FamilyLife Today® Podcast

The How-To’s

with Dennis Rainey | September 26, 2007
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How can you interview your daughter's date? On today's broadcast, Dennis Rainey, a father of six, including four girls, shows you how.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • How can you interview your daughter's date? On today's broadcast, Dennis Rainey, a father of six, including four girls, shows you how.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

How can you interview your daughter’s date?

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The How-To’s

With Dennis Rainey
September 26, 2007
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: Have you been experiencing any technical difficulties listening to FamilyLife Today this week?  Any problems?  We may have discovered a reason why.

[radio dial sounds]

Dad: Okay, 97 point – Hey, Jordan, you wouldn't happen to know why this radio is so messed up, would you?

Jordan: Why do you always blame me?  Gosh, it's just not working, okay?

Dad: It was fine yesterday, but I can't seem to get FamilyLife Today.

Jordan: Yeah, whatever, okay.  Hey, did Mom tell you that I need a ride over to Carolyn's.  We're going to watch some movies.  We need to go in just a sec, all right?  [on the phone] Carolyn, I'll be over in just a second.

Teenager: Hey, Dan, when you get a second, could you look at the computer for me?  I was going to listen to that Dennis Rainey "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date" stuff, but I can't get the sound to work.

Dad: Oh, this is hopeless.  I'm coming.  Did you turn the speakers on?

Teenager: Well, duh, of course.

Dan: All right, let me just take a quick look here.  All right, there's your problem, it looks like somebody changed all the settings and all the preferences.  So it will just take a second, I'll have it back where it was.

Teenager: Hey, Dad?

Dad: Yeah, son.

Teenager: Where's the CD player?

Dad: It should be in the cabinet where it's supposed to be.

Teenager: I don't think so, it's not there.

Dad: For crying out loud, what is going on?  If it's not one thing, it's another.

Teenager: Wait a minute, wait a minute, the radio, the computer, the CD player, "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date?"  Oh, yeah.

All: Jordan!

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, September 26th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  We trust there is no suspicious electronic activity happening at your house.  Stay tuned.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition.  We trust that your radio is still functioning; that your Internet connection is still working; that somehow your teenage daughter has not tampered with the electronics around your house to try to prevent you –

Dennis: Jamming – you think some teenagers who are trying to jam the signal of what we've been talking about this week?

Bob: I'm just thinking there are some who are going, "I do not want this idea to catch on with my dad," you know?

Dennis: We're talking about how we can equip dads and single parents and, for that matter, moms as well, in how you can interview your daughter's date.  And whether she's going out on a group date, a double date, and individual date alone with the opposite sex, I think you're called, as a dad or single parent mom or, for that matter, a mom to intersect their lives and to find out who this person is they're going out with.

 I love the passage in Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 15.  In fact, we haven't read this passage here on FamilyLife Today in a few years.  I think it's time to dust it off – "Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is."

 Well, I can tell you what the will of the Lord is.  The will of the Lord is that parents be involved in their teenage daughter's life – son, as well – as they enter in these perilous years of going out with the opposite sex.  It is a wholesome, healthy, respectful way of engaging around the subject of dating, and checking out the guys they're going to go out on a date with and finding out what they're made of and who they are and what kind of home they came from.

Bob: We have heard this week you talk about why this is important and how you get ready to do it.  In your book, "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date," you have a – I guess it's kind of a composite scene …

Dennis: Well, actually, it's not a composite scene.  It really, to the best of my recollection, is the story of when I first interviewed Kevin.  Now, undoubtedly, the first interview that I did with the first young who took out our oldest daughter, I probably didn't do as good a job as I'd like to think I did, but this is meant to kind of re-cast what I did on that first interview with Kevin.

 I'll never forget, Bob, he was going to come over to the office, and I thought, "You know, I can choose to sit behind my desk and seat him in front of the desk" …

Bob: In a chair that's real low, and you're up real high.

Dennis: Yeah, yeah, you got the picture.  Or – you know what?  This is intimidating enough – just for him to come talk to me.  I think I need to get out from behind the desk.  In fact, I called Ashley and asked what Kevin's favorite soft drink was, and so when my receptionist called and said I had a young man who was there to meet with me, I stopped by and plunked down 50 cents and got a can of Coke, and I got a Diet Dr. Pepper, which is what I like.

 We walked outside and had our interview in the parking lot, and it was interesting.  Kevin came on a motorbike, and we leaned up against his motorcycle – and I see our engineer, Keith Lynch, giving me two thumbs up – he's a motorcycle guy.  Are you the proud owner of a motorcycle, Keith?

Bob: Yeah, he is.

Dennis: Three!  He has three.

Bob: His sons are driving them, too, so he's …

Dennis: And he doesn't have a daughter, but, Keith, I wish you had a daughter and could walk outside to the first young man who wants to take your daughter out on a date and lean up against a Harley, a Hog.

Bob: Kevin didn't have a Harley.

Dennis: Kevin did not have a Harley.  In fact, he assured me he had regular wheels when he and Ashley were about to go out on the date.

Bob: We asked our team to take your recollection of that first date, which is in your book, "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date," and dramatize it for us, and they go someone to play you during this re-creation.

Dennis: I hope he's kind.

Bob: Of that historic event.

Dennis: I was kind.  I was not mean-spirited about this.

Bob: See if this brings back some memories for you.  This is from the audiobook of "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date."

Dennis [Narrating]: (From videotape.)  As of today, I've conducted this type of interview with our four daughters' dates somewhere between 30 and 40 times.  For the most part, these encounters have allowed me to get to know several young men who would make their parents proud.

 It's been a little nerve-wracking not just for the boys but even for me, the one who is in control and asking the hard questions.  So let's get this out of the way at the beginning.  Yes, I was nervous – every time.  But it was worth it – every time.

 I was seated at my desk barely able to concentrate.  I shifted some papers, opened some drawers, glanced out of the window, shifted more papers, opened more drawers, glanced out the window, shifted papers.  I felt like I was expecting an important phone call and was trying to do something productive while waiting, but it wasn't working and neither was I.

 Finally –

Receptionist: Dennis, excuse me, I'm sorry to interrupt you, I know you're busy, but the front desk just called, and there's a Kevin Logan waiting for you in the lobby.

Dennis: Okay, Dennis, deep breath, you're an adult here, you can do this.

Receptionist: Is this a meeting I should take notes on?

Dennis: No, no, nothing like that.

Receptionist: Is there anything else I can do for you?

Dennis: You can pray.

Dennis [Narrating]: Yes, I was about to interview the first of many young men who wanted to have a date with one of my daughters.

 I got to my feet, walked across the room, still amazed how nervous I was, and stepped into the lobby to meet Kevin, the only person in the building more anxious and ill-at-ease than I was.

Dennis: Good afternoon, Kevin.  Glad you could make it.

Kevin: Oh, hey.  I mean, hello, Mr. Rainey.

Dennis: How's about we go down and get something from the Coke machine, I hear you're a Dr. Pepper man.

Kevin: Yes, sir.

Dennis: So were you born here?

Dennis [Narrating]: Riding a very thin wave of forced, uncomfortable chitchat, we walked down to the break room where I dug into my pocket for a supply of quarters.

Dennis: So, Kevin, I really do appreciate you coming by today.  I wanted to get a chance to, well, just meet you and have a little time to talk before we discuss going on a date with my daughter, Ashley.

 How many quarters am I supposed to put in this thing?

Kevin: Oh, I think it takes two, sir.

Dennis: Uh, I think I just put in about nine, so that probably should do it.  Anyway, Dr. Pepper, wasn't it, huh?

Kevin: Yeah, thanks.

Dennis: There we go.  Anyway, this is just a chance for to have a chat and get to know you a little.  So you and Ashley met at school, right?

Kevin: Yeah, we had to do a design project together for the newspaper and got to talking, and it just kind of went from there in terms of liking her kind of thing.

Dennis: Okay, now, you know, I noticed you've got a helmet with you.  You ride a motorcycle?

Kevin: Yeah, it's right outside.

Dennis: What do you say we go out and take a look at it?

Kevin: Sure.

Dennis [Narrating]: We walked outside, my mind reeling – motorcycle?  This wasn't exactly how I wanted Ashley to go out on her very first date.

Kevin: It's still a little wet, I just washed it before coming here.

Dennis: Nice bike.  So this is it.  What you'd be taking Ashley to the concert on?

Kevin: Yeah, but I'm a really safe driver, so you don't have to worry about it.  And Ashley said she likes motorcycles.

Dennis: Right.

Dennis [Narrating]: I popped the tab of my soft drink and looked squarely into the same eyes that enjoyed looking at my 16-year-old daughter.  I took a breath and started with the basics.

Dennis: Now, you said before that you just moved here, so you're fairly new to the area, is that right?

Kevin: Right.  My dad got transferred here last spring.

Dennis: And what does he do?

Kevin: He sells health insurance to businesses.  So they transferred him to be regional manager here.

Dennis: Sounds like a good job.  Are you thinking of going into something like that for yourself.  No.  I'm hoping to do more like graphic arts or filmmaking, something like that.

Dennis: That's interesting.

Kevin: My brother is more of the salesman type.

Dennis: Oh.  Well, tell me about your family.  Do you have more than one brother?

Kevin: I've got a brother and a sister.  She's in college …

Dennis [Narrating]: As our chat continued, my mind began to wander a bit.  I couldn't believe I was in the midst of doing this – that my little princess was already old enough to be going on a date.  Not my Ashley.  Wasn't it just yesterday that I was dating her myself?  You see, I'd taken Ashley out on numerous occasions when she was younger.  I started dating her and my other daughters when they were three or four years old.  Sometimes I'd really try to do it right.

 On one specific evening when Ashley was 12, I pulled into the driveway and met her at the door.  Her mother was there to see us off to inquire about where we were planning to go and when we'd be back.  And then we were off.

 I, of course, was every bit the perfect gentleman, holding the car door open, ordering for her at the restaurant, treating her with all the common courtesies a woman should expect from a man.  We just enjoyed ourselves talking, laughing, sharing memories.

 And then there were some serious moments, too.  We talked in simple terms about what dating really is; about what she should expect from a young man.  I also prepared her for the fact that before she could accept a boy's invitation to go out on a date, I needed the chance to talk to him first, to interview him.

 Now, I don't know what you'd expect a 12-year-old girl to say in response to that, but Barbara and I have enough daughters to assure you that this sounded like a good thing to all our girls at that age, including Ashley on that night.  It sounded normal to her.

 But even if she hadn't said so, I am absolutely convinced that all our daughters, both yours and mine, deeply want this kind of loving attention and protection from us.  It makes so many things so much easier on her.  It takes a lot of worry off her mind knowing that Dad is watching her back, keeping her save, doing his job.

 So when the time finally came for Ashley to be asked out by a real, live boy, it was only natural for her to say to him, "My dad needs to talk to you first."  Now, that's my girl.

Dennis: Yes, sir, that's my girl.

Kevin: Sir?

Dennis: Oh, oh, I was just thinking of Ashley, some of the fun we've had.  I tell you, Kevin, I'm really glad to get to know you a little better this afternoon, but before giving Ashley permission to go to the concert, I need to talk to you about a couple of really important things.

Kevin: Yeah?

Dennis: It's okay, Kevin, you can look me in the eye, I'm not going to bite. 

Kevin: Oh, yeah, I was just noticing that your tie is really, like, red.

Dennis: Maroon.

Kevin: Oh, right.

Dennis: I want to talk to you about Ashley, Kevin.  You may have noticed this by now, but God made a wonderful thing when He made women.

Kevin: Uh-huh.

Dennis: And God made men and women different.  You may have noticed some of those differences.

Kevin: Uh, yeah, I think so.

Dennis: Actually, the great thing is that God made us different so that men and women would be attracted to one another.

Kevin: Uh, yeah.

Dennis: So you've probably noticed the God made Ashley pretty attractive.  She's a cute girl.

Kevin: Yes, she is.

Dennis: With a cute figure.

Kevin: Yeah, I mean – she is, you know, it's there.

Dennis: Right.  Look, you're a young man, and Ashley is a young lady.  More than likely, she'll one day get married.

Kevin: Yeah?

Dennis: Kevin, I just want you to know that I was a teenager once, too, and I know what teenage boys think about.

Kevin: Uh, you do?

Dennis: Yeah.  I remember seeing girls and thinking about them and wanting to date them so, believe me, I understand what boys think about when they think about girls.  In fact, I've done a little research on this, and did you know that studies show that teenage boys think about sex every seven seconds.

Kevin: [voice cracks] They do?  [clears throat] I mean, they do?

Dennis: Yes, and you and I both know they're probably lying about the other six.

Kevin: Heh-heh.

Dennis: Look, Kevin, I'm not trying to make you squirm here, I'm not sure how to put this subtly, so let me just say it, okay?  I'd like you to keep your hands off my daughter, and I'd like to help you with that, because whether I see you at the door after your first date with Ashley or after your 50th date, you can expect me to ask you, "Kevin, are you dealing honorably with my daughter?"  And I want you to know what I mean when I ask you that question.  Do you understand what I'm trying to say here?

Kevin: I think so, yes, sir.

Dennis: Think about it, Kevin.  Ashley is more than likely going to be someone's wife someday, and more than likely you're going to be married to someone yourself.

Kevin: I'm still a junior in high school.

Dennis: I know that, but I mean someday.

Kevin: Well, yeah, sure.

Dennis: Okay, so say your future wife is out with some guy tonight.  Would you want that guy to be touching her body?

Kevin: Well, no.

Dennis: Good, because I don't want you touching Ashley's body for the same reason.  Are we connecting here?  Do you understand what I'm trying to say?

Kevin: Well, yeah, of course.

Dennis: So when I say I'm going to hold you accountable do you know what I mean by that?

Kevin: Yes, sir.  I know what you're saying.

Dennis: So when I say I'm expecting you to be pure in how you deal with Ashley, do you understand what I mean by purity?

Kevin: Like, respect, like not doing stuff, like having sex?

Dennis: I mean more than that.  Like keeping your hands off of her.  I mean not kissing her.

Kevin: Okay.

Dennis: I mean totally.

Kevin: Right.

Dennis: Good, because I love Ashley, Kevin.  She's my daughter, and having a daughter is an awesome responsibility.  That's why we're having this talk.

Kevin: No, I get it.  That's cool.

Dennis: Good.  Because I'd like to challenge you that if God ever gives you the privilege of being a husband and a dad, especially if He gives you girls, I want you to take your role just as seriously as I take mine and talk to your daughters.  Talk to your daughter's dates the way I've talked to you today.  Will you promise me that?

Kevin: Yes, sir.  Anything else?

Dennis: Well, yes, actually.  How about leaving the motorcycle home when you date Ashley.  Can you take a car instead?

Kevin: Oh, yeah, sure thing, Mr. Rainey.  I can borrow my mom's car.  It's got seatbelts and airbags and everything.  She'll let me borrow her car.

Dennis: Good.  Well, thank you, Kevin.  You know, I really am proud of you for taking the time to talk to me about this important stuff.  I'm sure it wasn't comfortable, but it really was good to meet you.

Kevin: Same here.  Can I go now?

Dennis: Sure.  Get out of my sight.  Take care, Kevin.

[end audiobook segment]

Dennis: Brought back a few memories, no doubt about it.

Bob: Do you remember how you felt when it was over, when you walked back in the office?

Dennis: I don't know who was more relieved.

Bob: You or Kevin?

Dennis: That's right.  I mean, I'd never done it before.  I'd never had a conversation like that.

Bob: Why is it so intimidating for dad?

Dennis: Why would a dad – think about this – why would a dad – you know, here I was, how old was I then?

Bob: You're a grownup, he's a pimply-faced kid, right?

Dennis: Yeah, exactly.  That was 16, 17 years ago; I was in my early 40s.  Why would I be intimidated by a teenage young man?  I think it's the content of the conversation.  I think you're treading on a subject that is not popular.  It goes against the grain of the culture that says "Bug out, parents.  This is our deal, we're adults."

Bob: Leave us alone.

Dennis: Yeah, and if you don't think it's right, wait 'til you take your daughter away to college at 18 years of age.  They don't even recognize you as the legal guardian in terms of communicating with you about how she's doing at college.  You may pay the bills or may help with the bills of your daughter going to college, but the university – you can't have a conversation with the university about your daughter.

 And so, truthfully, young men, frankly, want you to give up that right a little earlier than the age of 18.

Bob: Do you remember how long it was from the time you walked back into the office until you talked with Ashley, and she was saying, "What did he say?  What did you say?  What did he say?  What did you say?"

Dennis: It was that evening at the dinner table.  We sat down at the dinner table, and she said, "Okay, how did it go, Daddy?"

 And so I relived the whole thing, and it was really cool at the end.  As I recall, Ashley was beaming.  She was really proud that I would care enough to interview her date, and, to my left, was my son, Benjamin, who, at the time, was, as I recall, about 14 maybe 15 years old, and he said, "Dad, I think it's cool that you interviewed Kevin.  In fact, I hope the first young lady that I ask to go out on a date with has a dad who asks to interview me."  And he said, "If I do, I'll know I'm in the right place dating the right young lady."

 And the disappointing thing was, Bob, that I think with the exception of maybe Samuel, I only know of one interview that occurred with my sons.  Frankly, although they didn't date that much, they needed that kind of accountability.  I don't know of a young man today who doesn't need that kind of man-to-young man accountability that occurs because of that conversation.

Bob: And as far as you know, the date went okay with Ashley and Kevin?

Dennis: Yeah, uneventful, got her in on time.  Actually, I made a real point about what time he was to bring her in, and I made a point that it was ahead of time, and I gave him a generous, you know, a generous curfew so that they didn't have to rush back and break traffic laws and speed, because that's not what you want them doing, either, you know?

Bob: Right, right.

Dennis: But we talked about all that.  We talked our way through what they were going to do at the event they went to and then afterwards and what time we could expect her to be home.

Bob: And she came in with her lipstick still in place, right?

Dennis: Absolutely.  He was a gentleman, as far as I know, because he knew I was going to ask him to see if he had been a gentleman with my daughter.

Bob: I have to imagine that a lot of dads who are going to get a book like this are going to look at it and think, "I wouldn't say it exactly that way.  I don't know that I'd phrase it that way, or I don't know that I'd ask that question."  You're not saying that this is the canon when it comes to doing this.

Dennis: No, no, no, no, no.  The point is how are you going to do it?  You know, craft your own interview.  This is just meant to guide in the process, and I think, most importantly, Bob, I think there's two things men need – I think they need these eight steps, these eight bullets, to have the conversation with a young man about and then, secondly, I think they need the encouragement. 

 They need the cheerleader, and this is really a fun book where you're going to laugh a lot, and you're going to enjoy hearing how I went about doing it, and when you finish it, I think you'll see how simple it is and how easily it can be done.

Bob: Mm-hm.  And guys who do want to hear it can actually hear this book now because we have the audiobook available so you can take your choice.  You can either get copies of the hardback book, which is an easy book to read.  I think it's less than 100 pages, but it spells out for a guy the steps in the process of the interview.

 Or you can order the audiobook, which is very well produced.  I'm real pleased with the job that you and our team did in putting this together.  The audiobook is available in our FamilyLife Resource Center as well.  Go to our website,  You can click on the red "Go" button that you see on the home page right in the middle of the screen.  That will take you to the area of the site where there is more information about the hardback book or about the audiobook, and you can purchase quantities of either the hardback book or the audiobook at a discounted price.

 We've had some men who have contacted us and said, "I'm interested in passing this out to other dads at our church or at the Christian school where my kids go, or even guys at work."  It's a great way to begin to engage guys in a discussion about parenting that might lead to a discussion about spiritual matters.

 Again, our website is  Click the red "Go" button you see in the middle of the screen for more information about these resources, or call 1-800-FLTODAY.  That's 1-800-358-6329; 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.

 You know, there's a group of folks who are regular listeners to FamilyLife Today that I want to say a thank you to.  It's those of you who, from time to time, make a donation to our ministry to help support FamilyLife Today.  We're listener-supported, and those donations are vital for us to continue on this station and on other stations all across the country.

 This week we wanted to make available a special thank you gift for anyone who can make a donation to FamilyLife Today.  We had Tim and Joy Downs on our program a few weeks ago talking about conflict in marriage – the seven different conflicts that are common to all marriage relationships. 

 We got a great response to those programs, and so we thought we'd make the two-CD set of that broadcast available to our listeners this week to any of you who can help with a donation of any amount for the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  If you'd like to make a donation online, you can do that by going to our website,, and as you fill out the donation form, if you're interested in the CDs, just type the word "seven" in the keycode box when you come to that.

 Again, the word is "seven," and that will let us know that you'd like to get these CDs as our thank you for your financial support.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY and make your donation over the phone, and if you do that, just mention you'd like the CDs on conflict and, again, we're happy to send them out to you.  It's our way of saying thanks for your financial support of the ministry.  We appreciate your partnership with us in what God is doing through the work of FamilyLife Today.

 Well, tomorrow we want to go through the eight steps to no regrets, the eight steps of what a dad needs to do as he interviews his daughter's potential date, and I hope you can be with us for that.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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