Trivia question. Who is the biggest imbecile in the history of television? If you guessed "Dad," you are correct. The Father is trashed by our culture more than any other person, and especially by the TV writers, producers, and directors—just think Homer Simpson, Archie Bunker, and worse. As a result, boys grow up not understanding their role in society. Men either become tentative or wipe out with regards to God’s design for their lives. Nowhere does this social faux pax manifest itself then in the obtaining of the life’s mate. Scripture gives the Dad the major role in this very important decision.
Remember that 1 Thessalonians 4:4 says that everyone is to know how to obtain a life’s mate. This implies a way to learn. The way could be well described as by patriarchal authority. The man leaves father and mother to cleave to his wife (Gen. 2:24), so the male side of the equation takes the initiative. The father of the daughter welcomes the enterprise, placing himself in between the man and his daughter to protect her physically, spiritually, and emotionally (1 Corinthians 7:36-38).
The locus classicus to model the way to acquire a life’s mate is Genesis 24. Here is a text of sixty-seven verses telling solely the story of Isaac’s obtaining of Rebekah as his wife. This chapter should not be seen as typological of the believers relationship with Christ. Nothing in the passage would have one think this to be its purpose. God gave us this long narrative to give us the principles required to succeed at honoring God in this. Isaac, likely a thirty plus year old at this time, is completely passive. This is not to say that the son cannot be working together with his father in this process. A son should be close to his dad. In Proverbs 5-7, this often overlooked aspect, the relationship of a son to his parents, is the most important feature of honoring God in the obtaining of a wife. A son should be learning from dad regularly (Deut. 6). We don’t see mom involved at all in Genesis 24. The chapter starts with: "And Abraham was old. . . ." and the next verse says: "And Abraham said. . . ." Abraham recruited the services of his eldest servant to aid him in this endeavor. I like to say that Fathers can network in this process, using other trusted men to help find the right wife for his son. Since the right wife is said to be more valuable than rubies (Proverbs 31:10), networking would be more than well worth it.
Applicable passages show the Dad preeminent in the obtaining of his son’s wife. In Genesis 2, God the Father created Eve, essentially choosing her for Adam. In John 10, the Father gives the Son His bride (v. 29). Rebekah’s brother stood in for her father in the way of protection (Gen. 24:29) as did the Shulamite’s brothers (S. Sol. 8:8,9). Jacob’s sons expected greater protection of their sister Dinah in the tragedy of the Shechemites (Gen. 34). The Father gives his daughter away in the marriage ceremony because God has given him authority over his virgin daughter (1 Cor. 7:36-38). The protective role of authority does not eradicate the opinion of the daughter, even as Rebekah was given a say in her marriage to Isaac (Gen. 24:58).
Shakespeare popularized the erosion of the parental role in the choice of a life’s mate. Several of his plays portrayed the parents as morons with little common sense. Many also identify overweening fathers who choose based on caste or wealthy or class, regardless of character or personality. Romantic novels told fictional story after story of self-centered, monster parents who make their choice for personal advancement. None of these fit the Biblical model, but are often used as examples of the superiority of dating. Surely among those without discernment, unscrupulous parents have made grave errors in this regard. Dating has not historically been given the same treatment. The narrators of dating have grossly exaggerated dating success, making most young people to look like geniuses in this regard. They have not chronicled the vast numbers of failures with their consequential destruction—teenage pregnancies, loss of purity, divorce, and unhappy marriages.
And then perhaps as damaging as any result of dating is the removal of this male role. Dads’ are neither responsible for dispensing wisdom to sons or protection of their daughters. When women do get a husband, they are more likely to get less of a man, because their mate has not been given even the skills and know-how necessary to accomplish this God-ordained task. The Dad may just be one of the nearly extinct species of life on earth. Shall we start a campaign to save the Father?