A Dating Checklist for Latinas

As a father of two Latina daughters I have had my encounters with young men who were of less character than I was expecting when they wanted to date my daughters. Now granted, we are talking about High School age youth, but at the same time you wonder if their parents where really parenting and shaping virtuous qualities into these young men. Over the years, with my own daughters and many other young Latina ladies from church and the Unknownworkplace, I have noticed that many Latinas struggle with Latino male selection. For example, I know of a Latina who has been married twice. She has mentioned a few times her regret in Latino male selection. When she looks back into her life, she questions herself; was it my immaturity or stupidity, or are all male Latinos self-centered with a sprinkle of Machismo? As a minister, I have seen many examples of pregnant, unmarried or uncommitted, Latinas and I wonder – where is their male counterpart? They are nowhere to be found. What happened with the male selection or discernment process of these young and naïve Latinas? After reflecting on many fronts about his subject matter I have identified five criteria Latina’s should consider placing on their checklist when dating or selecting a male companion. This first one is fundamental…

1. Is he working?
Perhaps you’re thinking – this guy is really insensitive to the Latino male struggle in finding employment in today’s economic topsy-turvy world. Not really! When you are selecting a male companion you must first consider is this man stable? One of the ways to do this is to work on your discernment skills by ask ing yourself a few questions:

a. Is he working?
b. Is he dedicated to his work?
c. Can he keep a job?
One thing is for certain, you don’t want to commit to a Latino male if he is not working or is constantly “in and out” of jobs. Why? It’s an issue of character, an unwillingness to learn from others and one who is not totally engaged and dedicated by keeping and maintaining a job.

2. Is he a moral and ethical man?
The second item on your checklist is simple – Is this man honest and sincere? If you desire an immoral and unethical man you will have marital problems of huge proportions down the road. The reason for this is when times get tough, your man will cut corners, compromise and cheat to meet an end. Is this the type of boyfriend or husband you want? Perhaps, but I would rather place my money toward your more intellectual side of male selection.

3. Does he know where he is going?
The third item of your checklist is simple – does your man know where he is going? What I mean is, has he found purpose for his life? Does he possess vision for himself and the route he will be taking for his life? A person who has purpose has one distinguishing quality absent from other males – he is confident in whom he is (identity), and the direction he is going (destiny driven)? When challenged he confidently states his opinion and sticks with it, regardless of the backlash. Another test is the test of passion. Vision and purpose energizes a man with passion. When a man lacks passion, you know he is also deficient in self-confidence and life purpose.

4. What does he do on his spare time?
I asked a Latina female friend of mine one day – what did you do this weekend? She responded in emphatic tone saying, “Nothing!” I responded, “You had two whole days to do something. C’mon, you had to have done something worthwhile.” She paused and said, “My fiancé watched football all day on Sunday, and he was too tired on Saturday to do anything.” I thought to myself, “And you intend to marry this man?” Now, when I see her on occasion I am noticing a bit of unhappiness, emptiness and a deep longing for affection. I understand that we need rest and relaxation but not at the expense of developing relationship. I would suggest that you find a man who loves a balance between recreation as well as retreating… with you!

5. Is he spiritually attuned and aligned?
Finally, unless you are given to the nightlife, “clubbing” scene and the uncommitted male relationship, I would suggest that you find a man who is spiritually attuned and aligned with the values you desire to see in yourself and eventually your children. I have witnessed too many Latinas committing themselves too soon to a man, blinded by love, making decisions they will later regret. This blindness makes them hang onto their significant others “words” that they are Christian/Catholic or spiritually engaged. When the time comes for spiritually engagement or substance, it is missing miserably.

I know I have been tough in these five recommendations… I have a few more that will address on another blog post. However, I have also witnessed countless of Latina lives destroyed by wrong male selection. I would hope Latino fathers are teaching their daughters by being examples of what long-term relationships should look like.


A Father’s Scrapbook of Precious Moments

Oh boy, where do I begin? What a blessing it has been to raise two wonderful daughters! The flip side is, a father must come to grips one day when he will have to release them into the hands of another man. If I was making the rules, I’d keep them the way they are but that’s not what the Designer intended. Therefore, I must suspend my desires for their destiny.

On October of 2007 I was fortunate to walk my firstborn daughter down the wedded aisle. At the age of twenty-two Ashley married a wonderful young man. I remember a few weeks prior to the event, friends would ask me – how’s the father of the bride (FOB) doing? I would simply hide my emotions, and respond, “I’m doing fine.” I was, however, an emotional mess as tears would suddenly emerge at the most random times. In one instance, three days before the grand event my younger daughter came into town, taking a short reprieve from college, to play a key part in her sister’s bridal party. During a memorable evening with the family my two daughters’ joined in a spontaneous dance in the middle of the living room; tears immediately streamed down my cheeks, as I reflected upon what seemed to be such a short time ago, as children, they danced and played in the same place. Letting go is not easy but it’s part of life’s transitions.

As soon as I got over this one, another fine young man entered the picture. He dated my youngest daughter for awhile. In June 2010, he took me out to breakfast and asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage. In August 2010, he took her to the top of the Grand Canyon to propose to her. The photographer he secretly invited took an amazing picture in real time. It was certainly a “Kodak” moment.

Now, as my younger daughter’s wedding day approaches this Saturday, March 12th 2011, I have been experiencing a broad range of mixed emotions once again, from grief to great joy. There is something that goes through a father’s mind and soul, as he prepares to give the most precious thing in his life away to another man. I don’t know about other fathers, for me it has been an emotional rollercoaster in both cases. In this second go around, I begin to cry while watching a movie where two people are falling in love or when random thoughts enter my mind about the wedding day. I can’t help it, I’m like a leaky water faucet and require an “emotional plumber” to fix the constant dripping.

Having daughters equates to having weddings, and shedding many tears alone just before the “father-daughter walk” down the aisle. If only a father had someone to talk to… somewhere to vent. Life isn’t fair or is it? Don’t misinterpret me! A father shares in his daughter’s joy but his experience is much different. It’s probably the process of release and change that is difficult to grasp, even if it’s good change.

As I prepare myself for my second and last walk down the aisle, I can’t help but to embrace a proud moment and a new son; to create a wonderful memory with my daughter, and enjoy a unique gift to fathers from the Creator’s hand.

The aftermath (written Tuesday, March 15th, 3 days after the grand event):

Well, the day has come and gone but not my tears… All I can say is that I’m blessed beyond measure. My wife and I have been given the privilege of raising and preparing two wonderful daughters for life and marriage. I’m so glad they choose to marry men instead of boys; godly men who will love them, take care of them and treat them as I did or even better. I’m so proud of them. In the meantime, I will continue praying for their success and happiness.

As a father, can you share your experience with our reading audience?