RRM He can't marry my daughter 1200x627
She Said, “I Won’t Let my Daughter Marry a Guy Who Has Ever Seen Porn!”
Posted by Hal and Melanie Young in Adult Sons, Christian Living, Dating and Courtship

Be sure you ask the right questions – and set the right expectations

Our friend was adamant. “I would never allow my daughter to marry a guy who has looked at porn.”

She’s right to be concerned. It’s a sin and affront to God to look at pornography. It causes physical changes in the user’s brain as well as warping his perception and expectations of women.

No loving parents would give their daughter to a porn-soaked bridgegroom.

But we need to be sure we’ve asked the right question. Otherwise, her daughter may need to prepare herself for a life of singleness.

WHAT?

When we first began speaking about internet safety, parents were coming to us with stories of their 15- and 16 year olds that had gotten in trouble. More recently, it’s been seven- to nine year olds! The sad fact is less than 3% of boys make it to college age without being exposed to porn at some point. If you disqualify all of them, even the ones that were young children when exposed, you don’t have many men left.

Let’s face it – even though we’d like to think that the church is free from this, the simple statistics don’t leave any space for that notion. Fully 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, 53% Protestant and 22% Catholic. And 31% call themselves evangelical.

And 97% of boys have seen pornography. There’s no room to say, “Oh, it’s those people, not us.”

Only 3% of men can say they’ve never seen porn. Are we ready to say 97% have disqualified themselves from marriage?

We agree with her concern, though. Porn use is sin, plain and simple, and no peccadillo, either. The Lord Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Someone embroiled in a sin like that is definitely not ready for marriage.

Beyond that, an addiction to porn can give someone unrealistic, even dangerous expectations about sexuality. No one wants to give their precious daughter to a deviant! And there’s no question, our entertainment and even our legal culture are breaking down the barriers and removing restraints from all kinds of harmful, destructive behaviors.

The good news is The Good News is still good news.

When the apostle Paul warned the church in Corinth against sins like adultery, fornication, and homosexuality, he pointed out, “such were some of you,”

“But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Porn use is a serious sin and it has real consequences, but it is possible to overcome it! Our new book, Love, Honor, and Virtue, has a game plan for guys who want to get out of it. There are other resources here.

So, how can you help your daughter weed out the guys who are slaves to sin without writing off young men who’ve fallen in the past, but have conquered it in Christ?

RRM He will not marry my daughter 1000x1500

You have to get to know the guy. You need to ask him questions, and some hard probing questions indeed, but you have to build a relationship to do that. You want honest answers, and you won’t get them without gaining his respect. And you have to remember that the young man you are talking to now may one day decide how often you get to see your grandchildren. Treat him with the kindness and respect you would want for yourself. Don’t act as if every young man that comes around is a dragon trying to devour your princess!

Still, tough questions are appropriate. You probably need to ask:

What is your experience with porn? Nearly all young men will have had exposure to it, many of them will have been entangled in it for a time.

When is the last time you looked at porn? 

If it’s been very recently, that is a huge red flag that you need to share with your daughter. The two of you may want to do some research together on the effect this stuff has on a guy’s mind and how addictive it is. The Covenant Eyes blog has some good resources for this.

If it’s been in the last few months, you may want to encourage your daughter to just remain friends for a while until he’s proven himself. It takes months, sometimes a year or more, to truly get free of this stuff.

If it has been more than a year, that’s a green light, but the next question may help you to feel confident in that.

What are you doing to avoid temptation? You want to hear that he is taking active steps to stay free from this sin. Does he have someone who is encouraging him and holding him accountable? Does he have accountability software on his devices?

Exercise due diligence so you can help your daughter make a wise decision, but don’t forget grace.

A church leader we know told us that their church nearly split over the marriage of the pastor’s son. Before she came to Christ, his fiancee had been a prostitute and drug addict. A faction in the church thought she wasn’t good enough for the church’s favorite son and demanded a church meeting. At the meeting, one of the elders stood and said, “What is on trial here is not this young woman, but the grace of God. Do we believe that Christ’s blood covers the sins of His people, or not? Because if it does, if this young lady is acceptable to God, who are we to refuse her?”

Acts 10:15 says, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”

Grace renews our minds and it transforms us. In the light of that incredible grace, we really can’t make rules that our children must never marry someone who has sinned. We’re all sinners, all guilty before God, but Christ died so that we could be forgiven. Be cautious, be wise, of course, but be open to a young man with a transformed life.

Hal and Melanie

Hal and Melanie Twinkle at Church Large