I am convinced that one of the most crucial questions I face is, whom should my daughter marry? Notice I did not say, will but should. Far too often we think about the marriages of our daughters like pagan mystics. We close our eyes real hard and just hope against hope that the stars will align and the right man will come along. I think this is a mistake. The issue of whom our daughters will marry is far too important to be approached in this unbiblical fashion.

I believe God has spoken rather decisively in His Word about what our daughters should look for. Moreover, I believe there are some non-negotiables that our daughters must be looking for. There are some things a man simply must be before he is qualified to assume the role of a Christian husband. For instance, he must be a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14); he must be committed to biblical headship (Ephesians 5:23ff.); he must welcome children (Psalm 127:3-5); he must be a suitable priest (Joshua 24:15), prophet (Ephesians 6:4), protector (Nehemiah 4:13-14), and provider (1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 2:5). A man who does not possess—or at least show strong signs of—these and other basic characteristics does not meet the basic job description laid down for husbands in the Bible.

Moreover, as a father, it is my responsibility to teach my daughter what these requirements are, encourage her not to settle for less, and walk with her through the process of evaluating potential suitors. Of course, these ideas may come as a shock to many in contemporary Christian circles (not to mention society at large). However, I have found that there is a growing discontentment among young women today. They are tired of being thrown to the wolves. They are also tired of feeling like they have to settle for less than God’s best. My question is, why should they?

I am not talking about setting an unreasonable standard. In fact, if you think the aforementioned list is unreasonable, I recommend you look at it again. We’re not talking about requiring a man to be six feet tall or have a six-figure income, a college degree, or a two-car garage. We’re talking basic, biblical requirements. And if we desire to see God’s favor in generations to come, we had better be committed to upholding His standards when it comes to “giving [our] daughters in marriage” (Jeremiah 29:6).

Fathers have a role to play in marriage

I believe fathers have a God-given responsibility to see to it that their daughters marry well and that their sons become worthy husbands. As such, I believe it is necessary for fathers to model biblical manhood, teach biblical manhood, and hunt for biblical manhood on behalf of their daughters. Similarly, I believe fathers with sons have a responsibility to prepare their sons for marriage.

Several years ago, when my daughter, Jasmine, was much younger, a family friend went through a difficult divorce. The breakup did not come as a surprise. It was obvious that theirs was not a God-honoring, biblically-functioning marriage, and the handwriting had been on the wall for quite some time.

As things began to work themselves out and the dust began to settle, we talked with our children about the pain and the high cost of divorce. As we took advantage of this teachable moment, Jasmine said something that I’ll never forget. She looked at me, shook her head, and said, “Daddy, I’m glad I’ve got you to pick my husband.” She was dead serious. She had just witnessed the consequences that often accompany a decision to marry an unworthy man, and although she wasn’t old enough to understand it all, she did understand that her father was there to protect her.

I have no intention of picking Jasmine’s husband for her. We do not advocate arranged marriages. Nor was that my daughter’s understanding of the process. She was merely acknowledging what she had been taught all her life—the fact that her father intends to play an active role in the process of finding and evaluating potential suitors.

Looking for godly, manly young men

I’m not sure when it happened, but I know for a fact it occurred. I walked into my daughter’s room one day to kiss her good night, and she wasn’t there. Gone was the little girl who used to love to sleep on her daddy’s chest. The days of riding on daddy’s knee had long passed. Instead of looking into the young, innocent eyes of my baby girl, I was looking at a young woman. Suddenly I was overtaken with grief, fear, anxiety, and unspeakable joy all at the same time.

It was then that I realized that the day is rapidly approaching when I will have to walk my baby down the aisle and place her hand in the hand of another man with whom God will unite her in the beautiful covenant of marriage. As I thought about that incredible day, I was again struck with fear. I thought about the thousands of young men in our society who have been raised amidst a culture of weak, godless, unsure, lazy, feminized men. I thought about the epidemic of fatherlessness and the resulting dearth of truly mature, godly, manly young men. Not macho men who beat their chests and howl at the moon. I’m talking about real men. I’m talking about men who understand their role in the home, in the church, and in the world. I’m talking about men who haven’t been desensitized by violence or emasculated by overprotective mothers. To whom will I give my daughter if young men no longer know what the word man means?

As fathers we have been charged by God to be priest, prophet, provider, and protector in the lives of our daughters. Before we can give our daughters away to another, we must be sure that each of our duties in our daughters’ lives will be carried out by the ones to whom we entrust them. Contrary to popular belief and contemporary practice, the Bible makes it clear that fathers are to give their daughters in marriage (Jeremiah 29:6), not send them off and hope they come back with a good one.

He must be a protector

The most basic of these requirements is that of protection. Whether or not a man takes a wife, he must be ready to assume his role as a protector of women. Peter refers to women as “weaker vessels” in relation to men (1 Peter 3:7). This term is by no means derogatory. God has made men bigger and stronger than women. This size and strength can be used to dominate and abuse women, or it can be used to protect them. The latter best represents biblical manhood.

He must be a provider

While protection is the most basic requirement, provision is the most commonly agreed upon. Few men would argue that it is not their role to provide for their family. If anything, there is an over-emphasis on provision to the detriment of other requirements. Nevertheless, provision is essential. This is especially true since “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

He must be a prophet/priest

Whereas most men in our culture understand their role as provider (or at least claim to), few understand their role as priest and prophet. A priest is an intercessor who represents his people before God. A prophet, quite simply, is one who instructs his people in God’s truth. This is one of the cardinal roles of a husband. God has given husbands the responsibility of washing their wives in the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26), diligently teaching the Law to their children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), and bringing them up in “the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Any man interested in being the head of a household is taking upon himself a weighty mantle. God is to be worshipped in our homes, and if that is to happen, there must be a bold leader charting the course, saying, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Adapted from What He Must Be ©2009 Voddie T. Baucham, Jr., copyright . Used by permission of Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL 60187. For more information, visit www.crossway.org.