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Question 109

Q: Our young adult daughter is dating a professed Christian man who goes to church.

He’s involved with the youth ministry at their church. We’ve only talked to him briefly over the phone and have never met him in person.

He told our daughter that he visited strip clubs repeatedly as a younger man and had a problem with pornography in high school years. He confessed to our daughter that he recently went to one of these clubs with coworkers, not realizing that it was where they were going. So he left early.

We are obviously concerned for our daughter. We feel there’s a credibility issue with this young man in the details of his story and the rationalization of his actions, and also perhaps, a moral issue that has not been fully resolved. We feel that if he voluntarily goes to his pastor, that will provide some clues as to his character and makeup.

How do we proceed in counseling our daughter in this matter?

Asked by: Steven, Iowa


A: Steven, first of all, thank you so much for writing. My heart goes out to you because Rebecca and I have three daughters, and we’re so glad that they have married Christians.

But I know the concern of a father’s heart for his daughter, and it’s very clear that you have that concern and that’s good. Furthermore, there’s something that I’m optimistic about and that is that you seem to have a good relationship with your daughter. According to your letter it appears as if she is willing to take your advice, because you’re talking about counseling her and giving her guidance.

There’s something else that I’m optimistic about and that is that her boyfriend did voluntarily confess to her about his past and evidently also about what happened more recently. So that’s a good sign. It shows that he wasn’t willing to hide this, he was willing to get it out in the open. But having said all that, I think it is very important that he go for counseling and have someone to hold him accountable.

You know, the kind of struggle that he’s going through is a life-long struggle. And what you will find is that pornography, and the things that go with it, even the club that you mentioned he attended, and so forth, these things are so deeply ingrained that help is really needed. And I think that your future son-in-law, if your daughter were to marry him, really needs that kind of help. He needs to go to a pastor, he needs to realize that there have been very good books that have been written about sexual addiction and pornography.

But above all let your daughter proceed very cautiously. I don’t like what I’m hearing, but at the same time, since I don’t know them, I’m not in a position to say that this relationship shouldn’t continue. However, I am in a position to say that if the relationship continues, that young man needs accountability. He needs to prove his honesty, and if he doesn’t deal with this in a satisfactory way, and if your daughter were to marry him, there would be future repercussions.

It’s amazing how our sins of our youth sometimes pop up later in life. So my prayers and heart go out to you. Seek God, seek counsel, and help your daughter to see that young man has a long way to go before he becomes husband material.

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