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Douglas Wilson on Courtship Questions

March 30, 2007

Justin posted this list of questions by Douglas Wilson for father’s to interrogate ask their daughter’s potential boyfriends suitors. I really liked number twelve about the guy’s GPA in college (!). Read them and consider whether or not they are questions you would ask. Why or why not?

1. Tell me about your spiritual background. What was your church upbringing like? At what point did your spiritual experience become real to you? Have you ever had a period of spiritual rebellion?

2. When was the last time you read through the entire Bible? The New Testament?

3. Do you attend worship every Lord’s Day?

4. Describe your parents’ marriage for me. What are the most valuable lessons you have you learned from your parents? [In cases of divorce, or other severe marriage problems] What did you learn from these problems? Have you learned what not to do? [In cases where dad wronged mom] What did you do to support and encourage your mother?

5. What is your relationship like with your dad? With your mom?

6. If I were given a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of a typical conversation that you might have with your mom, would you agree that this will likely be the way you will be treating my daughter ten years from now? Why or why not?

7. How many brothers and sisters do you have? How do you get along them?

8. What kind of worker are you?

9. How many jobs have you had in your life, and what did your bosses think of you? Were those bosses sorry to see you go, or glad to see you go?

10. What do you believe God has called you to do vocationally? Ten years from now, what you believe you will be doing?

11. What steps have you taken to reach that goal?

12. What was your GPA in college? How come?

13. How much money did you make last year? Do you pay your bills on time? How much debt have you accumulated?

14. Please describe the nature of your debts (student loans, car, house, credit cards, or expensive porn sites).

14. Speaking of porn sites, do you have a problem with pornography?

15. If you do, please describe the nature and extent of the problem. [It is important here for fathers to distinguish between the kind of periodic struggles that a normal young man is likely to have had, and the kind of obsessive behavior that indicates much deeper problems, such as contempt for women or an addictive lack of self control. Marriage is likely to fix the first kind of "normal" problem, and will only exacerbate the second kind of pathological problem.]

16. Is there anything in your sexual history that I need to know about? Failed marriage? Live-in girl friend two years before you became a Christian? Live-in girl friend six months after you became a Christian? Got three girls pregnant in high school?

17. Have you ever participated, whether experimentally or otherwise, in any sexual perversions? Homosexuality? Molestation of children? Bestiality?

18. Have you ever been in any kind of trouble with the law?

19. If I were to drop in to visit you at your apartment this afternoon, what would I find? A together sort of place? A clean place? The abomination of desolation?

20. Describe my daughter to me. What do you think she is like?

21. What about her do you find most attractive? You obviously believe that she would be a blessing to you. Why do you think you would be a blessing to her?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. sam permalink
    April 9, 2007 5:07 pm

    and they say that your GPA doesn’t matter after college…!

  2. les permalink
    April 10, 2007 9:24 am

    Praise God for forgiveness and redemption. If my answers to these questions were what defined my character and my ability to love and serve my wife, I certainly would not have my wife. My individual credentials and family history represent the putrid filth that society guards his daughters against. But Christ crucified made me new.

    I too dread the days when my now 6 month old daughter will be enticed by some pimple face, hormonal male but hope I remember the story of Christ in Les’ life.

  3. April 10, 2007 10:09 am

    wow. wilson does come on pretty hard, doesn’t he? les (hurley)?

  4. Vance Owen permalink
    April 5, 2008 4:04 pm

    Dear Sir/Madam
    I have a question. How do you handle a
    suitor that has rejected a fathers decision
    not to marry his daughter.
    1. I have met with the young man, and had
    the interview. We had agreed, shook hands
    that he not call on my daughter. This was 5 yrs ago when she was 17yr, he was 22 yr. He has
    broken that agreement, when I confronted
    him why he has done this his reply was
    that God told him it was ok.
    2. He has gone directly to my daughter to propose. The 2nd time she accepted about on emonth ago.
    3. Has told our son, my wife and myself
    he does not care what anyone thinks or
    says, he’s going to marry our daughter.
    4. Thsi young man has told our other married daughter when
    he found out she had hyphenated her name
    our family name was the first thing
    that was going to go when they get married.
    5. Has not sought higher education after high school. Nor a trade. And has not had
    any consistant full time work in the last
    5 years that he’s been trying to get my
    daughter to marry him.
    6. I realize our daughter is also at fault.
    She was home schooled, active with family and church, oldest of 5 children. she’s now 22yrs. Father and mother has always been close and still are. But she believes this
    is the man God has for her. This man has
    convinced her that all he wants to do is give God glory. She feels God will provide for them. She is a jr in College.
    7. My only regret is that I did not go with my first impression of him and told him some harsh words and kicked him out of our lives when I had the chance. But all the resources
    I have read emphasized “gentleness”. When can a father say NO, to a suitor, to get rid of him. I believe my gentleness is what has
    kept him trying. He has claimed to be a
    Christian.
    This situation had touched many churches
    and people, Everyone has as opinion, we
    believe in the simplisity of God’s Word. “Children honor your father and mother. Children obey your parents in everything”…

    Our daughter was counseled from a pastor to move out of our home so she would longer be
    under our roof, thus no longer under our authority. The that the Children honor and obey “thing” was a cultural thing in the past, no longer applicable today??!?
    Another pastor who met with our daughter and
    the young man, came back to tell us that they are sooo… in love, there’s nothing we can do , so just accept it , have grace the
    open our door to the young man.

    I think a lot of fathers and husbands are
    whimps and are afraid to stand up for God’s
    commandments.

    I will look forward to your answer and prayers, we are constantly calling for the
    power and presense of the Holy Spirit.

    Sincerely yours,

    Vance Owen
    (a father who loves my daughter, spent much time with her growing up, but let my guard down )

    • Katrina permalink
      May 23, 2010 4:35 pm

      Pray! Pray hard. I was in your daughter’s shoes about 15 years ago, very rebellious, and listened to no one. I am now a single mother of 3 putting my life back together. I would try talking to your daughter for you if you’d like, but if she’s like me, it won’t matter.

  5. Sarah Barker permalink
    September 12, 2009 9:01 am

    Dear Sir:
    May God bless you. I wasn’t there, but from what you say, you seemed to have done this in Gods way. I am so thankful that there are fathers that still love their daughters enough to tell their suitors no. My father said yes to a suitor when I was 18, and we ended up in a break up (after the wedding was being planned) that broke my heart. I am not yet 20, but I have learned to trust your instinct. I knew not to marry him, but my father saw that I “loved” him, so he consented. A father needs to see past the secular wants of his childrens flesh, and be rational. You did just that.
    But only in the Lord can you find peace. I am so proud of you for sticking to your guns. You said no, and they didn’t listen. You must be patient in the Lords work, and trust that this will be handled unto his will. Worrying will not add a cubit to your stature, so try not to. Give it to God, and in the meanwhile, I will continue to pray for you.

    God Bless,

    Sarah Barker

  6. Steve Williamson permalink
    July 14, 2010 2:22 pm

    To be honest, I do not like these questions. Allow me to explain:

    I find them somewhat shallow and confrontational. What I mean is they would force a guy to put his best foot forward without acknowledging his heart condition or propensity towards sin – which is the real elephant in the room you need to worry about. It would impress me much more if a guy said ‘I am a wretched sinner and I have to struggle with sin every day, and cling to Christ for counsel and comfort and conviction’ than it would for him to answer every one of those questions to me the ‘right way’.

    Speaking of ‘the right way’ did you notice how there is a right and wrong answer to each one of those questions? That hints at the problem…it oversimplifies life to a set of check boxes that you either perform well or you fail. It simplifies life to right / wrong. Moral / Immoral. good / wrong. Its not really that helpful to view Christian spirituality with “yes or no” “checkboxes”.

    While I appreciate the idea of making a young suitor tremble, I can’t help but think the final judgment of ‘approved / rejected’ would be made based on the guys’ external shell, which albeit can be very revealing. BUT how much more important it is for fathers to peer gently, lovingly, into a guys heart and see whats really going on, rather than to hear the right or wrong answers.

    A Bible-believing, Christ-loving father-of-a-precious-daughter’s two cents.

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