‘Rules For Dating My Daughter’ Are Counter-Productive
A few months ago one of those ‘You are not going to date my daughter’ lists circulated. I showed the list to my 17-year-old son and asked what he thought. His response was interesting, and I was proud of the amount of maturity it showed. Mother-pride aside, here was his assessment- He said that he would have no problem obeying any of the rules, or even doing a Bible study with the father, and that, while he believed that the authority to monitor his computer/ phone etc belonged to his parents and not his date’s father, he had no problem showing his date’s father his electronics. But, he still would not date this man’s daughter.
Why? Because this list showed that the father was overly controlling. My son wants to eventually be a ‘man’ in his own home. He does not want to deal with an overly controlling father-in-law for the rest of his life. This list is an indication that ‘dad’ will not remain neutral when he feels that his son-in-law is doing it all wrong. For this reason, my son would decline to date this girl rather than risk a future where his father-in-law feels he is still the ‘man’ in his daughter’s home.
We have seen problems like this. These fathers do not mean to interfere, but they see the world as black and white. There is only one way to run a Christian marriage- their way. So when their daughter and her husband choose a different way, they need to ‘intervene’ and ‘disciple’ him. They don’t mean to be ‘controlling,’ but they do mean to make sure everything is done ‘Biblically,’ and ‘right.’ Good, strong men are going to see this coming, and run. In reality, the father’s interference is not driving away the ‘bad’ boys (They will lie to your face and pretend with ease.) but the ‘best’ boys, who actually want to stand up, and be a strong, godly man that your daughter would be proud to have in her life.
The solution: Train your daughter right so that she would never think to drag home someone who would do her wrong. Then, actually get to know the boys in your area, so that when she brings one home and wants to go somewhere with him, you will already know whether, or not you can trust him. Being involved in your daughter’s life will do more to protect her than any list of ‘rules’ ever will.