Boys Among Men

“Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation.” – Hebrews 13:22

God gave us daughters who need to be protected. God made fathers to protect their daughters. And one of the ways we can do this is by getting to know the young men who ask them out.

As of today, I’ve conducted a sit-down interview with my daughters’ dates somewhere between 30 and 40 times. A few of them have been what you might expect: boys nearly fainting in our living room. (These talks have a way of revealing the fact that even wimps can have good taste. Some boys who couldn’t last one round in a character contest at least have the good sense to know a great girl when they see one.)
For the most part, however, these encounters have allowed me to get to know several young men who would make their parents proud. And I’ve come away from every one of these interview experiences feeling like a real man.

Even more important, these interviews have helped spare my daughters from the predatory passions of even well-meaning boys, while also protecting them from their own human natures. As a result, Barbara and I have watched our daughters enter into marriage with their virtue, not just technically intact, but also reserved–heart, soul and body–for the man God had given them to marry.

It is one of the most important investments dads can make in our girls’ lives–challenging their boyfriends to be men, making sure they’re clear on the high value God has placed both on them and our daughters.

These young men who like what they see in our daughters need us to look them in the eyes, man to man, and hold them accountable. When you call them to high standards of personal morality, you not only protect your daughter. You help boys become men.

Purity on the Line

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18 NASB

A dear friend, Pat Orton, who once worked closely with me at FamilyLife, wrote me a letter several years ago to tell me about a line her parents had drawn in the sand for her as a teenager.

The waistline.

Pat’s mom and dad told her that whenever she was out with a young man, the only place he was allowed to touch her was on her back, from her shoulder to her waist. Anywhere else on her body was totally off-limits. And never–never ever–was he to put his hand on her knee. It was a way for her to know–immediately–that if a boy’s hands ever strayed out of bounds, watch out! This was leading to trouble!
Funny what boundaries can do once they are clearly established. Crossing them is still quite possible, of course, but not without knowing you’re breaking trust. And for Pat and her boyfriend-turned-fiancĂ©, this simple, clearly defined expectation remained in force throughout their four-year courtship.

Back only. Shoulder to waistline. Nothing further . . . until their wedding day. As they pulled away from the church on their way to their honeymoon, he tenderly reached over and placed his hand on her knee. “I’ve been waiting four years to do that!” he said with a grin so big it made her smile, too.

Isn’t that just delightful? What purity! What innocence! What a testimony to the joy we help our children preserve for themselves when we draw the right boundaries, enforce the right restrictions and keep an eye out for their obedience.

That’s how to start a marriage. And Mom and Dad, that’s what you’re here to help happen.