What to Do When He Asks to Marry Your Daughter

SHE’S THE APPLE of YOUR EYE

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You've loved her and protected her and hopefully taught her how to be self sufficient. 
You say you don't have a double standard and you believe it with all your heart. Then one day a nice young man that she's been dating approaches you and asks for your daughter's 
hand in marriage.

WHAT???

"You want to marry my little girl? ...that happy-go-lucky sweetheart who was wearing pigtails only a few short years ago?"

How do you answer this nervous young fellow? Is it really as easy as giving him a slap on the back, or a hug, and saying, "Sure! Great! That's Wonderful! I give you my blessing?"

NOTHING WORTH DOING IS EVER EASY

I can assure you that it is not that easy. Today's world comes with a different blueprint from the one our parents came from and probably from the one that we emerged from. Values have changed. Work ethics have changed. The things we took for granted only a short time ago can't be taken for granted anymore. Relationships look different and are different. 
But, no matter how different things are, some things never change. Some responsibilities fall to one side or the other, more heavily, than they would if they rested perfectly in the middle.

We've all seen that hilarious movie or read that book where the dad corners his 
daughter's nervous boyfriend and asks, "What are your intentions, young man?" 

BUT DO DADS DO THIS SORT OF THING IN REAL LIFE?

NOT AS OFTEN AS THEY SHOULD!

Why not? The answers vary. Probably because Sweet Daughter pleads with him to be nice to her significant other. Probably because the talk of marriage is just that, only talk, at this time in their lives. Probably because Dad is busy working, providing for the family, paying the college bills or looking for a little down time when he's off. Maybe because 
Sweet Daughter pleads that asking a young man that sort of question is "old fashioned." Perhaps somewhere along the way Sweet Daughter grew up more quickly than Dad noticed and, before he knew it he had a grown young woman before his eyes, and he didn't know how to 
speak to her as frankly as he did when she was his little girl. The list goes on and 
on...

But Dads, and Moms, take note. These are talks you can, and should, in fact, these are 
talks you MUST have, with not only your prospective son-in-law, but long before that, 
with your daughter. And you should not stop until you are sure your blessing is 
warranted.

How do you have these talks? What do you say?

The great comedian, Steve Harvey has some cut-to-the-chase advice for young women. He has strong advice, with regard to the young man she's dating. Mr. Harvey compares 
relationships to sincerity or "sport fishing." He's humorous but downright correct. 
Here's what he has to say:
  • "If his conversation with you is extremely superficial, and never seems to graduate
    beyond the surface, he's sport fishing. ~"
  • "If he genuinely seems interested in your needs, life, desires, and future, he's
    looking for a keeper. ~"
  • "If he does not have himself together financially, emotionally, and spiritually, he
    may be sport fishing. ~"
  • "If he is capable of providing, and protecting his potential family, the way a real
    man should, then he might be searching for a keeper. ~"

**Excerpts From: Steve Harvey with Denene Millner. “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/4xQFv.l

LOVE IS BLIND

Love and infatuation can produce blurred lines. Young people, in love, don't always stop to read the fine print in a relationship. They are too infatuated with love to read 
between the lines. They might be afraid to ask the hard questions for fear of getting the real answers. But, in the absence of asking the tough questions, unhappiness lies in 
pursuit.

MARRIAGE IS HARD WORK

Young people don't often view marriage as a job, that two people must work at, to keep 
the flame alive. They think the spark will always be there. But, life happens. People 
grow and change. Some people never grow or change. Children come. Jobs change. Needs 
change. Weariness happens. Bills keep coming. Marriage is hard. Families require time, 
energy, wisdom, money, fortitude...

MEN AND WOMEN LOOK AT LOVE FROM OPPOSITE POLES

Young men and young women view the same thing through a different lens, yet they don't 
always devote the time needed for answer seeking. In order to make his point, my biology Professor from undergraduate work, Dr. Silverstein, often remarked that, "Testosterone 
Rules!" And here's what comedian Steve Harvey has to say about the subject:

“Here’s a generalization but in my experience, it’s true. Women love to sit and talk for no apparent reason but to talk, but we men, we’re just not cut out to chitchat for the 
sake of chitchat—we don’t have time for it. ”

Excerpt From: Steve Harvey with Denene Millner. “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/4xQFv.l

It often seems as if some young people want to get to the nitty gritty without really 
being invested for the long haul.

“We men are very simple people: if we like what we see, we’re coming over there. If we 
don’t want anything from you, we’re not coming over there. Period!

Excerpt From: Steve Harvey with Denene Millner. “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/4xQFv.l

It might not describe every man but it sure describes many men, and falling in love might not be the initial motivator.

MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS BUT FINANCIAL IRRESPONSIBILITY IS A DEAL BREAKER

If a young couple can't demonstrate their mutual financial responsibility and maturity, 
they are not ready for marriage. Money problems have been the destruction of many a young couple's marriage. It just doesn't make sense to jump in until they have their financial heads on straight. Beware of telltale signs that indicate all is not well in money land. If you are planning to provide a wedding for your child, it might be prudent to let them carry the ball and gift them after they've proven they can in fact do so without that 
help.

BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED AND WANT

Daughters: Men need to know that you need and want their time and their respect. They need to know that you want to be taken care of by them. Don't say you don't want that when a few years and a few children down the road you will need and want exactly that!

SHE WILL BE FIERCELY DEFENSIVE

Parents: Ask a prospective son-in-law what he has, how much he has saved. Ask to see those records. 

Can he purchase a house? Can he provide adequate, respectable living 
arrangements, if not a house?

Can he provide an engagement ring? a wedding?

You will surely meet up with an angry, defensive daughter who thinks you're all about breaking up her romance by asking very personal questions that sound like they are motivated by money.

ASK THOSE HARD QUESTIONS ANYWAY

  • Will he be able to pay the bills and care for the family without her income when babies come along?
  • If not, what are their plans for a family?
  • And who will take care of the children? 
  • The who will care for the babies question is a big one.
  • If they both need to work, the birth of a child/children could impact “your” life for a long time.
  • If they say they’ll seek adequate childcare, can they really afford it? Where is the proof?

ARE THESE TWO YOUNG ADULTS REALLY ADULT?

It's amazing how old young people can get without ever really becoming adults. Are these kids autonomous? Or are they tied to Mother and Dad's apron strings? Do Mom and Dad   
constantly interfere in the young adult's life, perhaps to make them more responsible? 
Does either set of parents have a hold on their child? If the answer is "yes," then 
BEWARE! This just might not be the right time or the right person for marriage.

On the other hand, if these two young adults are blissfully happy, autonomous, 
adventurous, mutually respectful, financially responsible, and truly independent, it 
makes sense that they would be able to navigate the difficult waters of married life no 
matter what obstacles they might face. You, parents, might just want to give this couple your blessing.

LOVE AND LUST CAN FEEL THE SAME BUT THEY ARE DIFFERENT

What advice would you give to parents who face the question of: "May I have your daughter's hand in marriage?" Please share your thoughts here.

 

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