I have a daughter with my girlfriend. We don’t live together. I have asked her to marry me, but she hasn’t accepted because she is afraid that her family won’t approve of me as her husband. She says that she loves me and would marry me… but she’s afraid that her family would look down on her. We have made mistakes, but we want to be together.

Dear Friend,

Little girls need their fathers to be involved in their lives to give them healthy attention and affection so that they won’t be tempted to go out and look for love in unhealthy ways when they are older. We hope that you are able to work things out so that this will be possible for your daughter.

However, you must ask yourself if your girlfriend’s parents might have reasonable objections to you marrying their daughter. Try to see things from their perspective so that you will know how you can work to resolve their concerns.

Most all families will blame the non-family member when one of their own becomes pregnant. So whether the unplanned pregnancy was your fault or not, your girlfriend’s parents almost certainly blame you. In their minds, you most likely took advantage of their daughter and got her pregnant, possibly destroying all of the dreams that they had for her. To them, this makes you lack the character that they would want for their daughter’s husband. You now need to prove your good character to them in everything that you say and do.

Is it possible that your girlfriend’s parents are concerned about your ability to be financially responsible for a wife and child? If they are currently supporting their daughter and the baby, then you have to get to work and start providing the financial support that they need. If you are unable to do that, then they have every reason to believe that you are not ready for marriage.

Have you been trustworthy and reliable in your times of visitation with your daughter? Have you demonstrated that you are ready to change your priorities so that the welfare of a wife and daughter come first?

In telling us your story, you concentrate on what your girlfriend says about her family and how she thinks they would react. Why don’t you know for yourself? In order to be considered as a good choice for their daughter, you need to communicate with them personally, spending time with them and letting them get to know you. Your girlfriend will never be able to convince them; it is you who must convince them, through your character and actions.

The Apostle Paul left us some hints for developing good character. He said, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”(1) Instead of having marriage as your goal, we recommend that your goal be the development of your character and a sense of responsibility. Then you will be able to prove that you would be a good husband for your girlfriend.

We wish you the best,

1 Gal 5:22-23a