"Mom Says/Dad Says," an exclusive Christian parental advice column by Gregory Slayton, former U.S. Ambassador to Bermuda and author of the best-selling book Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs, and his wife, Marina Slayton, author of the new book Be The Best Mom You Can Be. The Slaytons have been featured on Fox and Friends, Focus on the Family Radio and numerous other media outlets. They donate 100% of their royalties from parenting books to fatherhood and family nonprofits.
Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Governors Jeb Bush and Sam Brownback and Pastors Tim Keller and Luis Palau, among others, have endorsed the Slaytons. In their exclusive series for The Christian Post, both Marina and Gregory will answer thoughtful Christian parents seeking to raise their children up in the goodness of the Gospel and the Glory of God. If you would like to have Marina and Gregory answer your questions, please contact them via email@example.com.
PARENT QUESTION: Our eldest daughter seems to be falling in love all the time — only to end up disappointed and bitter. She is now well into her thirties and I am not sure if her knight in shining white armor will ever appear. Why can't she settle down with any of the nice young men she has met? The time between her relationships seem to be growing ever longer. We are worried that she might end up without anyone. Is there anything we can do to help our beloved daughter?
MOM SAYS: Most of this generation seems to be looking for a dream spouse. So when they find themselves with a human being they are disappointed and disillusioned. These days, our culture invests in romantic love what prior generations invested only in God. Romantic love has become an idol for many. Many, encouraged by false images created by Hollywood (because romance sells), have come to believe that only in our perfect soul mate will we find that transcendent happiness which will be the making of our lives.
This is one of the reasons so many modern relationships fall apart. We put so much pressure on a romantic relationship to be the end-all be-all that there is not room for human frailty. By being "romantics" this generation sets themselves up for regret and resentment when our perfect mate turns out to be human. Even more sadly, they may not be able to recognize the mate God has intended for them because they are looking for a Mr/Ms. Perfect who does not exist.
As you hopefully realize, your daughter is an adult who needs your love and counsel, not "why aren't you married yet?" criticism. I encourage you to pray for her — prayer is underestimated by many, even Christian parents. Pray that your daughter's relationship with God is strengthened — and that God's will is done in her life. The reality is that your daughter may never get married. As parents, we have to support whatever God wants for our children. Helping her to look to the future with peace, no matter what that future might hold, would be a great service to your daughter.
In reality, you may be even more worried than your daughter is about her potential marriage and perhaps you need to give up that dream. We are here for God's will and not our own. You can help your daughter learn that great wisdom and experience the great peace that flows from it.
Thanks again for loving your daughter so much,
DAD SAYS: Thanks for caring about your daughter. Love is the most important thing. We as older parents can't forget that.
Adult children pose a real dilemma because we'd love to jump in and "help" them, but we need to respect the fact that they are adults and need to work things out for themselves. And this is a particularly sensitive issue.
Does your daughter talk with you about this subject of her own accord? Or are you the one bringing it up? If the latter, maybe give her some space on the issue. Be sure to love on her and celebrate her, but don't even mention the marriage subject unless she brings it up. Sometimes destressing is the best approach.
But Marina is right, be sure to pray diligently for her. "The prayer of the righteous is VERY powerful" the Bible tells us (emphasis mine). I think the prayer of the righteous mom is the most powerful prayer in the world. And get some close friends and family members praying for her as well. Prayer works, even if we don't know exactly how it does. We serve a great God.
Remember, our Heavenly Father loves your daughter (and all of our children) just as much as we do. He hasn't forgotten her. He's not ignoring her. That is not His character. But His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts (Is 58:8). Likewise, His timing is better than ours. So let us trust in Him and stop worrying. Let's pray with thanksgiving for her and remember what a blessing it is just to have a daughter who loves you (married or unmarried).
May our Heavenly Father answer your prayers for your beloved daughter, as you learn to trust even more in Him.