.com.