I wrote this article 14 years ago. It details my expectations for the man who will marry my daughter. I still mean it.
Over the years, this article has proven to be the most hated article I’ve ever written–not only by pagans, but also by professing Christians. Accusations of misogyny and treating my daughters as property and slaves have come from both the lost and those who claim to be found.
Of course, I’ve also been accused of contributing to the patriarchy. After all, I’m a white male pushing 60.
To that I say, thank you. You bet. Here I stand.
Its Fourth Publication
This article first appeared on “The Lawman Chronicles” blog, on June 5, 2009. The occasion was the graduation of my two eldest daughters from our local community college. Both went on to graduate from universities. Far more important than that, both are now married to godly men. They are moms who have set aside the aspirations of careers to manage their respective homes and raise my grandchildren–now numbering, three.
The article was republished on the “On the Box” blog, on September 15, 2011. It was my youngest daughter’s 17th birthday.
I republished the article a third time on August 5, 2013, with revisions and new content. My second book, Should She Preach–Biblical Evangelism for Women, was about to be published. This coincided with my growing disdain for effeminacy and feminism in the American Church. Godly, manly young Christian men were hard to find then, and are much harder to find, now.
Today marks the fourth publication of this article. This edition is also revised and expanded, most notably to include a section on why I believe dating is practicing for divorce.
So, why now? Why a fourth publication of the article?
Well, my youngest daughter–who turned 17 the day of the second publication–is now 29. I’m confident that God, in His good and perfectly-timed providence will provide her with a husband, maybe sooner than later. Presently, only God knows the timing of that.
In My House, It’s Required Reading
Brian and Donnie (sons-in-love #1 and #2), were both required to read this article and talk to me about it before I allowed them to court my daughters. Both young men printed the article and brought it with them, on the respective days they met with me.
Poor Brian. When he realized my daughter Marissa was the one, I was sitting in a jail cell in Dundee, Scotland. He was finally ready to ask my permission to court Marissa and then he got word that I had been arrested while preaching the gospel. Now, he wondered when (or if) I would come home so he could ask me.
Well, I did come home. And within a day or two Brian and I met at a local Starbucks. I’ll never forget what Brian said when he sat down across the table from me and removed the folded article from his Bible. “Mr. Miano, I believe I meet all of these requirements. I just have a question about one of them.”
Brian would marry Marissa (daughter #2) in 2014. Donnie would marry Michelle (daughter #1) in 2018. I love my two sons-in-love as much as if they were bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. They are my sons. I thank God for them. And I thank God for allowing me to put my daughters’ hands into theirs and give my daughters to them.
If the Lord brings a man into Amanda’s (daughter #3) life, I will not lower my standards for my future son-in-law. I will answer to God, not to the culture, not to American Evangelicalism, for who I allow (yes, allow) to marry Amanda. Therefore, bachelor #3 will read this article, and we will talk about it, before he’s allowed to court Amanda.
We Don’t Practice for Divorce in My House
Since our daughters were very young, Mahria and I have instilled in them a family commitment to courtship. Our girls were never and have never been allowed to “date” before they were or will be married. We see no biblical precedence for “trying people on for size” or being in relationship with a member of the opposite sex because it is pleasurable or “something to do.” Courtship is a family affair. The purpose of courtship is to prepare a young man and a young woman for marriage.
For an example of teaching on the subject of biblical courtship, watch the video series by Paul Washer.
Dating, as the world and much of American Evangelicalism defines it, is nothing more than practicing for divorce. As a godly man and husband, I am not married to my wife with a view of divorce as an option. As a godly father, I will not allow my daughters to practice for divorce.
Dating, as a general rule, does not have an “until death do us part” view of commitment. In fact, in dating, there is no real commitment at all. Why? Well, because there is no biblical obligation to remain in the so-called relationship. And the so-called dating relationship has no biblical precedence whatsoever for its foundation.
Dating is not the bringing together of one man and one woman to become one flesh, for life. Dating is the bringing together of one man and one woman (even that is considered passe by today’s godless standards) to indulge their flesh, for as long as they feel like it. And, the so-called dating relationship can be ended on nothing more than a whim.
- “I’m bored.”
- “I want to date other people.”
- “You made me mad.”
- “I saw you looking at him/her.”
- “I’m not getting what I want” (usually sexual).
- “I want to focus on my career.”
- “I’m leaving for school.”
Fill in the blank with whatever you want.
Many people take this kind of superficial, self-centered, narcissistic, ungodly way of thinking from dating right into marriage. In doing so, they are already prewired for divorce. So-called “vows,” therefore, carry no more weight or authority than a teenage commitment to go to the movies on a Saturday night. “If my buddies want to hangout, I’ll just change my plans. And if she doesn’t like it, I’ll just replace her.”
No, my daughters were not raised to date–to practice for divorce. Our family has practiced what we believe is biblical courtship.
The Man Who Will Marry My Daughter
Many years ago, the subject of courtship came up during one of our evening family devotions. At the time, Michelle (our eldest) had been reading Sarah Mally’s book, which is still in print, Before You Meet Prince Charming. One section of the book offers a family activity in which each person (parents and daughters) makes a list of essential and preferable qualities of a husband. We decided to do the activity and discuss the results.
What follows is my original list from that family devotion–a list of essential qualities for a man who would seek to marry one of my daughters. I’ve updated and expand the list a little bit during the multiple generations of this article.
The list that follows is not exhaustive, although some of you may become exhausted reading it.
With the exception of the first entry on the list, these essential qualities of a prospective husband for one of my daughters are in no particular order.
The man who will marry my daughter must…
…know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
A note to any potential candidate who may read this: if this first essential quality is not true in your life, you need not bother reading the rest of the list. You may be a nice and respectful young man, but you are not the one my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has chosen for my daughter. Turn to Christ and live, not to get my daughter, but so that your sins will be forgiven and so that you will be reconciled to God. Repent and believe the gospel while God has given you time.
…not be an adulterer in any form, including pornography (Matthew 5:27-28).
…open car and building doors for women (not only his wife and daughter(s)) whenever given the opportunity. Chivalry is not dead (1 Peter 3:7).
…understand and accept his biblical role as head of the home and his wife (Ephesians 5:25-32).
…be able to provide, financially, for his wife and family (1 Timothy 5:8)–with the understanding that a man and woman are to remain married in times of plenty and in times of want.
…be able to physically protect his wife and family (Matthew 10:26-29; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10)–with the understanding that a man and woman are to remain married in sickness and in health.**
…must leave his parents and cling to his wife (Ephesians 5:25-33). While a man should honor his parents, he must not allow his parents to come between him and his wife. No “mamma’s boys” need apply.
…be able to teach/lead his family, spiritually. He must be knowledgeable and discerning when it comes to the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
…have a biblical understanding of the Church and is actively participating in a local body of believers–submitting to the authority of the leadership therein (Acts 2:42:47; Hebrews 10:24-25).
…love my daughter more than he loves his own life. He must be a 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and a John 15:13 man.
…aspire to the spiritual qualifications of an elder, even if the Lord does not call him to serve in that capacity. He must be a man of biblical character (1 Timothy 6:11-12).
…understand and practice biblical evangelism, in keeping with his own God-given personality and the context of life where God places him. No, he doesn’t have to be a street evangelist like his future father-in-law. But he must love God enough to obey his commands to reach the lost with the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8).
…be able to look me in the eye and respectfully say, “Dad, I disagree.” He must have a spine (1 Corinthians 16:13).
…not a coward (Revelation 21:8). He must have an enduring and abiding faith in Jesus Christ. The man who marries my daughter must act like a man, live like a man, and if necessary die like a man. My son-in-law won’t quit.
…be a good steward of his finances (Matthew 6:19-24) while being generous with the same (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
…be teachable, respectful when receiving counsel, and able to make decisions after seeking God’s counsel and will through the Scriptures, prayer, and pastoral counsel (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:7, 17).
…exhibit the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-24, while fleeing from the sins found in Galatians 5:19-21.
…choose his recreation and entertainment in light of the holiness of God and his personal pursuit of holiness. He must not be a hypocrite with his eyes and his ears (Matthew 5:29-30; James 4:4).
…not have been a party in an unbiblical divorce. He will not make my daughter an adulteress (Luke 16:18).
…understand and appreciate that if he ever lays a hand on my daughter, only the terrible wrath of Almighty God will be worse than facing me.
…receive my consent to marry my daughter. Otherwise, he is nothing more than a thief.
Now, I understand that no one is perfect. I understand that sanctification is a process and that no man will attain perfection in this life. But any young man who finds this list too much to bear, who is unwilling to try to live up to the personal qualities described in the above list, should examine himself to see if he is even in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). You may have bigger issues than whether or not you will marry my daughter.
Well, there you have it. I hope the above list is both helpful and encouraging to many. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my list.
Frankly, I don’t care.
Michelle, Marissa, and Amanda are my daughters, not yours.
** Years ago I had a conversation with a younger brother in Christ (now a pastor). He is confined to a wheelchair as a result of cerebral palsy. Just in the area of evangelism, he does more from a wheelchair than most Christian men will do standing on two feet.
He asked me if he would be disqualified from marrying one of my daughters because of his infirmity. I was heartbroken–grieved that I would leave such a warrior for Christ with the impression that his disability would disqualify him from marrying my daughter.
I assured him that his physical disability would not disqualify him from marrying my daughter. I explained to him that while he may not be able to physically protect his wife and children to the extent other men can, I knew he would if he could.
There is always someone stronger. The fact that I have full use of my arms and legs doesn’t mean I can defeat every foe that comes my way or every assailant that threatens to do my family harm. When I wrote, “be able to physically protect his wife and family (Matthew 10:26-29; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10)–with the understanding that a man and woman are to remain married in sickness and in health,” I had more in mind the man’s heart than his biceps. Whether a young man can win a fight is not as important to me as his willingness in heart and mind to defend his bride, my daughter.