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This kind of immaturity might be a reason to press pause on a relationship, or at least slow things down, but it should not be an excuse for dads to withdraw altogether.

What if these dads leaned into these young men at this point?

It might be dangerous for your daughter to try and take this on within the context of a romantic relationship, even if she’s spiritually mature. I mean welcome him into your family with some regularity. Model manhood for him — the manhood you want to see in his relationship with your daughter.

But it would be dangerous for you to spend at least a little time investing in him, naming areas of need in his life and development, and then providing some appropriate support to him in his growth (even if his immaturities mean he can’t date your daughter right now). And remember that your home is probably the safest place for them to get to know each other, rather than out and about on their own without loving boundaries and accountability.

It actually makes for a dangerous situation because God means for spiritual headship and leadership to be a more seamless handoff, not this disjointed affair that leaves the young woman spiritually and emotionally uncovered from age fifteen until her wedding day.

We’ve relegated dads to a last-minute interview before engagement when God meant for them to be active, available agents of wisdom and safekeeping. Foolish dads relish the gun-bearing, tough-guy role.

Pithy parables or intimidating mandates or climactic conversation (really) can be helpful, but so much more can be accomplished over time together.

Let your first couple conversations be about him, and not her. Study his relationships with his friends and family.

He might attend, but he had nothing to do with the union. If dad has typically picked, approved, conceded, or disappeared — what if instead dad in him and preparing him to make much of Jesus in dating and marriage? But the faithful father of a girl I wanted to date modeled some things for me I’d never experienced before. I have lots of affection, respect, and appreciation for him, and we’re still friends today.

Anyone who’s tried and failed to get married reads that simplicity with at least a little bit of longing. Wait for the day dad sends her to Minneapolis on a camel? While we can certainly learn about love and marriage from Isaac and Rebekah, I don’t think God intended it to be a manual for getting married in twenty-first-century America.

I do think, though, that we may be facing greater evils in our Christian homes today than handpicking fathers.

These kinds of complexities can make honoring parents, setting expectations, and finding husbands feel hopeless.

As a trend, dads seem to be less and less involved in their daughter’s dating.

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