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Family dinner

He Says: My daughter and her boyfriend aren’t spending the night together in our house

Our daughter is bringing her boyfriend home and wants to spend the night in the same room. Sue says OK, I say no way.

She Says: It seems ridiculous to fight this – they live together

Our daughter is 25 and lives with her boyfriend – Bob’s insistence on separating them seems ridiculous.

Parents who raise their children to be moral, only to watch them make immoral choices, may get some idea of what God goes through when he watches us choose to sin. God remains ever patient, welcoming and forgiving, but he also, out of love for us, holds firm to what is right and good for us. That’s how we should we be with our children.

For starters, before you even talk to your daughter reaffirm (note the root word, “firm”) for yourselves the underlying Catholic moral values. God made sex and marriage to go together, and it is a “grave” matter to go against his design. (CCC 2353) Next, agree that, both in what you say and how you say it, you will let your daughter know that you love her regardless of her living situation.

Second, make sure she and her boyfriend know not only that they are welcome in your home, but that you indeed look forward to spending time with them.

Third, let them know that if they want to stay with you, you would be happy to arrange two separate sleeping spaces for them. Assure them that this is not a judgment against them but only an affirmation of your own Catholic values.

It is not ridiculous to be polite and clear about what is allowed and not in one’s own home. Your daughter and her boyfriend would certainly be within their rights to do the same, say, by asking visitors not to smoke in their home. It’s the same principle: “While it’s not our place to judge people for what they do in their own place, it is our place to set limits on what people can do in our place.”

Finally, if sleeping in separate spaces is not something they care to abide by, that’s OK,; they’re adults, and they can choose to spend the night elsewhere. But let them know that you still want to spend as much time with them as possible. Focus on your love for them and your desire to stay connected.