I wrote yesterday about an interview I've conducted numerous times with young men who have wanted to date our daughters. Lots of parents have asked me to share some of the things I cover when I meet with these young men. Here's a "high fly by" list:While I encourage readers to read what Empath had to say about this list over at his site, I will add a couple of my thoughts here. First, I must say that I respect Mr. Rainey deeply for all that he and FamilyLife have done to strengthen the institution of marriage. Few have been out there like he and his wife have been, attempting to make the lives of marrieds and pre-marrieds more full, more satisfying, and more Godly. That is not to say I do not have my quibbles with the advice that Mr. Rainey and FamilyLife dispenses, mostly stemming from the experiential difference between Boomers and subsequent generations. The world has changed on old-school patriarchal Boomer men--and one of those ways in which it has changed is that it's not just men who knock around their spouses anymore--male-on-female IPV was a huge theme at a 2008 Weekend to Remember conference Mrs. Wapiti and I attended--but women do as well, committing spouse abuse at rates closely mirroring, and in some cases, exceeding that of men (links here and here and here, for starters).
1. A woman is God's creation, a beautiful creation, a fine creation. You've certainly noticed that my daughter is pretty, is attractive and has a cute figure, haven't you?One of the greatest privileges God has given me is to stand alongside our four daughters and honorably and gently attempt to protect their innocence. Meeting with these young men has been one of the highlights of being a dad.
2. The attraction of a young man to a young lady is both normal and good. I'm glad you like her and want to be with her.
3. I understand and remember what the sex drive of a young man is like. Believe me, I've been there, I know what you're dealing with.
4. I'm going to hold you accountable for your relationship with my daughter. Expect me to be asking to see if you're dealing uprightly with her.
5. I'm challenging you to purity. I want you to guard her innocence, not just her virginity.
6. I want you to respect and uphold the dignity of my daughter by keeping your hands off of her. Keeping this one precaution in mind will help keep you from getting into further trouble.
7. Do you understand all of what I've just said to you? Are we clear on what I'm expecting and what you can expect from me?
8. When you're a dad someday, I hope you will challenge your own children to abide by these standards and will interview your daughter's dates. My prayer is that you will never forget this conversation.
Likewise, the world has changed significantly since the 1970s--for that matter, since the 1990s when I matriculated--and both eras, the male was generally the initiator of the relationship. "Good" girls never called boys; it was the other way around. "Good" girls never picked up on boys; passivity was their gender role and sexual assertiveness was the hallmark of the slut. Female sexuality was restrained then in ways that it is not today. Young women now think nothing of asking young men out, of coming on to them, perhaps even initiating sexual activity ranging from heavy petting to partner masturbation to oral and/or anal sex (don't worry, she may still consider herself a "virgin" because she hasn't had penis-in-vagina intercourse yet). Thus I'm wondering if the Raineys, specifically Mrs. Rainey, the mother of two sons herself, has ever counseled administering the following interview to today's liberated young women interested in dating hers or others' sons. Probably not, but the present zeitgeist certainly calls for it:
1. A man is God’s creation, a handsome creation, a fine creation. Made first in his image. You’ve certainly noticed that my son is handsome, strong, mature, ambitious, and has many leadership qualities that make him very attractive, haven’t you?Pretty heavy stuff to lay on a girl who just wants to hang out with your son. But a necessary one, I think, given that the old-school technique of dads "laying down the law" on young men who want to date their daughters addresses at most half of the issue these days.
2. The attraction of a young lady to a young gentleman is both normal and good. I’m glad you like him and want to be with him.
3. I understand and remember what the drive to obtain a long-term relationship, maybe even a commitment, from a young man such as my son felt like. Believe me, I’ve been there, I know what you’re dealing with.
4. I’m going to hold you accountable for your relationship with my son. Expect me to be asking to see if you’re in proper submission to his leadership and being a supportive helpmeet to him.
5. I’m challenging you to purity. I want you to guard his innocence, not just his virginity.
6. I want you uphold the dignity of my son by wearing modest clothing when you're around him and keeping your hands and other body parts off of him. Keeping these two precautions in mind will help keep you from getting into further trouble. While we're at it, I want you to show respect to my son by paying your own way on dates, and not prematurely enjoying the benefits of the lifelong commitment that you haven't yet made.
7. Do you understand all of what I’ve just said to you? Are we clear on what I’m expecting and what you can expect from me?
8. When you’re a mom someday, I hope you will challenge your own children to abide by these standards and will interview your future son’s dates. My prayer is that you will never forget this conversation.