Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Set Our Daughters Up to Succeed in Marriage (and NOT set them up to fail!)

I have often been told, "You ARE your husband's wife."  It is true.  His leadership and influence in my life has been greater than all others, aside from the Word of God (and he helped lead me to that, too).  What they mean by that statement is that I am a reflection of him, his leadership, and his thought process as he guides our family.

One of the biggest lessons my husband has taught me is not to teach something one way now, if we will have to teach it differently later.

Just one example of where that has come to play in my life:

When I taught my baby to fall asleep only when I was leaning over the crib patting his back, then I was not "sleep training" when I wanted him to go to sleep without my patting, I was sleep REtraining.  He had already been "trained" to go to sleep one way, but long term, I did not want to have to pat him to sleep!  I later had to teach him to fall asleep without the patting.  I learned this one in one of my most favorite books on infant care, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.  I adopted Tracy Hogg's motto with my second and third babies:  "Start as you mean to go on."  She only meant to help us prevent the struggles that would come from creating habits we did not want to have forever.

My husband says there were many examples in his education where he was taught one way to do something (like math or physics), only to have to learn the ACTUAL way he would need to do it in higher level courses.  The time to UNlearn the first way and THEN learn the second way set everyone back.  This struggle could have been prevented by just teaching the right way the first time!

This week, my thoughts are on our daughters.....and, specifically, on whether we are setting them up to fail or succeed as Christian wives.

I see marriages around me failing at a rapid rate, and it isn't just because Satan is after marriages.  I believe it is because we have been set up, or are setting them up, to fail!

Our daughters are growing up in a generation where they can be, do, have, and achieve anything they believe they can do.  They are taught that they should fight for their rights.  They are taught "anything he can do, I can do better"...and in that, they are taught that they are in competition with the opposite sex.

Then one day....she falls in love.  He asks for her hand in marriage.  They wed.

After the wedding and honeymoon period, she begins to live out the training she has received in her life...and it does not seem to be working in her, or their, favor.  It is her "training" I am concerned about.

She has been taught that she can be, do, have, and achieve anything...when she should have been taught how to complement and be a helper to her husband.

She is fighting for her rights...instead of submitting to her husband's headship.

She has a strong, competitive spirit which serves her well in the corporate world.....but, this time, she competes with her own husband.

I have helped run a nanny placement agency for several years, and the most important thing we tell the families we work with is, "Don't set your nanny up to fail.  Tell her exactly what is expected up front, so you can give her the best chance to do her job well."

If a family neglects to do this, their nanny may not do the tasks they desire for her to do, or in the way they wish for them to be done.  So she fails.  But it is not her fault, it is the fault of the one who told her how to do her job.

Why not teach our daughters how to be Christian wives and mothers from the beginning?  Why not set her up to succeed?  As a mom of one little girl, I am challenged myself to keep from teaching my daughter to pursue the world's ways above God's ways. 

I am not teaching my daughter to be a strong woman.  I am teaching her to be a woman of strength.

There is nothing wimpy or weak about being a woman.  I will not teach her she has to live, act, or talk like a man.  I will teach her what God, her Creator and mine, has made us to be.  I am teaching her to be a woman.

I will teach her how to love her husband, show him respect, and submit to his loving headship (or for that matter, his UNloving it is not a conditional headship).

I want to teach her now the ways that I hope for her to go on in life later.  "Start as you mean to go on", as Tracy Hogg said (there's that motto again!).

We are teaching our daughters to think about themselves and to pursue their own interests. But later, when she marries, has children, or is having marriage troubles, we will counsel her that she should set aside herself in order to be a wife, mother, and keeper at home. 

My point here is this:  Think about what Biblical advice you would give your daughter if she came to you with marriage troubles, and teach that to her NOW.  Let's set them up to succeed! 


  1. Oh, please tell me there is going to be a series of this!
    I love it.

  2. Great post, Melissa! I think it is JUST as important to teach your daughter as it is to model godly womanhood to her. I think they need both since it is so contrary to everything she will hear and see in the world around her.

  3. Great post, and something I needed today! Overcoming a habit that has been in the workings for years can be really hard. We are Gods and Goddesses in training and I think that sometime we forget that. This post is a good reminder of that. Thanks for your words. It helps me to remember that what I am teaching my children is very important and they can't get that anywhere else.


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