Our youngest was married Saturday in an unforgettable wedding. Karis was a remarkable girl for the get-go–obedient and hard-working. I took her out when she was a beautiful nineteen-year old and asked if I could know the man before she would date him. She said two wise things: “I am not into recreational dating,” which she had proved by not dating, and, “I would never date anyone that you didn’t know.” I gave her the letter below when she was fifteen. Perhaps it could help a dad prepare his daughter for what is sometimes called the turbulent teens but thankfully never was for our Karis, who is now married to a wonderful young man, Kostas Alex.
March 17, 2009
You have become a beautiful young lady. We are not surprised that young men are beginning to notice you. Maybe they have been for a while. Your mom and dad also notice you. We see that you have beauty on the inside as well as the outside. We have always enjoyed your kind spirit. You have thought about others first. You are also a disciplined girl and you know what you want out of life.
God has put into your body and spirit a desire for affection. It is a natural and God-given attraction toward the opposite sex, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, for some it means that you can do what you want when you want it and with whom you want. The Bible doesn’t teach that. It says that our bodies don’t even belong to us, and certainly not to guys who may wrongly think they have rights to girls’ bodies. Our bodies have been purchased by the blood of Jesus and belong to God. They are temples of the Holy Spirit, making them sacred places. God Himself lives in our bodies. Wow!
He wants us to take care of His possession and to save what He has given us for the person we will live our lives with. Here’s a warning: That is a high and lofty ideal but not an easy assignment. Our urges can become so strong that we may feel in a moment of passion that it must be the right thing to give in and follow our desires. Like the song, “You Light Up My Life,” says, “It can’t be wrong ‘cause it feels so right.” What is right is not what feels right but what God says is right.
Sex is God’s idea, not Satan’s. He created it, so He knows best how to enjoy it. He has put it in the protection of marriage. Fire in a fireplace is a beautiful and heart-warming picture. Fire out of control is terrorizing and destructive. The same goes for sexual pleasure. While it will be a struggle to wait rather than to live out your passions, you will be much happier than giving into your passions. To do so for those who know that they belong to God brings guilt, shame, fear, and a host of other negative emotions. Your mom and dad want something better for you. We have dealt with girls facing surprise pregnancies and unfulfilled promises by guys who fled the scene, leaving them alone with many difficult decisions. We want your wedding day to be the height of excitement and in no way clouded over by the sad reality of not having waited.
We are confident in God for you. We look forward to how God will express His love to you in the future. We are glad that He has given you to us to care for in this season until the time that you come under the protection of a young man.
Please know that you can come to Mom or me with any questions or concerns. When we hold secrets, they start holding us. I hope that you feel you can talk with us about anything. Your siblings are also available.
May God’s grace be upon you these days!
Your thankful father and mother