"We love because He first loved us." —1 John 4:19
Swinging at the park. Riding our tandem bike together. Singing and dancing to “our song.” Getting dressed up and going on dates. These are the moments with my dad that taught me the most about love, healthy relationships, and most importantly the faithfulness of God.
Having worked with teenage girls for years and having a daughter myself, I’ve been asked the question: “As Valentine’s Day approaches, what is a dad’s role in teaching his daughter about romance?” Girls are instinctively prone to long for romance, to feel loved and pursued. Even as little girls, daughters long to feel special and treasured by their parents, especially their daddies.
I believe that fathers play the most significant role in teaching their daughters about healthy romance and relationships. A father teaches his daughter about her value, her confidence, and her standards. Even more importantly, the earthly father gives his daughter the most tangible picture of her Heavenly Father.
Dads, because you play the most vital role in instilling your daughter’s worth and expectations in relationships, I want to outline some practical ways you can demonstrate this healthy romance (pursuit) of your daughter to reveal to her the treasure she is to you, and even more importantly to demonstrate the precious treasure she is to her Heavenly Father.
1. Love your wife with tenderness, understanding, faithfulness, and grace.
She is watching the way you love her mother. Do you treat your wife the way you want your future-son-in-law to treat your daughter?
2. Pursue your daughter by sacrificing your time to be with her.
Has it ever been clear to your daughter that you made a sacrifice to prioritize her? Make sure you show her that she is of the highest value and importance to you.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to buy your daughter flowers and take her on a date. No matter how old (or young) she is, this will be extremely meaningful to her. To all you dads of teenage girls, even if you get an eye-roll, believe me, your daughter will cherish this! Put your phones away and talk with her. Ask her about her friends, her interests, her walk with God, her dreams and goals. You will not regret it for a single second.
3. Build your daughter’s confidence through words of affirmation.
These words of affirmation should not focus solely on her outward beauty, although your daughter does need to know that you think she is beautiful (whether she’s a tiny toddler, an awkward teenager, or a grown woman). Extend your affirmation of her beyond her outward beauty to focus on her inward character. Tell her all the things you love about her: her smile, her laugh, her kindness, her gentleness, her humor, her intelligence, and her talents. Consistently remind her of how special she truly is.
4. Tell her what she deserves.
My dad and I have always had a very close relationship. Throughout my life, he was willing to have those blunt conversations with me about boys who were not worth my time. Every time he talked to me about purity, dating, and boys, it was very clear to me that he believed I deserved the very best. And, you know what? Because he believed it, I believed it too!
I wasn’t willing to settle for a guy who didn’t pursue me the way my daddy always had. I wasn’t willing to settle for a guy who didn’t value and treasure me the way my dad always had.
Dads, your daughter will remember these things when a boy attempts to “romance” her in the future. Will he measure up to her daddy? Will he treasure her? Will he prioritize her? Will he treat her with respect, tenderness, and love?
Remember, you are teaching your daughter about the way her Heavenly Father treasures her. You are demonstrating God’s unfailing, loving pursuit of her by the way you pursue her. Are you exemplifying the unconditional love of the Heavenly Father well?
Written by Tricia Patterson
Tricia is leading one of the break-out sessions at the HeartStrongFaith Women's Conference February 24-25 happening at First Baptist Dallas in partnership with KCBI. Her session is called "The Unwasted Life." Learn more and register for the conference here.
One other way you can help your daughter grow in her relationship with Christ is by encouraging her to develop Godly friendships. Our First Baptist Dallas girls ministry has a fun event happening Friday, Feb. 20, called "Sugar." Learn more and register here.
Tricia Patterson is a wife to Sam and a mom to a precious and beautiful daughter named Joy. She is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring women of all ages to know Jesus in a personal way. Raised in a Christian home, Tricia accepted Christ at the age of 7, and received a clear call into full-time ministry at the age of 14. Since that time, she has worked as a Girls’ Minister teaching teenagers, groups of girls, and young women about her Savior.
Tricia graduated from Baylor University, Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication. Later, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education with a concentration in Family Ministry from Dallas Baptist University.
Tricia’s greatest joy in life is seeing others come from death to life—from darkness to light—through the saving work of Jesus Christ. She longs for others to experience and find the true life that only comes through Christ alone.