We’ve considered over the last couple of weeks the fact that our modern casual dating culture is a perversion of the gospel and that part of reestablishing a Christian culture of love and marriage is the reestablishment of real parental authority and guidance in this realm, particularly by fathers. But these are enormous steps to take, and as any builder knows, you cannot just show up to the job site and order a house to be built. If you want a house to look a certain way, it takes months of preparation, laying the foundation and ordering what you’ll need for the next phase, then framing it out, and making sure you have crews getting ready to wire it and lay the plumbing. Likewise, a parent cannot suddenly take their teenager aside one day and say you’re not allowed to date and by the way I’m in charge. The parent that feels the need to do this has already failed. He has shown up to the job site while the builders are just finishing up, and he ordered two more bedrooms and a bigger basement. The time for figuring out basement size and number of bedrooms is at the beginning not the end of the project. So also, the work of parenting daughters and sons during the last years they spend in your home is something that builds on many years of faithful preparation. In other words, you should begin teaching and training your children now for what you want them to be like then. It won’t do to say that you ‘just want a nice basement and don’t bother me with the details please’, and then get upset when your car doesn’t fit in the garage. What Godly parents want later must be thoughtfully and prayerfully taught and prepared for now. If you want your daughter to trust you when it comes to finding a spouse, you must teach her to trust you all the way up to that point. If you want your son to have the wisdom and courage to choose and marry a godly and virtuous woman as his wife, you must train him to be growing in that kind of wisdom and that kind of courage now so that he will have it then.