What is your teen daughter’s view of romance?

Written by Robin Jones Gunn
Published on May 05, 2023

Last week my friend’s daughter said, “When I get married, if my fiancé doesn’t cry when I start walking down the aisle, I’m going to turn around and leave.”

At first, she wanted to laugh but then realized her daughter was serious. She realized a steady diet of movies and social media had shaped her teen’s view of romance.

“What did you do?” my friend asked. “When your daughter was this age, how did you shape her view of romance and realistic relationships?”

I smiled because the best conversation I had with my teen daughter about love and romance happened unexpectedly. 

“To be honest,” I told my friend. “It started with a Scandinavian folktale.”

Hopeful romantics

I heard the romantic tale of Midsummer’s Eve tradition, and I knew my winsome daughter would love it. The tale states that if a maiden picks seven wildflowers and sleeps with them under her pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, she will dream of the man she will marry.

We lived in the Northwest and on that June day, my daughter had a friend come for a sleepover. I asked the girls that afternoon if they wanted to go for a walk and help me pick wildflowers. They weren’t interested. Then I told them the folktale.

They casually changed their minds and joined me on the trail that led into a nearby woods. I loved hearing them warm up to the silliness by asking me questions that had no answer. “If I pick only yellow flowers, will the guy in my dreams be blond?” “What if I pick blue flowers? Does that mean he will be wearing a blue shirt?”

That night, when they were in bed with the flowers tucked under their pillows, my daughter asked, “Mom? Was dad the only guy you ever fell in love with?”

I decided it was time to tell her my story, starting with the broken engagement that shattered my heart in college. I thought I loved that guy, but the foundation was a romance crafted of songs, poems, and dreams for our future house. Not much attention was placed on God or anything that would bring us closer to him. 

“I met your dad two years later,” I said. “My view of what really mattered had changed a lot. I learned that marriage is about partnering side-by-side as you both become the person God created you to be. For us, the real romance happened after we were married.”

My eyes clouded when I told the girls that real love is deep and sacred. Love is rooted in an unswerving commitment to each other. There is nothing more intimate than having your hearts knit together through prayer. 

They listened closely. I hadn’t expected their keen interest. It felt natural to talk about love and first kisses and also about trusting God to bring the right man into your life as you grow closer to Jesus. They loved it.

Sharing the secret

I asked if they remembered what God’s Word said about love: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (I Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV).

“Nobody thinks or acts that way,” my daughter’s friend said.  

“I’ll tell you a secret,” I whispered. They leaned closer. “There are people in this world who love like that. When a husband and wife are learning together to be equally patient and kind and neither insists on always getting their own way, it is the most romantic, intimate, and lasting love affair on the planet.”

Before I left my daughters’ room that night, I prayed God would be the author and finisher of their love stories. I also prayed for the men God might be preparing for them to love completely one day.

The next morning, the girls couldn’t wait to come downstairs and tell me the remembered bits of their dreams. We laughed a lot. They were sure they had “almost seen” their true love, but then woke up before his face came into view.

When I told all this to my friend, she said, “I like that you entered the fairytale of romance with them. I usually go straight to lecture mode.”

I confessed there had been many times when I jumped into instructions and warnings about irrational expectations. I’m sure those points were important and true. My daughter listened to some of those talks. I think. 

What she and I both remember are the wildflowers and the night she decided she wanted to marry a man who loved God.

And she did.

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Robin Jones Gunn

Robin Jones Gunn is the author of more than 100 books with nearly six million copies sold worldwide, including her popular Christy Miller series and her nonfiction titles, Victim of Grace and Praying For Your Future Husband, coauthored with Tricia Goyer. Her newest book, also coauthored with Tricia Goyer, is Before You Meet Your Future Husband. A frequent speaker at local and international events, Gunn lives in California with her husband.

Read more about Robin

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