This is a post I wrote two years ago for Mothers of Daughters, but I realized this week that I've never posted it in its entirety here. Moms (and Dads!), this is an important message for you, especially this week as our daughters are thinking about Valentines Day and all that it means to them. I pray we will raise emotionally healthy girls who love Jesus more than they love the idea of love.
I have three grown daughters. All three are incredibly smart, hilariously funny, and strikingly beautiful. All three are either in or headed toward careers in business and medicine. They are gifted women who love Jesus.
None of them has ever dated seriously.
And that’s O.K.
I want to talk honestly about dating from the perspective of NOT dating because this is the reality for many girls. For some it’s a choice; for others, not so much. But for all of our girls, dating is a subject that is talked about so much, even in Christian circles, that a girl who doesn’t date might begin to feel that there’s something wrong with her.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
So today I want to write to encourage you to think about dating in a slightly different way: your daughter is not failing you, herself, or Jesus if she doesn’t date in high school or even in college.
[Side note: I asked my youngest, who is 18, if it would be O.K. for me to write about this, thinking I would title it “When Your Daughter Doesn’t Date,” but she suggested the title above because, as she said, not dating shouldn’t imply that something is wrong with her. She and her sisters don’t feel a deep need to date right now. They know that when the time is right and the right person comes along, God will make it happen. Thus, the title above.]
Some Myths About Dating
Let’s get something off the table right now: If your daughter does not date right now, Jesus is not, nor will He ever be, your daughter’s boyfriend. To say “Jesus is my boyfriend” diminishes His role as Savior, Redeemer, and King. Jesus as boyfriend brings him down to our level, a place that He has never had nor should ever have. Jesus is so much more than a “boyfriend,” so let’s stop that talk right now.
One more thing. Dating is not sinful. Wanting to date is normal. Healthy, even. But when we put too much emphasis on dating, especially when our daughters aren’t ready for it, we put too much pressure on them to make it happen. Disastrous results can happen when girls feel pressure to date.
What I’m saying is that your daughter should feel O.K. in how God has made her so that she doesn’t need to date. And I think it’s up to us, moms, to help instill this in her.
So how do you raise a daughter who doesn’t need to date? Here are a few suggestions.
Encourage her growth in Christ. Help your daughter understand the value of the church body and encourage her to be involved in it. Help her become disciplined in Bible reading. And pray, not that your daughter would date, but that she would grow in the knowledge and love of her Savior.
De-emphasize the dating scene. As your daughter grows up, talk about dating will be a huge conversation. Girls talk about it at school and with their friends all. the. time. and the pressure to date is immense. It’s our job as parents, I believe, to make them feel safe within the boundaries of our home. Love and acceptance is the key, whether or not she dates.
Emphasize her gifts and callings. Your daughter is so much more than a person who dates or doesn’t date, so help her put her energy into other things. School, for instance. Being a good friend. Serving others. Your daughter has so much to offer others. She doesn’t need to date to do these things.
Finally, build her up in the Lord. Each of our daughters is fearfully and wonderfully made. She is deeply loved and accepted by a holy, creative, and loving God—Scripture is full of truths like these! The best news is that God’s love for her is never conditional. Help your daughter see that she is worthy of love and acceptance just the way she is and that God, who was willing to send His son to die for her, is truly at work in her life right now. She doesn’t need a boyfriend to make her what she already is—a beloved child of God.
I love these verses from Romans 8:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38 NLT)
“Since he did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32 NLT)
God, who loves us so much, can be trusted to fill in the lonely gaps. He knows what our daughters need—it’s not popularity or affirmation or even a boyfriend. What our daughters need is more of Him.