Since I do not have any daughters (yet) I do not have this responsibility to contend with. And yet I’m told that it’s one of the hardest things a father has to do.
If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins. – Exodus 22:17
Now, I’m not talking about the fact that I may have to owe a dowry, since we are not working under a biblical betrothal arrangement. What I am sensing here is a responsibility that father’s have to verify that the man is the one God has for our child. Although it is important to make sure our sons have the right girl, it is of particular importance in the case of our daughters because we are transferring our leadership of a woman to another man– a man that she should be submissive to, that she should trust for leadership.
If we are to encourage our children to live godly lives, we with experience and knowledge must use judgement and prayer to make sure that we give good advice to our daughters all along the way. If we are training them to love and respect their spouse from when they are a child, we must find a man that is worthy of that level of respect and love.
Too often, I believe, parents are not as involved in the emotional couplings of their children as they should be, and that results in pairings and attachments to strengthen to the point that the child has to choose between us and him. We need to be looking ahead as the first seeds of interest are expressed so that we can be informative about what we see, and helping her to know whether a given guy is the right man for her.
I’m sure that if/when I get a daughter I’ll be tempted to go to a courtship style pairing instead of allowing dating in my house! But whatever the method, we need to be active earlier in the relationships instead of waiting until it is too late.
The act of the father of the bride giving the woman’s hand in marriage is more than a symbol– it’s something that God has ordained as the father’s responsibility– something that He will hold us accountable for!