When my then-boyfriend asked my father for his blessing to marry me, my dad asked him three questions. They were the same three questions that he had asked my brother-in-law when he asked for my sister’s hand in marriage. Because my dad had a knack for taking a situation and boiling it down to that which was most important, he knew that the answers to these three questions would determine the direction of our marriage. And because he loved his girls, he wanted to make sure that direction was a godly one.
Yet, it wasn’t just for my husband and my brother-in-law that these questions are important. They are essential for anyone who is considering marriage.
And so that others can benefit from my daddy’s wisdom to, here are the three questions he asked:
1) Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? – This seems like such a simple question, especially because my dad had been around my brother-in-law and my husband enough to know that they certainly did Christian things. But just like my occasional jogs don’t make me a runner, my dad knew that being around Christ didn’t make you a Christian (We need to look no further than Judas to see the stark reality of this.) My dad wanted to make sure, as best as he was able, that his daughters’ husbands had acknowledged their need for a Savior, had accepted Jesus’ death as payment for their sins, and had committed their lives to following God. After all, my dad had spent his life raising us in a godly way. He wanted to make sure that our continued pursuit of God would be encouraged and intensified through our marriage. He knew that our husbands must be pursuing Him as well in order for that to occur.
2) Do you love my daughter? – Again, a seemingly simple question given the situation, but my dad knew better than to assume anything. Sometimes people get to a point in a relationship where marriage just seems to be the next expected step. However, if you are getting married simply because it’s what’s expected, you’re bound to face a rough road ahead. My dad wanted to make sure that his sons-in-law loved their future wives, and that it was this love that was prompting them to ask for our hands in marriage. For as long as I can remember, my dad’s definition of this was that a man would treat me like a princess. This is what he prayed for, and in asking this question, it was that type of cherished affection that my father wanted to hear in my husband’s voice.
3) Do you promise to love her as Christ loved the Church? – My dad wanted to make sure that not only did my husband love me in the present, but that he was committed to loving me in the future as well. And he wanted to make sure that this commitment would reflect that kind of sacrificial love that Christ had for His bride, the Church. He wanted to know that my husband would strive to show his love every day, that he would make decisions based on what was best for me, and that he would sacrifice his comfort and convenience in order to provide for me. My dad knew that this was a high calling, but he also knew from his own experience that when this type of love characterizes a marriage, it is a beautiful thing. My dad knew that following the Savior’s example of love would provide my husband with an ever-present guidepost of how to love me.
In asking these three questions and in hearing the answers, my dad helped ensure that our marriage would not only start off on the right foot, but that it continued down the right path. My prayer is that more marriages could say the same.