A father in my congregation has asked me what sort of questions a father should be asking a young man who wants to court his daughter. It is one thing to affirm that fathers should be active in protecting their daughters, but it is quite another to figure out what sort of specific questions are appropriate to ask. I compile this list as a father of two young women, now safely married, and as a pastor who frequently gives counsel to young men before they announce their interests and intentions. A list of questions like this ought not to be use in a wooden checklist fashion, but rather as a list of ideas to get started.
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? 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?