“You’ll talk to my dad now?” I asked JP, heart pounding, palms sweaty against my sides. “You’re ready?”
“Yeah, I’ve been preparing myself for this,” he said softly. A small smile played on his lips, as if he were mustering all his confidence. He had another mountain to climb, another step to claim this relationship as ours–the chance to unravel this romance with freedom. “I knew I’d have to do this sooner or later.”
For a split second, the butterflies in my stomach fluttered, then they rose like whirlwinds. Kilig.
So this is how it feels to be pursued, I thought.
Involving Parents: the Ancient Approach to Romance
Is it worth it? Yes. Old-fashioned? Not even close. Involving family (especially parents) in romance is not old-fashioned. It’s actually…very, very ancient.
God has “ancient ways” of doing things. (Jeremiah 6:16). It may be 2018, but it doesn’t make His ways out-of-date (nor “jologs” and “laos”). His ways are timeless, producing an abundant life. (Psalm 16:11).Like gravity, there is a God-designed physics to a blessed romance.
It isn’t a surprise. The happiest relationships come from the “ancient way” of trusting good boundaries.
Contrary to modern dating techniques, boundaries can be good–the way rules are good for you when crossing the street; the way not sticking a knife into an electric socket is actually great for you. Boundaries in the form of a parent’s protection lead to life and more freedom. Ironically, it averts the truer forms of “kill-joys” (like salvaging a broken heart or forfeiting purity).
From my personal experience, I saw how God’s “ancient ways” sprinkled extra kilig on an unraveling earthly love story. Involving Mom and Dad in the roller coaster of romance spurred these 3 surprising benefits:
1) The Heart was Protected from Heartbreak
Pastor Craig Hill, the founder of Family Foundations International, once said, “Love is not only blind. It is deaf, dumb, and stupid!” I could’ve sworn he was exaggerating, but he wasn’t. Turns out that when you’re in love, all you see is perfection. No flaws. No pitfalls. No warning signs.
It’s in this moment where wisdom must trump blinded feelings and consider the counsel of wiser ones (Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 1:8-9). This is because the counsel of wiser ones can help protect the heart from unnecessary heartbreak.
Parents—no matter how imperfect, disagreeable, or dramatic—possess a God-given prophetic gift. It’s like they have spider-sense. They know it in their gut if a person is the best match for you or not.
They know your quirks, your flaws, your interests. They have insights on what characteristics “the one” must have in order to you.
I remember a conversation I had with my mom: “Anak (my daughter), dapat yung sa‘yo, yung hindi madaling magalit [You need to be with someone who has a cool head], he said. “Your love language is words. If he says mean things in his anger, it will really hurt you.”
Parents also protect you from the heartbreakers disguised in innocent boyfriend clothing. They can tell if your crush is serious about you or is just playing with you. This idea leads us to the next point…
2) I Felt More Valued in My Boyfriend’s Pursuit
My dad has a large voice. And for that particular night, he decided to use it on JP. “Anong ipapaalam mo, hijo?” [What are you asking permission for?]
JP didn’t miss a beat. He kept the brave smile, voice unwavering. (Though I was sure he was as nervous as I was). “I’ve been praying about this…” He said. “God showed me your daughter. I’m asking for your permission to pursue her…”
By this time, the butterflies in my stomach turned into soaring eagles.
How many young men could face my father like that? Probably not a lot. Fortunately, JP was someone mature and courageous enough to do it.
The most eligible man will be willing to respectfully earn your parents’ approval because he is serious about having a relationship with you. He wants to make himself known to your parents as someone they can trust their daughter with. It isn’t just a fling. It isn’t just a test drive. It’s a real relationship worth claiming.
“The one” will have nothing to hide, but only the best intentions to boast of.
For my two cents, go for the guy who is willing to climb the tree to get the best apple. Go for the man who is willing to pursue you the right way within safe boundaries because of the value he places on you. He won’t run away from the responsibility. He’ll run headlong into it because you’re worth his pursuit.
3) My Relationship with My Boyfriend Had More Joy (and Kilig)
My dad’s large voice shifted into a laugh, breaking the tension in our living room. “I had a feeling this was coming,” he said. “Buti na lang mabait ka, hijo. [It’s a good thing that you’re a nice young man.]”
He went on and commended JP for having the guts to make his intentions known, like he was genuinely grateful for it. Then he said, “By the way, my favorite is Ferrero Rocher.”
Laughter escaped our lips. I glanced at JP. The weight from his shoulders disappeared, and his eyes lit up. He did it. He actually did it!
After JP talked to my dad, we had no reason to hide the relationship. Going out on dates received approval given certain parameters. Transparency welcomed guidance from our parents, expanding our relationship beyond ourselves and into knowing each other’s families. His siblings were quickly becoming like my own. It spelled a deeper sense of love to find acceptance from our loved ones.
The last time JP and I celebrated our anniversary, JP had my mother as his accomplice for the surprise he set up at our house. It made me happy to think of how close he and my mom became. I love how even my dad grew fond of him.
We were becoming each other’s family and each other’s home.
And JP never failed to give my dad Ferrer Rocher for Christmas.
GOD’S EARTHLY DESIGN FOR ROMANCE
So this is the “abundant life” the ancient ways were talking about. Misunderstandings and deferred hopes were not collateral damage, and my boyfriend and I have been reaping the rewards of trust and transparency.
We’ve been in the relationship for 2 years now, and I still find myself smiling as I think of the lengths JP faced to claim the relationship well. Starting off this way is still causing a domino of blessings in our relationship.
Perhaps the “ancient ways” of romance weren’t out of date after all.
It still leads to life.
And the extra “kilig.”
*kilig* – giddy happy feelings around a crush or loved one
*jologs*/ *laos* – Filipino slang terms for “outdated”