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My daughter has already quite strongly decided she will never marry.


J-rap
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That being said, I don't really know what I'm asking in this thread! It's just something I'm thinking about.

 

We're a Christian family, but have never liked how some church communities push their daughters to believe that their sole holy purpose is to get married and have a family. We believe pretty strongly that not everyone will or should do that, men and women included. We've made a point of telling our girls (and our son, but it seems like the message needs to be a little stronger for girls) that they may or may not get married someday, and either path is fine! They may feel led to do different things in life rather than raising a family. We are conservative in many ways and take our faith very seriously, and we've also raised our children in a very intentionally equal environment, with the view that all things are possible for both genders. We've never assumed that the girls will be the ones to stay home to raise their children, although we strongly have the view that if ONE of the parents can stay home (mom OR dad), it's in the best interest of the children. (Although we know it's not always possible to do it that way.)

 

So, that's a little of our background.

 

But one of our daughters, for about two years now -- but growing stronger every month, it seems -- is adamant about NOT getting married. Again, both my husband and I feel strongly that that is just fine. BUT, I am uncomfortable about her having a stubborn, set view about it, whether it's a view that she MUST get married or must NOT get married.

 

She is very bright, confident, and independent. For example, she has traveled the world (from the U.S. to South America to Europe to Asia to Africa) several times, since she was 17, often alone. She is in her third year of university, and every professor of hers this past semester either offered her a paid internship or asked if she would co-write a paper with them. She is extremely motivated and ambitious.

 

My husband's goal in life was to run for a high political office, but that will never be. I think this daughter has picked up those reins, wanting to begin where her father left off. (She had/has an extremely close relationship with him.)

 

She is a powerful personality. But at the same time, she is also kind, humble, and sensitive to others. She has been my close confidant during the past three extremely difficult years (following my husband's stroke), and is very tender-hearted and giving. She even took a semester off of college so that she could be home, helping my husband in rehab and helping to homeschool her youngest sister.

 

She has been surrounded by loving, committed, and respectful married couples all her life, so it's not like she has only seen marriage at its worst!

 

She is not gay. (In case some are wondering. :))

 

But, I feel she has adopted this very strong stand about not marrying, refusing to date, not wanting to even consider the thought. In most cases, I would say "She's only a child! She'll out grow it!" But this is a 21-year-old who is at the maturity level of a 30-year old in many ways.

 

I just feel like maybe I've pushed her too much to be strong and independent, and now she is feeling that in order to continue on that path, she cannot get married. I also do not want to her feel that I'll be disappointed if she doesn't.

 

Anyway, just some thoughts. Maybe some of you were where she is at now, or have some insight into all of this.

 

Thanks for listening! This was rather long!

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I wouldn't worry about it either. A lot of change and growth happens during one's twenties. She may or may not change her mind, but, as you correctly (imho) taught her, getting married is only one of many possible paths to happiness.

 

Be proud and support her in her personal choices. You've done great, Mom. :)

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I wouldn't worry about it either. I didn't marry until I was 29, had an established career, and owned my own home. And I have friends that still haven't married that are accomplished and happy, that aren't likely to marry. She sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders. You've done a good job parenting. Let her fly! :grouphug:

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You know what? It's okay if she doesn't. There's a WONDERFUL gal at our church who has never had the desire to be married. She is a fabulous aunt to her neices and nephews. Her mother died a few years back so she takes excellent care of her elderly, forgetful father and her disabled brother. She says that she feels that God took the desire for marriage because he knew that she would be needed to care for these loved ones when her mom died too young. God has a plan.

 

He may knock her off of her feet and let her fall in love with someone in the future. But then again he may not.

 

Honestly, if my dd had such big plans to have a time consuming career, I would prefer that she not have children or be married. It would be unfair to her family if she was unable to give them what they needed because of her goals.

 

She may find achieving her goals to fulfill her as much as motherhood/marriage. Or she may turn 30 or 40 and change her mind. Either way it's okay.

 

I would point her toward Nancy Leigh Demoss's work. She was single for many years (I think she's married now) I mean like she didn't marry until in her late 40s. But she was excellent at pointing out that you can be feminine and single, you can nurture and be single, you can be single and still affirm men. Basically she give guidelines to how to be single and still be a Godly lady even when you aren't filling a traditional role of wife and mother.

 

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/

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I'd back off and let it go. She's technically an adult, and your job is on the sidelines now.

 

I was that type of woman. And people said horrible things about me in the conservative churches I attended. The matchmaking was extremely tiresome. The guys others picked for me were completely inappropriate. But I truly wasn't motivated to get married for a long time, and no one came my way that I really felt right about.

 

Eventually I found a man who loved me for who I was after I had been working for over a decade. My only regret is that we didn't cross paths earlier.

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I was the same way at about the same age. I met the man who became my husband when I was 22 and married just before I turned 24. We've been married for ten years now and have had five children.

 

Never, ever would I have imagined my life as it is today. :)

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She sounds like a well-rounded person. I think it is great she is so happy and confident about her life and the choices she makes, perhaps she will reconsider as she gets older and perhaps not who knows. Dh and I thought for sure we would only have 1, maybe 2 kids and were non-religious. Who knows where life will take her.

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I wouldn't worry about it. Seems like right now she is ambitious and her main focus in her career. Years down the road, she may find she has room for a spouse in all that too. And, if she meets the right person, who is to say she won't change her mind? She hasn't right now, so it is easy for her to speak in permanent terms like that.

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I thought the same thing from about age 16-20 or so. Imagine my surprise now, 15 years married and 10 years staying home with my kids! Not everybody needs to get married, for whatever reasons, and she's so young there's no way she can predict what will happen someday. Let it go, so if/when she changes her mind she doesn't get reminded how strongly she felt the other way and feel like she has to stick to that declaration.

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Maybe we need to get our kiddos together. My 20 year old son has been saying the same thing recently. Well, he has added the condition that he might consider it around age 30 :)

 

He, too, is highly motivated and intelligent. He has lots of plans. He is the only one in his peer group (from homeschool and church) who isn't married or in a significant relationship. I think that's part of his reasoning....he sees that many of these kids derailed their plans in order to marry. We've discussed that plans can change and it's always good to be flexible.

 

Who knows what will happen. I, personally, think some gal will sweep him off his feet (and vice versa) but he says that he doesn't have time for a relationship right now.

 

I don't have any advice except that I have one doing something similar so she's not a complete anomaly :)

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I was never having kids...no way, never, I knew what I wanted and they would just get in my way. Then I grew up a bit more.

 

21 is young. If she was 31 then maybe I would wonder if I had encouraged too much independence but even then, is there anything wrong with choosing not to marry? As long as she has a fulfilling, satisfying life and is making the choice because it is what she truly wants and not because she thinks she "has" to for some reason she will be fine.

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Wanting to get married was never on my list of things to do until I had been together for several years with my now DH. And we got married for rather pragmatic reasons.

I see no issue with her not wanting to be married. She may change her mind when she meets a man with whom she can see herself spending her life - or she may not. I do not consider this a problem at all.

 

Btw, I never envisioned myself as a mother either - not until DH and I had been together for several years and started talking about the future.

At 21, I thought neither about marriage nor about motherhood. Different things were important to me at that age.

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Marriage is always a choice, so she will always have the power to decide not to marry, and some women do make that decision.

 

Love, on the other hand, just happens. Some day she may fall madly in love with a man who wants to be married, and them she will have to decide whether this is still the right choice. But for now, I can't see why it bothers you that she seems sure. She would not have achieved so much if she had a wishy washy personality and didn't know what she wants.

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Why if you've told her she could choose her path, is it a big deal. It's her path. It's different from yours. I think the only thing for you to do is to sit back and watch. Cheer on the cool stuff she does do. Be there to talk when she wants.

 

FWIW I only have one dd. I know I will be disappointed if she doesn't marry, but I hope I'll hold that in and support what her choices are.

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Don't worry. I've always strongly encouraged my girls to be independent women. It didn't stop my oldest from getting married and having my first grandchild.

 

When I was 21 marriage was not on my radar. At some point after dh and I met (several years) marriage seemed like the next step, and so we took it. I still didn't think about motherhood for several more years.

 

She has a lot of time.

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I wouldn't worry either. If she changes her mind in the future that's fine. If she doesn't change her her mind in the future that's fine. I knew a single Christian woman who never married and was a trauma surgeon with the US military in Afghanistan. I'm not sure what she's doing now. I know another who was a missionary to China for along time as a single woman. In her late 40s she married and adopted 2 girls from China and returned to the US to homeschool them. Either way, they're both serving God and blessing those around them with their godly lives.

 

I do agree that many evangelical and/or fundamentalist churches forget to teach that long chapters of singleness and life long singleness and being married and childless by choice are just as God honoring as a life of marriage and parenthood. We have to be careful to not accidentally or intentionally send the message that there's something wrong or pitiable about being single or being without children when you don't want to be a parent.

 

I will point out that a friend of mine, now 47 is going through a very difficult time because of her choices about marriage and children. She chose to marry and be childless for several years. Then they had a child by choice. It was another several years and they decided they wanted a big family. Now her kids are 15, 7, and 3 and she has had several miscarriages. It's very unlikely she will carry another baby to term and they're too old to adopt. She deeply deeply regrets her decision to wait so long.

 

Fertility is a finite thing. As long as a woman understands that the later she waits the less likely she will be able to conceive and that there are age limits to adoption, then she has to be prepared for reality if she changes her mind. Most people who opt out or opt to wait know what they're doing and have good reasons for it.

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I'd far rather have her deciding not to marry, and eventually change her mind (or not), than to only want a husband and never find one. I can't count the number of women I know that have been disappointed to be single in their 30s and 40s.

 

And it sounds like she'll need a happening kind of guy to keep up with her. Good for her.

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If it is any consolation, I was sure that I would never choose to marry and NEVER, EVER, EVER have children. I felt this from the time I was 16 right up until the moment I met dh. Now I am a happily married mom of 3!

 

Love is a powerful thing :-)

 

I think my aversion to marriage was great for me. I never chased boys or messed around with relationships. When I met dh I just KNEW. I saved myself a lot of heartbreak by not looking for a husband.

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She sounds fabulous in every way. I wish I had not been so focused on finding a boyfriend and later a spouse in my teen/early 20's years. It absolutely drove many of my life choices in a way that did not have great outcomes. I admire her. She rocks. :)

 

(And yes, she may change her mind. Or not. Either way, she rocks.)

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It's okay. There may be some very wonderful things that she will be able to do because of her singleness. My niece is probably not going to get married (she's 30). She 's a lovely, caring, and well-rounded lady. I know she would like to get married, but she's dated some guys that had us all very worried. I also come from a Christian tradition that embraces singleness in both men and women (not that they all will be nuns or monks - there is a large place at the table for all those who are unmarried). In fact, my godmother is not married and never had children. She's a great blessing to very many people - partly because she has much more time for people and their needs.

 

But, who knows what the future will hold for your dd. :grouphug:

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Piggy backing on PrincessMommy with a question -- what is your daughter's reasoning? (You may have said it above and I'll go back and look). Is your daughter possibly interested in monasticism? I have two daughters (so far) who have indicated an interest in becoming a nun. We have an Orthodox women's monastery within two hours of our home, so they have had interaction with the sisters there, and have stayed there for anywhere from a couple of days to ten days before. One of the two has now said she doesn't think she'll became a nun, and the other one is still up in the air. We will support whatever they determine -- with us, our priest and the abbess of the monastery -- is the path God wants them to take. Orthodox monasticism is a hard but beautiful and very spiritual life.

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At 21 I thought I would have six kids, still be active in the LDS church, and be a working mom- none of which are true for me at 32. I NEVER thought I'd be homeschooling. Keep encouraging her to live a rich live, full of diverse experiences. She has a long time to think about the future.

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My DD says she's never going to have children because she wants to breed and research snakes, and it wouldn't be safe to have both kids and cobras. I figure she has time to change her mind-or at least, to decide NOT to bring her work home with her!

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As a teenager, I never thought I would marry, and I never wanted kids, but things do change....:)

 

I wouldn't worry about it. Women do not have to marry! I also hate how some circles really push that. She can remain single and be very happy. She could remain single and in another 20 years find someone and decide it's time to marry.

 

Let her live her life with joy. What for could a mother want. :)

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One of my college roommates was like this--she was bright, capable, ambitious, and not interested in marriage and family. She is now married with three children.

 

Maybe your daughter will marry, maybe she won't, but I can guarantee some things will turn out differently than what she envisions at age 21.

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She's very young. I don't see the problem here. What is meant by being "too independent", btw? :confused1:

 

My three boys are still quite young and all of them say they'll never marry and none of them want kids. Not an issue. I'll be happy so long as they're happy.

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I really wish I hadn't wasted every waking moment from puberty onward, longing to have a boyfriend and get married. What a waste of over a decade! I plan to teach my girls to live their lives as if they will always be single, then re-evaluate if some guy comes along they can't live without. I hope they listen.

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I may be way off base because I don't know the timing, but could her adamant-ness (yeah, that's a lousy word) be related to your husband's stroke? I know that seeing a parent suddenly become the caretaker for their spouse would certainly have scared me as a young adult. She may be thinking through what most of us ignore at her age.

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My response is: "She just hasn't met him yet."

 

Truly, I'd be much more worried if she was random-boy-crazy, eager to just Be Married.

 

 

Totally agree.

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I think you should talk with her. Try and find out what her reasons are, it may surprise you. I say that because sometimes young adults latch on to an idea and stay with that idea without realizing that there may be many ways around the same thing. She might think that since your Dh might not go on to hold a political position, she would be the one to carry the baton so to speak. She may have other ideas. Let her know that it is ok to be flexible because you do not know what God has in store. She is still young and has a way to go yet. At the same time it is her life and she is an adult and has to make her own decisions.

 

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I was the same way at about the same age. I met the man who became my husband when I was 22 and married just before I turned 24. We've been married for ten years now and have had five children.

 

Never, ever would I have imagined my life as it is today. :)

 

 

 

This is pretty much me, exactly.

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I kind of understand where your daughter is coming from. I felt for quite a while that I'd never have children. I feel a little bad saying it here, but it was actually *because* of the "a parent at home is ideal" message that pervades a lot of the culture around me-- neither my husband nor I wanted to be at home full time, and of course I owed "ideal" conditions to any children I might have or I shouldn't have them at all, right? I got older and wiser, and saw more different types of families around me and watched people I respected making lots of different arrangements work to raise happy kids. Eventually I realized that a parent at home may be ideal if that parent WANTS to be at home, but that there are a lot of different ways to raise kids well and give them the best life you can, and that what's "ideal" is not the same for everyone. (I'm sure if I'd actually asked about this directly a lot of people would have told me this sooner, and probably some did, but I saw things much more in black-and-white at that age than I do now.) I can imagine seeing marriage that way, thinking that being a really "good" spouse meant changing yourself in ways you didn't want to change. I think as we get older we can broaden our ideas about what makes a "good" marriage or spouse or a "good" family, as we meet people who do things in a greater variety of ways and perhaps see ourselves fitting those situations in ways we might never have imagined in our teens or early 20s.

 

This is long-winded, but I'm trying to say that this is probably is a good sign that your daughter is thinking hard about making good long-term choices in life and doing her best for both herself and people she cares about, not necessarily that she'll never change her mind about what she hopes her life will look like.

 

 

ETA-- I don't think it's possible to push too hard for strength and independence-- there are still SO many forces pushing girls in the other direction!

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