I began training to be a mother when I was two-years-old. That was my age when my little brother made his appearance into the world and so did my new baby doll. I called her Baby Beth. My mom gave me Baby Beth so I had a baby to take care of while she took care of my new brother.
It wasn’t long before, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say I wanted to be a mommy. Playing with dolls was my favorite pastime, but not just any doll would do. My dolls had to be completely plastic – no fabric or stuffing – because I wanted them to be as life-like as possible.
From the outside I looked like a typical little girl, but those days became about more than just my imagination. I dreamed of one day getting married and having my own family. Through playing with my dolls, observing my own mother and family, and even having expectations about my future, a desire deep within my heart was nurtured, and preparation to fulfill that desire took place.
Even though nothing fully prepares a woman for marriage, after college I felt like my experiences prepared me enough. I hoped and expected that I would get married soon afterwards. I wasn’t prepared for what happened instead.
For the next ten years of my life, despite my intense desire for marriage, I was a single woman. If I had even an ounce of marriage preparation, I had zero preparation for a prolonged season of singleness.
It is no secret that young people are waiting longer to get married. This makes the number of single adults higher than the number in previous generations. According to a Pew Research Report, in 2011, 20% of adults ages 18-29 were married, compared to 59% in 1960.
As Christians, we know the sanctity and purpose of marriage as a part of God’s design. Genesis 2:18 makes it clear that marriage is God’s will for most people’s lives. Because of this, many Christian parents rightfully encourage and even expect their adult children to marry.
But what happens when marriage does not happen soon into your daughter’s adult life? What happens when your daughter crosses into her 30’s and is still unwed?
As much as we would like to pretend that this scenario would never be a part of our daughter’s story, statistically it most likely will be for at least some period of time. There is much speculation of the reasons young adults delay marriage or don’t marry at all. Delayed adolescence, pursuing personal goals and education, and sexual sin are some of them. However, the reasons for prolonged singleness do not change the need to equip our daughters should that season become a reality for them.
There are many resources, especially blogs, to help mothers equip their daughters in their future roles as wives and mothers. All of these resources are needed because if a young woman is called to marriage and motherhood, they will be her primary ministries. However, today’s daughters need more than marriage and motherhood preparation. With all of the struggles they face in our changing culture, our daughters need preparation in being women complete through their identity in Christ.
Here are five ways to prepare your daughter for singleness:
1. Teach her to hope for marriage and trust God’s plan.
Our culture continues to dilute marriage and emphasize independence teaching women that marrying young stifles their opportunities. By no means should we buy into this worldly perspective and tell our daughters that they’re better off intentionally prolonging singleness.
However, we should teach them to hope for marriage while trusting God’s plan for their lives. Teaching our daughters to trust God’s plan for their lives prepares them to live a life surrendered to God and not themselves.
2. Build-up her identity in Christ.
It is interesting that even though young women are encouraged to put-off marriage, they are still stigmatized for not marrying within a certain time frame. This is because there is a root belief that our worth comes from a husband and marriage instead of from Christ.
From the time our daughters are small, we need to model for them that their identity comes from Christ alone. No relationship or circumstance can add to a woman’s worth. All of her worth is in Jesus. Modeling this for our daughters equips them to be secure single women and make wise decisions out of their true identity.
3. Emphasize God’s love story and not fairytales.
Again, the irony of our culture is that it celebrates a woman’s independence while at the same time promoting fairy tales of knights-in-shining-armor rescuing the princess. There is no doubt that God designed women to desire the security and stability that marriage is intended to give them. However, God’s story is not a fairytale for our own personal consumption and “happily ever after.”
God’s love story is about bringing people into a relationship with Him and reconciling people to Him. As Christians, He invites us into His story by using our lives to accomplish His purposes. Young women need to understand that God’s primary purpose is not to make their lives a perfect fairy tale but to draw them close to Him so that they will be a part of His story. Whether single or married, it does not matter. God wants every woman to be a part of His story.
4. Help her make a plan for her single years.
Even with the hope for marriage, we need to help our daughters make a plan for their single years. This plan should include asking God what life goals He is leading her to along with steps to help her accomplish those goals.
One mistake I made as a single woman was thinking that all I was made for was to be a wife and mother. Of course now these are my primary and most beloved roles. However, I’ve learned that God has even more for me. He has developed in me interests and passions that I never knew He wanted for me. Help your daughter discover her own passions and what God wants to accomplish in her life outside of being a wife and mother.
5. Mentor her throughout her single years.
Sometimes we assume that when our daughters become adults they do not need or want our guidance any more. I know from experience this is not true. Your daughter needs you to walk beside her and continue to mentor her through her single years. Singleness can be a lonely, fearful time of life. There are highs and there are lows, but single women need their mothers to be their friends and continue to love, support, and guide them.
By preparing our daughters for singleness, we are not dissuading them from marriage. Instead, we are preparing them to be whole women in Christ no matter what season of life they are in. And actually, preparing them well for singleness is the best preparation they can receive for their future marriage too.
Written by Brenda Rodgers