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In God’s kindness, I had the privilege of meeting and spending a little time with Fred Zaspel during the Ocean City Bible College.  I was impressed with the evident way Fred loves his wife, Kim, and his children.  His passion for the word of God and for Christ our Savior is evident.  And don’t get him started talking about Warfield!  He’s written a wonderful book on Warfield’s theology.  But Fred possesses a rich sense of humor, too.  And that’s come through not only in our conversation but also in our emails recently.  Here’s an example of why Fred’s a man after my own heart:

Daddy’s Rules for Dating His Daughters

Rule One:

If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two:

You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:

I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four:

I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "Barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five:

It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is: "early"

Rule Six:

I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven:

As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is getting ready, a process than can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight:

The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter:  Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden tool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to introduce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine:

Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house.

Rule Ten:

Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveways you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car - there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.


Some may be uncomfortable with the threats and allusions to violence.  But I’ve got to go out and by an electric nail gun!

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64 thoughts on “Daddy’s Rules for Dating His Daughters”

    1. Paul says:

      But does God love it? Or does he find it fleshly and carnal?

  1. Gina Zaspel says:

    Fred Zaspel’s daughter again….I think I like this one even more! :)

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Gina,
      So glad to hear from you! It’s great to see a daddy’s girl totally appreciate how dads feel about dating :-)

    2. William says:

      Gina, your father is my hero! My daughter is only four and I am already agree with the rules your pops has laid out! Except the one about Vietnam, I’ve got Irag war syndrome… I’m prone to see any boy approaching my home as “the enemy!”

      Good luck dating Gina… Good luck… Oh, and Fred, email me if you need help operating that shovel!

      1. Paul says:

        But if you are a Christian and the boy is a Christian shouldn’t you love him in Christ as God commands. How can you be right with God if you hate someone’s son for dating your daughter. Also would you be fine with the boy’s mom hating your daughter. My guess would be no and you would be upset if she demanded your daughter to respect her son.

    3. Paul says:

      I take your dad is not big on thy neighbor. Or maybe love thy neighbor unless he’s dating your daughter then it’s perfectly okayou to hate him. I missed that verse in the Bible.

  2. Awinst01 says:

    No offense – these are great rules, but weren’t most of them taken from W. Bruce Cameron’s Book “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter”? Some of them are almost word for word identical to his list. Just thought he might deserve some credit for the borrowed material.

    1. Fred Zaspel says:

      I’ve wondered what exceptionally insightful father first came up with this – good to know. Thanks!

      1. David Booth says:

        hi Dr Fred Zaspel your humor. Tried to email you at the biblical studies site address but it keeps bouncing.

        1. Fred Zaspel says:

          I can be reached through our church website — Thanks.

      2. Paul says:

        Buy not theologically sound

      3. Paul says:

        So Pastor where is the exclusion clause for loving daughter’s boyfriend’s in the Bible. Because if you are threatening to kill or maim them, calling them idiots, trying to force themyself into indentured servitude then you are not loving them as Christ commsnds.

      4. Paul says:

        So would it be okay if the boy’s mom had rules for your daughter and threatened to kill her? Was your wife allowed to have rules for your son’s girlfriend?

      5. Paul says:

        So have you ever considered that these rules of yours may hinder the gospel?

      6. Paul says:

        Also sir if only boys are evil and girls are good how do you explain Proverbs 7.

    2. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Thanks for the reference. Do you have a link?

      1. Joshua says:

        The book is W. Bruce Cameron’s “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter”. It was adapted into an ABC sitcom from 2002-2005

        The 8 simple rules are detailed on the trivia page of the ABC show’s information:

        The original book is on amazon ( The chapter begins on page 229.

    3. Paul says:

      But does God consider theme great rules?

  3. L. says:

    This must be a hoax. This must be a hoax. No, seriously…

    How about letting the daughter have a say in whom she wants to date, and what she wants to do? How about trusting that you’ve raised her to be a responsible person with good judgment?

    1. Gina Zaspel says:

      He does trust me. But you have to admit, these rules are so over the top hilarious! Just so much fun! :)

  4. samuel222 says:

    This is satire, right? Because I cannot tell if it is, which means it is either very /good/ satire, or terrifying reality.

    1. Dakota says:

      I hope this isn’t satire!
      I am a girl.
      I have a dad.
      I sure hope these rules are his rules!
      If they are: I respect them and him.
      I would feel more loved to have my Dad chuck a guy out (that I liked and he didn’t) than have him say to me “Well, if you like him that’s your choice…” and take absolutely no interest in my life.

      1. Paul says:

        But when you are the mother of a son will you be fine with a man threatening to hurt or kill your son while at the same time holding no accountability for his daughter and her actions?

      2. Paul says:

        But how are you going to feel when you have a son and some lunatic is threatening to maim or kill him? Perhaps you will see these rules for being the anti Christian nonsense that they are.

  5. Paul says:

    What a wonderful post. I was forced to stop reading part of the way through because I was so overcome by the way in which it embodies the teachings of our savior, particularly Christ’s compassion and love for all. I am thankful, though, to have been able to continue through rule #3, as I had never thought to convey objection to modern fashion trends with a nail gun, echoing the way Christ was nailed to the cross to redeem us from our sins.

    Thank you for this example of living Christ’s teachings – truly they will know we are Christians by our love.

    1. Geoff says:

      Give me a break!

      1. Paul says:

        Well you do have to admit these rules contradict the teachings of Christ. These are not a product of the fruit of the Spirit but of the flesh.

    2. Paul says:

      Don’t listen to the naysayers Paul. They shown that they have little regard for God’s word.

  6. Allen Mickle says:

    Knowing Fred, I can say this is a great example of half in jest, full in earnest. :) Love the nail gun.

    1. Paul says:

      Though would he be okay with the boy’s mom hating his daughter like he hates the boy?

    2. Paul says:

      Does he allow his wife to have similar rules for his sons girlfriend?

  7. Meghan says:

    I’ve read these before, years ago…the guy is plagiarizing if he’s claiming them as his own.

    By the way, does he have sons? And are they offered the same “protections”? Either way this whole thing is extremely sexist, why do only the daughter’s dates have these rules?

    1. jo says:

      Because sons don’t get pregnant.

      1. Paul says:

        Yes Jo but a son can still get into a bad relationship but I guess that’s okay.

    2. Jonathan says:

      Obviously, you are not a father of a daughter.

      1. Paul says:

        Do you’re saying dads should only love their daughters and not make sure their son is dating the right person?

      2. Paul says:

        I did know a pastor whose son was dating a girl he did not approve of and wanted the relationship to end because he felt she was not right for him. Are you saying he was wrong since he was not a daughter?

      3. Paul says:

        So being the father of a daughter makes it okay to toss Christ’s commands aside?

  8. Todd says:

    For those of you who cannot understand the humor it is obvious that either you don’t have a daughter or you don’t love her as you ought. Obviously trust is a huge issue with your children. But the bible says that the heart is full of deception and desperately wicked… So young men who have intentions to date one’s daughter may have other intentions that are not shall we say admirable. I’d say it would be the foolish father to entrust their daughter to such a young man. Thanks for this post, my wife and I got a good laugh.

    1. Paul says:

      Yes but the problem with this article and your post is that daughters also have that deceptive heart and not just boys. I know the fathers here will be offended by this but your little girl is not sinless and not perfect. Sorry. It’s also sad that you don’t belive a boy is capable of loving God and wanting to do what is right. Or that the boy’s parents are such incompetent fools they can’t possibly raise him with any character. Must be great for the parents of the boys who date your daughter to hear they are such failures.

    2. Paul says:

      Or could it be Todd that your deceptive heart is telling you that God is fine with making murderous threats towards boys?

    3. Paul says:

      So it’s okay to kill a boy because his heart his deceptive. Chapter and verse please. Sounds to me also you either don’t have a son or love him as you ought if you find nothing wrong with this garbage.

  9. Thabiti says:

    This was very interesting and I can see you saying some of this when your girls start dating. Look out girls.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      I already say some of these things! :-)
      But I have a question for you: Is your name really “Thabiti” too?

  10. James H says:

    Well said! Way to go, Fred – as a father to 5 daughters and 3 sons so far, I must say: you read my mind.

    Except, if anyone tries to date any of my daughters, they will be introduced to their Maker.

    (( I will leave that up for interpretation. ))

    1. Paul says:

      And what will your maker say when you stand before Him after murdering another man’s son. Also is it okay if someone kills one of your sons for simply want to date their daughter. And can the boy’s mom want to kill your daughter.

  11. mark mercado says:

    original or not, sexist or not, very funny, and very visual.
    good humor, and honestly, what is wrong with a father trying to protect his “little girl”

    1. Paul says:

      How Biblical or not. Or does that not matter anymoe?

  12. Stacey says:

    Cute :) Yes, I can see why some might be offended by the humor, but the bottom line is a Daddy who loves his girl enough to protect her. God loves us like that, and I’m glad. I didn’t grow up with someone who was willing to step up on my behalf, and as God teaches me that I am His treasure, I rejoice!

    Thanks for the post. And to those of you who are offended, and I say this in kindness because I used to be there too…lighten up!

    1. Paul says:

      What about God should He lighten up?

  13. geoff says:

    wow… if she’s anything like her father… no thanks, he can keep her. ;-)

  14. felicia says:

    i though my father was the only one had strict rules for guys that date me.

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  16. Paul says:

    So with rule six if the boy’s parents object to their dating his daughter he’s going to force the boy to anyway in violation of the 5th commandment. I guess they didn’t teach that at hisome Bible College along with that God frowns on murder, violence, and making threats to fellow Christians.

  17. Paul says:

    Also dads who post these rules are not interested in the gospel. Because if you were truly concerned with the boy’s soul you wouldn’t be threatening sad. I mean kind of sad if the boy comes into contact with but goes to he’ll for all eternity because you never witnessed to him or turned him away from Christ. But hey at least he treated your daughter like a spoiled princess and that is all that matters right.

  18. Paul says:

    Rule nine shouldn’t God and God alone be the God of his universe? And isn’t calling yourself heresy? Also shouldn’t you have mercy because we are called to be Christ like and He is merciful? Again explain to me how Christians should support this?

  19. Paul says:

    Another thing that bothers me about this is that you are telling Christian boys that they are incapable of doing what’s right and control themselves not even with God’s help. And teaching them they are nothing but lying, violent sexual predators. Wow you guys really love your sons.

  20. Kara says:

    I realise that these are somewhat “humourous” but I find these posts disturbing. Fathers, you love your daughters but they are not your property, you do not own their bodies or their sexuality. You suppose that girls do not have sexual feelings of their own and that they are little more than victims or playthings. As a parent to a son and a daughter, I have brought them up to respect themselves and others and to know the difference between right and wrong.

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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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