What YOU model for your daughter, as a man, is what she will accept and seek as she searches for a spouse. You can protect her from hurt and harm by representing the man you want her to marry. If she is faced with a man who treats her disrespectfully, she is likely to not pursue a relationship or discontinue one that has already begun. If you treat her as the treasure she was created to be, she will yearn for a man who sees her the same way that you do. Here are 10 things you can do to help guard her heart and lead her to the right choice.
1. Be the man that you want her to marry
Statistics show that a woman will marry a man similar to her father. Are you the man you want your daughter to marry? It is never too late to improve. Be a man who leads his family, who is affectionate to his wife, who is faithful to his wedding vows, who protects his family, who does the right thing regardless of the cost, who invests in his wife, who encourages her, who disagrees respectfully, and loves his spouse fiercely.
2. Validate her
Tell your daughter what you love about her, daily. Explain to her why you love her unique qualities. When she does something well, applaud her. When she makes a mistake, teach her how she can succeed with the gifts she possesses.
3. Be gentle
When you speak to your daughter, be gentle, in tone and physicality. Again, think about being the man you want her to marry. How would you want him to communicate with your daughter and reproach her?
4. Share a hobby
Find something that you both love to do and plan time, regularly, to grow together through your shared interest.
5. Provide her with safe touch
Your daughter requires your healthy touch, through hugs, wrestling, play, tickles, and kisses. Even if your daughter is a teen or older, she still needs your touch. If you feel uncomfortable with this, here are simple ways to still meet this need: put an arm around her, pat her back, hug her, or kiss the top of her head. If you withhold touch from your daughter, she will seek this sense of love elsewhere.
6. Be intentional about spending time with her
Make sure you spend quality and quantity time with her. You might want to turn on the television and relax at the end of a work day or peruse social media, but consider being completely present with your daughter. Turn off all devices and focus on the time you have with her. She will see her value, and appreciate that she is your priority.
7. Always tell her the truth
It is imperative that you consistently tell you daughter the truth, no matter how insignificant the issue at hand. For example, if you don't want her to have any more candy, don't say it's all gone if it's not. Tell her the truth: "It's unhealthy for you to have to any more sugar tonight. Maybe tomorrow." If she learns that you will tell her the truth in all things then she will expect a man she dates to do the same.
8. Teach her
Teach your daughter skills that will help her to be independent, such as how to change a tire, use tools, understand the mechanics of a car, and manage a bank account. Also, teach her your skills, whether it be music, art, landscaping, architecture, sports, or service.
9. Show up
Be present at all of her events (if possible), no matter how trivial or significant. The ballet performance at three years old is just as important to your daughter as her softball game at seven, as her gymnastics meet at ten, as her school play at 14, and as her high school graduation at 18. Also, plan special times when you can take her out on a date, starting when she's just one year old. Find things to do together that make her feel special. And while you're out, treat her in a chivalrous manner, portraying the picture of a true gentleman.
10. Give her hope
If you are a believer in Jesus, the most important thing you can do is share the truth of the Gospel with your daughter. Memorize Scripture with her, pray with her, take her to church, and teach her how to answer the tough questions about her faith. Show her where she can go when you fail her, because you will. Direct her to the Heavenly Father who will never let her down. If you are not a believer, start asking God to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him if He is real. He will answer you, in His time. If you succeed on every other step but fail to prioritize this one, you're taking a monumental risk in the protection of your daughter. Seek the Lord to help you lead your daughter and she will be eternally grateful to her earthly father for pointing her toward her Heavenly Father.