Love, Dating and Marriage
By Joe Keim
August 28, 2013
The goal of every parent is to see their children grow up, marry a godly spouse, and live for God all the days of their lives. As parents, we are well aware that we have one shot at getting it right. Just one shot! If we fail and the child follows a bad way, it is impossible to turn the clock back and re-do it. For that very reason, I have felt burdened to share the following testimony of our family and a few things I have learned along the way. Because of the nature of this article, I will mostly focus on our daughter, Rachel.
From the day Rachel was born, Esther and I knew that one day a young man would come along, fall in love with our daughter, and ask to marry her. However, we didn't realize that 22 years would go by so quickly. Honestly, if you have walked in my shoes, you know what I'm talking about. It seems like one day you're rolling around on the floor and chasing monsters from under her bed, and suddenly you hear those dreadful and scary words: "Dad, I want you to meet David. He asked if he could take me on a date, and I informed him that unless my dad approves, it isn't happening." As a father I began to strut like a peacock, feeling good inside and out, because Rachel asked me to meet David before their first date.
Finally David and I met. We shook hands and sat down. I said, "David, I have no idea who you are and what your family life was like growing up. For that reason, I'm going to ask you some personal questions, and I would like for you to answer them honestly and to the point." At this point in the game, I was not going to let just any young man walk into our family and snatch our daughter away, and I wanted David to know that.
The first thing I did was show David a hand drawn picture of a faceless man. Then I said, "David, for the past 20 years, Esther and I have prayed earnestly that God would one day show us whose face belonged to this young man." I proceeded to let him know that, throughout the years, our prayer to God was that the faceless man in the picture was being raised in a home where Christian values were both taught and followed. Secondly, we prayed that one whom God was raising up for Rachel would lead well in the home and make the Lord his highest priority in life and family. Lastly, we prayed that Rachel and her man would stay sexually pure until the day they married.
Next, I proceeded with the following ten questions:
- Why are you attracted to Rachel?
- Describe for me what you think dating is about.
- How would you describe a good husband/leader in the home?
- Tell me about the day you recognized your need for a Savior and called out to God for salvation.
- How is your walk with the Lord (past and present)?
- What areas of serving the Lord have you been involved in?
- What are three things written in the Bible that you feel very strongly about?
- Whom do you look up to? Who has been your mentor?
- What is your relationship like with your family?
- Where do you want to be one year from now? Five years? Ten years?
Our meeting ended on a positive note, and Rachel and David began to date. Over the next year and a half, David and Rachel read through seven love, dating, and marriage books. During that time, it became more and more obvious that David's face belonged to the faceless drawing in the picture frame. And then it happened! The moment Esther and I were waiting for. David let us know that he would like to meet and talk with us. We knew exactly what it was about; he was going to ask if he could marry Rachel.
Esther and I were already a step ahead of the game. I had prepared several pages of personal thoughts and questions I had written down for the moment when David would ask for our daughter's hand in marriage.
Note, I would like to make a strong point to every person reading this testimony: I believe with all my heart that when we make a big deal of love, dating, and marriage, so will our sons and daughters. If we don't, they won't either. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Those who have children that turned out well know how much time it took. It takes much prayer and spending time together as a family, but in the end it is well worth the effort. You see, you are not only raising one generation, but you are also impacting generations to come. If you do it right, your children will do it right. And if your children will do it right, so will their children. Yes, it is well worth the extra effort.
We barely sat down before David eagerly and hesitantly popped the question, "Can I marry your daughter?" I responded, "David, your question does not come as a surprise. Esther and I have something we would like to read with you before we say yes." At that point, I handed each person a copy of the things I had written out for this moment.
David, as we have explained before, our family has prayed thousands of times over many years that God would send Rachel a godly man; one who would protect her as well as lead her in the Lord's way. We do not want to sound controlling, nor do we want to hang onto Rachel for the rest of her life. The Bible clearly states in Matthew:
And he [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He [God] which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? - Matthew 19:4-5
Since the beginning of time, God meant for children to leave their parents and cleave only to their spouse. As parents, we are grateful and feel very blessed that God allowed us to pour our hearts and lives into Rachel. Our goal from the beginning was to prepare her for the man that God would someday send her way. We may not always have measured up, but one thing is sure: we gave it our very best.
In our home we have a prayer couch. Year after year, we sat down on the couch with Rachel every morning and asked God to protect her, fill her with His Spirit, give her wisdom, and lead her in the right direction. It was also during those prayer times that we asked God to provide a born-again, godly husband for her; one who was raised in a home where God and family were first and most important.
Please understand as well; twenty-two years ago, when Rachel was just a baby, we brought her before the church and made a commitment to God and His people that we would do our very best to raise her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When she turned ten, we sat down with her and read through a series of four books that explained how the Lord had made her body in fear and wonder.
It was also during those times that we shared what she should expect as she grew older: she would marry, enjoy God's gift of sex, and have her own children. Later, at the age of 16, we invited eight godly men and women to come to our house to pray over Rachel. That same day, Rachel made a vow to stay sexually pure until marriage and follow the Lord all the days of her life.
David, now that you and Rachel found each other and have been dating for just over a year, Esther and I have also added you to our daily prayer list. About every morning for the past year-and-a-half, we have sat down together on the couch and prayed for the two of you.
It's been exciting to watch as God gave you and Rachel a desire to read book after book on healthy, godly marriages and families. You get ten stars for doing a GREAT job and leading the way. We are impressed by your knowledge of the scriptures and the stand you have taken to stay sexually pure until married. Truly, the Lord has answered our prayers and done a great work!
Our family loves you and your family. We consider all of you as dear friends and co-laborers in the Lord. We love the way you all have made God and family most important in your lives. Truly, we share many of the same values and beliefs; only God could have made such a connection.
Having said all that, let us conclude by saying thank you for coming and talking to us about your future dreams with our daughter. It is at this point that we would like to ask you some questions before we round the next bend in the road. Please answer them honestly.
Questions and Commitments
- Why have you chosen our daughter as the partner you wish to marry and spend the rest of your life with?
- What do you expect being married to Rachel is going to be like?
- Have you considered where you will live after you get married?
- What have you learned from your dad about being a husband and a father?
- What do you consider your role as a husband and parent should be?
- What are your goals for the near and distant future?
- Can you assure us that you are you going to take care of our daughter financially? Will you work hard, provide for her and your family, and never use money as a weapon?
- She doesn't have to live in a castle, but she should have a safe and comfortable home, clothing, and food.
- Can you see yourself being happy and content with our daughter even if life deals you a blow and you both end up being poor?
Will you take care of her emotionally?
Two things will destroy your marriage: self-centeredness and bitterness. Guard against these. Inside our daughter's heart is a round hole we call "emotional need." Inside of your heart is a square peg that is somehow going to have to "fit" with her. Are you willing to knock off the edges of that square peg in order to fulfill her emotional requirements?
She doesn't think or react like you do. You may see something and laugh; she may see it and cry. You may say something that you thought was the sweetest thing in the world, but it may make her very upset. God designed you to be the one who can meet her needs; are you willing to go out of your way to guard against self-centeredness and bitterness and take care of Rachel's emotional needs?
Will you take care of her physically?
As a father, it has been my job to protect my "princess." As her husband, it will be your job is to protect your "queen." If someone were to threaten her, will you step in front of her? By protecting her physically, I also mean intimately. Consider that she is the weaker vessel, as described in the Bible.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. - 1 Peter 3:7
Will you take care of her spiritually?
Do you know that 33 times in the Bible, men are told to love their wives? But it tells wives to love their husbands only twice. You are asking for our daughter's hand. I know what a woman of God she is right now. When I place her hand in yours in marriage, I am no longer responsible for her spiritual health and training. One day, after living together for many, many years-you are going to present her hand to God. Will she be a godlier woman at that point than the day we gave her to you?
Esther and I strongly believe that you must be the spiritual leader of your family and future children (our grandchildren) according to God's design. Will you take responsibility to read the scriptures to Rachel and your children? Pray over them? Take them to church on a regular basis?
Will you, as the leader in your home, put forth your best efforts to pray regularly for the salvation and marriage partners of your children?
If you can take care of our daughter financially, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually as outlined in this letter, then you have our blessing. If you can't, we need to know now.
After every question was answered and we spent time in prayer, Esther and I both said, "Yes" to David.
From there, things moved right along. On May 18, 2013, Esther and I willingly and wholeheartedly gave our precious little bundle of joy over to God's appointed man in marriage.
May I encourage you, dear reader, to follow a similar pattern with your own children, regardless of their age? If your children are already grown, don't forget: you can still make a difference in the lives of your grandchildren.
Note: To read a similar article, called Teaching and Equipping Our Children (written by Joe Keim), click here
- Joe Keim
« Back to Articles