You came here today to talk with me about the possibility of getting to know our daughter better, to understand her, to learn if she and you would be able to journey toward marriage. That is a good thing. God told us it is not good for a man (or woman) to be alone because we were designed to be part of a community of relationships. The deepest and most intimate relationship is marriage, then comes the relationship with children and with parents, with siblings and extended family, with other friends, with people at work, and others in the neighborhood and beyond.
Are you ready for marriage? Do you know if you are prepared for the duty, responsibility, effort and commitment of marriage? Are you prepared to lead another person through life with its varied difficulties and circumstances? Are you ready to work every day to provide for and meet the needs of the person you will hold closest to your heart? Are you willing to lay bare yourself and share yourself deeply with a woman who might choose not to marry you? Are you as willing to be rejected as you are to be accepted?
The journey begins by sorting out who you are for yourself. Who are you and what do you stand for? What do you stand against? What are your ideals and will you stick to them? What skills do you have that you will use to supply food, clothes and shelter for the new family unit you want to establish? How will you apply those skills? Will it be for what you want yourself, or for the good of the whole family unit? By what standard will you decide what is good or bad, what is better or worse, what is right or wrong? How will you conduct yourself when nothing appears to go your way — as if your way is automatically right? What do you owe your community, your neighbor, your fellow Christian believer? What do you owe toward God himself?
The second part of sorting is for you to know in a reasonable sense where you are going. Aiming for nothing will get you nowhere. It will certainly not make you a better person, prepare you for life in its variety, or give you satisfaction that you have accomplished something. You see that it is not so simple as boy meets girl, he winks she smiles, he grunts she giggles — hence we are now man and woman and ready for marriage.
Look back at your years of growing. What did you think you would like to become as an early boy, as a child in elementary school, in early teens and after highschool? Where are you now? How did you like to learn, was it visually with a book, or kinesthetically with your hands on tools and stuff, or through auditory and visual means by having others tell you and then show you, or some combination of them all? What skills have you learned and which of them have you specially developed that serve others and are marketable? You will succeed best by pursuing employment or some entrepreneurial venture that aligns with how you learn and fits your work skills. Do you like to work alone or in a group? Then you need to find work that aligns with your general nature and find a wife that fits well with that personality.
It certainly is enjoyable to have fun. We can do work and have fun in and with our work. Fun at the expense of our marriage and family duties is simply irresponsible! Can you, will you control yourself enough to say no to yourself and your desires so that you will carry out your promises of faithfulness and duty to your wife and family?
The third part is to know that you have thought about and have direction for leadership of a family unit. Do you know what your duty is toward your wife and family? What does it mean to be the head of a family? Does it mean you get your way? Does it mean you do not consult your wife or others about what is right or prudent or kind or beneficial? What does it mean to provide for, to protect, to defend, to grow, to develop, to lead, to guide, to bring your family to maturity? Can you care for the sick and comfort the scared, ease their pain and soothe their sorrows? Will you change the diapers, clean up the vomit, scrub the toilet, and pick-up after yourself, straighten up messes, and share the housework and tasks of the home?
Have you considered what a parent is and prepared yourself to be a leader to your children? What must you do and become to have both your wife and children proclaim you as "Father" and not monster? What are your plans for the spiritual guidance of your family? As for you and your household, whom will you serve?
How will you guide the growth and development of your children? What does it mean to be mature and responsible, to love and care for others, to honor parents and grandparents, to respect those in authority, to serve those in need, to have compassion upon another, to treat well and not to mistreat another? How will you take charge of and be responsible for their education, what role do others have in helping you in your children's education and development? How much work and training in skills should you give them? How do you measure out what is fair, to balance the needs of one with the different needs of another? Who leads them to know how to solve conflicts, to apologize for doing wrong, to restore the damages by restitution, to forgive another, to simply dismiss faults, to harbor no grudge, to be merciful even as you want mercy for yourself?
How will you settle financial problems, manage the necessary record-keeping of the home, pay your bills, and honor promises to pay? Will you buy now and pay later with interest or save now and buy when you have the resources? How will you work out differences in goals and choices? How much do you spend today and how much is saved for tomorrow? Do you know the proper way to use various financial instruments and tools and when?
Are you ready to be a real man or is it simply that you want a wife to let you have your way, do the work for you and pay the bills, too? Do you want your wife, the mother of your children to be at home guiding and blessing and serving their needs? Do you want her training your children by setting an example through work in the home, the preparation of daily meals, shopping for clothes and household needs, showing them how to help, teaching and developing their skills, and assisting in their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical growth and development before God and men? Do you want her to teach them love for others by kind words, gifts and deeds to neighbors, church family, and others in their need?
And by the way, why is our daughter more suited to join you in marriage and in your family unit than another? Why will she be a better lifetime partner in marriage and a better mother than another? How will she help you? Will you be a better man with her or with another? Will you help her to be a better person and mother, a better Christian sister, a better disciple of Jesus Christ? Will you be to her what you want her to be to you — a faithful friend, an intimate lover, a Christian encourager, someone noble and true?