Hypothetical: Let's say your adult daughter invites over her boyfriend. What are you looking for as a parent?


This is purely hypothetical, of course.

I may or may not use this for future reference to improve my “meet the parents” game


Since you specify ADULT daughter, the only two things I would look for is if the man is virtuous and if my daughter is happy. Anything beyond that is between them. Now if you asked about my minor daughter, things would be different. Many more things to be checking out.


He would probably be very nervous, so I’d do my best to make him feel at ease. I would make sure that he knows that you have to be a godly man to date my daughter. If he doesn’t meet my expectations, to Hell with him.


I have two daughters. One has been happily married for 10 years to a man that we love as a son.

The other is unmarried and has had 5 serious relationships, all failed.

I don’t think a parent has much say in what an adult daughter does.

That being said, one of my biggest concerns would be if the man is addicted to anything other than coffee or sugar. Even sugar might be an issue–I’m addicted (or at least undisciplined!) to sugar, and it costs a lot of money and is not good for my health. And when it comes to addictions to things like porn, TV, video games, etc.–I can’t imagine my daughter getting interesting in anyone who ignores her for junk like that. But you never know.

However, I’m mainly concerned about the more deadly addictions–drugs, alcohol, gambling. These can not only destroy the man addicted, but sweep her up in their evil grasp and kill her.

I also hope that she chooses wisely when it comes to a man’s willingness to work hard and earn a living. So far, all five men that she has dated are work fanatics just like her. They have all worked at multiple jobs and when not working, are usually busy doing an interesting hobbyor sport.

I think women get into trouble when they marry a man who “isn’t concerned about material things.” (Translation–doesn’t want to work when he can live off his girlfriend’s or wife’s income!). There are plenty of jobs out there for a willing man (or woman), and I would expect a decent man to be working hard to provide for any woman he claims to love.


I would look for the same qualities I do in anyone else. Honesty, respect for parents and family, a good sense of humor, be moral, be virtuous, a non drinker, non smoker, an animal lover. (You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their parents and animals.)

He would have to attend Mass regularly. Devotion to Our Lord and Lady is a must.

Would have to be gainfully employed.

So many more but all I can think of right now.


This is (hopefully) a “duh,” but a basic ability to make (and/or keep up with) normal, everyday conversation. Good manners and etiquette. These are skills that even shy people can learn (I should know!) :wink:


I have only daughters…so, this is something that will come up eventually.

He needs to be respectful, motivated, and…most importantly…selfless. Those are qualities I looked for in a husband…and these are non negotiables I want to instill in my daughters.

I would love for my daughter to marry a wonderful, Catholic man and give me a hoard of grandchildren…but I’m realistic.

I just want my daughters to be loved and respected for who they are as women…wherever they are in life.

These young men also need to impress my husband…and that is an entirely different ballgame.


They must have a fear of dad!


Agree with the first part, but people can be addicted to work too. It’s not necessarily a good thing to be a “work fanatic” and that would be a red flag for me. Men (or women) who are addicted to their jobs can also destroy their families and make things very hard for the spouse and kids.

OP, I’d be hoping my daughter finds someone who knows where his priorities are, and knows how to balance the demands of life accordingly. But in the end, if we’re talking about an adult daughter, hopefully my husband and I have done well enough at exemplifying a good relationship and raising her that she discerns wisely. By the time someone is an adult, the ship has sailed on having much to say about who she chooses to date. I hope she ends up with someone kind and faithful, who is polite and wants to take care of her. But also who understands that marriage and family circumstances can be fluid, and who believes that you can’t plan out every part of your life but is rather willing to work together with her to make it work.


Aside from the usual things you look for, I was never happy if he couldn’t look me and my husband in the eye while conversing. The first visit or two, I cut some slack on this because I know what it is to be shy. By the third visit, it was a deal breaker for me. We are down to earth people, so by then if he wasn’t comfortable enough to look us in the eye, it wasn’t going to work. LOL. My daughter is happily married to a real gem who, incidentally, has no trouble looking us in the eye!!! :slight_smile:


What am I looking for as a father?

Center mass.


Center mass?


I think he’s making a joke.

“Center mass” refers to the center of a person’s body. Usually when a person is being taught to shoot a gun or other weapon, they’re told that if they’re afraid for their life they should aim for center mass. Reason being that it’s a wide area so you have a good chance of hitting something, plus that’s where the vital organs are so you have a better chance of disabling your target.

In all seriousness, I would be looking for someone who treats me, my husband, and our daughter with respect. A firm handshake, a polite greeting, and some attention paid to our cats go a long way. Intelligent conversation and some semblance of a 5-year plan are also assets. (By “some semblance”, I mean he should at least have some idea about the direction his life is going. He doesn’t necessarily need to have it all planned out, but at least he should have a decent job or a concrete plan to get a decent job.)


I agree that a work addiction is not good for anyone in the family.

However, nowadays so many people have the idea that if they can’t get their dream job, they won’t take any job. When a man has a family to support, he needs to be willing to step up and do whatever is necessary to support them.

That doesn’t mean providing luxuries, a huge home, a fancy car, an exclusive private school. But it does mean taking on the responsibility of providing the shelter, food, clothing, health care, etc. or making it possible for his wife to work to help provide some or all of these basic needs. (Sometimes a wife’s job will provide the health care benefits.)

There’s a really good song called Illusive Dreams about a man who is praising his wife for putting up with his “illusive dreams.” I think a lot of men have illusive dreams–they want to stop working at an office and move to Alaska and live off the land. Or perhaps they want to move away from the family farm and become a musician in the nearby Big City! Or maybe they want to train for the Iron Man Triathlon (pretty much a full-time job from what I’ve heard!)

I think that dreams are wondrful–but if a man spends more time dreaming than doing–I’m not sure he would be a good husband. SOMEONE has to step up and earn a paycheck (or two) in every family.


So if he’s not Catholic it would be safe to assume that you’d show him the door immediately?


If he isn’t Catholic, he has to be willing to convert if he isn’t already in RCIA.

If not, he knows where the :door: is…


But what if your daughter falls in love with a Protestant?


A) I’m glad my mother-in-law didn’t have the same attitude towards the potential of marrying a non-Catholic as you. She would have missed out on a great son-in-law and 3 awesome grandkids.

B) Are you willing to carry that attitude even if it means your adult daughter may choose him over you? If you show him the door, she might just follow him out.

Seems a bit short sighted to me.


This is a hypothetical situation not real life.


Still seems shortsighted to me, even though the situation is hypothetical…maybe that’s just me.

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