This is the final installment of “Dear Boy Dating Our Daughter“. This series of letters has been written as a communication tool only as a way to discuss the often difficult topic of dating with our children, our expectations as parents, in addition to what we hope and pray they look for and be in a potential spouse.
Dear Boy Dating Our Daughter,
Over the months, we have seen you legitimately love our daughter, not merely the idea of love. Your love for her is not conditional, but is based on your mutual love for Christ and the desire to continue to grow both individually and together in Him. The love you have for one another edifies. It encourages, builds up, and comes alongside her in her rights and in her wrongs, in her joys and in her pains; in her ease and in her struggles. It says I am with you through it all; I want to be with you through it all. Seeing love in action like this brings more than a smile to our faces because it is exactly what Christ had in mind when He put the sacraments of marriage into place and you’ve been taking purposeful steps in this direction for some time.
The fact that your relationship bears a sense of security and protection for our girl, in addition to the fact that your actions match your insightful and focused promises to give her your best causes our hearts to swoon. We can only imagine how she feels!
We have seen your “we” identity grow with each passing month so much so that you’ve become nearly inseparable. Marriage is not such a scary word anymore, but one that ignites an unmatched joy. We knew this day–the day you begin building up the courage to ask us for our blessing to marry our daughter– would come. We’ve been preparing our hearts and minds for it since her birth. Even as we held her in our arms, we knew that one day we would be handing her over to another man worthy of her love and devotion.
We began praying over you the day she was placed into our arms and with each struggle, pressure, etc. she has encountered throughout the years; we knew you very well might be experiencing similar situations. So as we prayed for wisdom and strength for her, we prayed the same for you. Our hope has been that when your paths finally met (and admittedly, we have been eager to meet the man we will one day call son), you would not only encompass strength, exhibit a character that has elements of depth, wisdom, loyalty, unconditional love for both our girl and Christ, but also who is working toward having martial substance to offer our girl.
We bet your eyes just widened and a subtle fear rattled your heart upon reading the second part of that statement. It sounds a little scary, perhaps resembling high expectations. Yes, high expectations, but not unattainable. Here’s what we’re talking about. If we were to ask you how you will provide comfort and security for our girl as your soon to-be wife, we hope, even if you have not yet reached these goals, that you have prayed and begun planning so that you are ready to present your best, in both character and provision, to our girl at the time of proposal.
One word of caution: plans for provision do not start once an engagement has taken place. An engagement is a time to plan your wedding and honeymoon and fine-tune—fine-tune, not start, how you will provide.
She is your helpmate, but you are the head of the marriage. We expect that you will take the lead to communicate and take action in this area We’re not asking that you be wealthy or have a multitude of material possessions. No, not at all. What we are asking is that you have an idea of the outward tangible affects you can offer her; things that will not draw her into a life of debt and constant worry about finances. Marriage is hard enough without having to wonder where your next meal is coming from or if the roof over your heads will be there tomorrow.
Love is a great start, but it is not enough.
“A groom who knows he is strong inside faith and character stands tall and proud. He is ready to assume the full responsibilities of marriage with deep, inner assurance that he desires and can provide for his wife” (TN).
It’s important to talk about the roles in marriage and expectations of one another in those roles. Our girl comes from a tradition home where mom cooks, cleans, rears the kids and works part-time. Dad works full time, mows the lawn, and takes out garbage. He is primarily responsible for paying the bills. Your marriage doesn’t have to look traditional. It does have to be something you legitimately see eye-to-eye on and can live the rest of your days resentment free.
We know the two of you talk at length about everything under the sun. You have talked about your strengths and weaknesses as individuals and what those will look like in a family unit. Differences have the ability to bring depth, perspective, and beauty to a marriage so long as you have a plan for how to deal with them and can communicate respectfully.
Tommy Nelson (I’m such a fan) note that conflicts come from one of five sources: 1) a failure to communicate. 2) financial difficulties 3) sexual difficulties 4) problems with the in-laws or 5) disagreements about child-rearing. Take the time now to discuss your expectations in each of these areas and how you will work toward resolving such issues.
We want to assure you that when you are ready to ask our daughter for her hand in marriage and we see your relationship is rooted and established in Christ in addition to being prepared to care for her to the best of your ability, we will proudly give you our blessing. We will not stand in the way to join what God has brought together. We will welcome you into our family, call you son, and rejoice in the celebration of your union. We will not interfere in your marriage. We fully expect our girl to “leave and cleave” and will encourage her to honor you in every sense of the word. We will pray ceaselessly over your marriage.
We believe marriage is a vow made before God to love the person who is standing by your side regardless of what happens (outside of abuse and marital betrayal) and for as long as you both live. God is the “author”of your relationship. He created you for our girl and our girl for you. He is so over-the-moon exhilarated at your union. Without a doubt, marriage is a public celebration of two flawed people coming together, trusting God to be the “completer” of their relationship. A wedding is a sacred moment. Marriage is a sacred lifetime. It deserves honor, respect, attention, and every effort you can make. Start now.
We treasure the gift you are to both our daughter and to our family. It will be an absolute honor to call you son.
The Girl You’re Dating Parents