By Jon Pratt —
I am one of those old-fashioned types who expects to be asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I do not want a letter or a phone call and certainly not a text message or an email. No, I desire a face-to-face, man-to-man conversation. After all, Elaine and I have poured many years of our lives into the training and preparation of our daughters. Next to my salvation and my wife, I consider my daughters (and son) to be God’s greatest gifts to me, and I have no intention of sending one of these gifts off to an unprepared, immature, or undeserving suitor.
So here are eight questions to ask the man who wants to marry my daughter:
Do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? This query goes way beyond the very minimalist inquiry, “Are you a Christian?” I want to know if this young man is running as hard as he can after God. Is he pursuing a personal relationship with God that is alive and growing? When his friends and family talk about him do they mention the fact that he walks passionately with God?
Is the local church a priority? I want to see a young man who is not only a regular attender of the services at his local church, but who is also an active participant in that church’s ministry. He should be serving wherever he can, using the gifts and abilities that God has given him.
Do you know what love is? Since the two main requirements of husbands are that they love and lead their wives (Eph 5:22–33), I hope to see evidence of both of these qualities. I expect to observe evidence of self-sacrificial love and commitment demonstrated toward my daughter, the kind of love described by Paul (1 Cor 13:4–7; Eph 5:25–29) and manifested by Christ (1 Jn 3:16; 4:10).
Do you know how to lead? The type of leadership necessary in marriage is demonstrated by the ability to initiate, to plan ahead, and to sacrificially serve. It is manifested by the fact that he has taken the lead in pursuing my daughter rather than vice versa. Does he know where he wants to go in life and does he have a plan for how he will get there? Does he see beyond his own agenda in order to lead my daughter in nurturing her abilities and growth? Is he prepared to provide for both the physical and spiritual needs of his wife and family?
Do you demonstrate Godly character? There are several significant traits that I want to see. I’m looking for honesty and integrity, diligence in work, respect for authority, kindness and consideration toward others, perseverance in hardship, patience, self-control, and generosity.
Are you in a position to financially support my daughter? It may be possible that the man is still in school and training for a particular occupation. This is fine as long as he has a clear goal in mind and can demonstrate a plan for providing for his family. Does if he have any unnecessary debt? Does he have a proposed budget plan that he and my daughter will be following? Does he have a biblical view of material possessions, avoiding debt and giving generously to the Lord’s work?
Can you identify my daughter’s weaknesses and sin struggles? I want to know if the man really knows my daughter. Has he been able to see past the beauty of her face and has he taken any glimpses into the state of her heart? If he is supposed to nourish and cherish her, does he have any idea what tires her out or what creates emotional pain in her life? Has he had any frank discussions with her about her sin struggles and has he been able to offer her accountability and help as she seeks to overcome them?
Are you ready to be a parent? I hope to hear what my future son-in-law and daughter are planning as they look to the future in regard to children. God could bless with children much sooner than expected. Has the man prepared himself to be a father, and has he given any consideration to what his parenting goals will be?
Next to her salvation, the most important decision my daughter will be making has to do with her choice of a husband. And I expect the man she marries to be able to answer each of these eight questions affirmatively. While I am not looking for a perfect man, I am looking for a godly man so that he can provide the love and leadership for my daughter that God expects and that she needs.