If there was one consideration that I wish I could speak to single women, or newly married women who have not had children yet, it would be this:
Think carefully about your calling from God and the goals for your family well in advance of starting one. Then communicate that in the early stages of dating.
It was a balmy evening in Hollywood and I was taking a walk with the man I was dating after a quiet dinner. We had been dating exclusively but it was still early in the game. The conversation about his long work hours and my grueling grading schedule morphed into something I needed to tell him. And I knew it might be a deal breaker.
I want you to know that my desire is to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) and that would mean a single income for our future family. If you think that might be something you are not interested in, then that's fine. It just means you and I are not right for one another.
This wasn't a flippant conversation for me. I had already suffered through a broken engagement and one other breakup of epic proportions that had ravaged my heart. Ånd I REALLY liked this guy. I didn't want it to end badly, but I also knew that the picture I had in my mind and believed that God had set before me for my life was one that needed to be equally embraced by my future husband.
I had already witnessed it with some of my friends.
Two young people marry, they buy a house, become used to two incomes, and then the baby comes. The mother is torn because they simply can't go down to one income at this time, and so the hard choices come. Often, they end up continuing to work even though they long to be home raising their little baby. I know that not everyone feels that way, but I have seen this scenario played out many times. And my heart breaks for these moms. They get stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I remember holding my breath, waiting for my boyfriend's response, and it couldn't have been better. He was like-minded, willing to make that sacrifice to support our then hypothetical family. And it's a good thing we had that talk in those early days because I ended up marrying him and having his 3 sons.
Make no mistake. The choice for us wasn't easy to actually live out. We didn't get that starter house with the white picket fence. No new cars for us both. No vacations. And lots of financial hardship. But you know what? We never had to have “that” conversation again. My husband never asked me to return to full time work and give up what I knew was my particular calling for this chapter of my life as a mother. Even through long rounds of unemployment, God provided. It was a foundational truth for us that we felt God had designed for our family. It was set in place early in our dating days and so all our other decisions fell in line like mortar in the bricks of the walls of our home. And we pressed on through the financial sacrifices which brought us a sweet reliance together on God to provide.
And wouldn't you know it, God has allowed me to work part time from home almost all of these years. I get to use my creativity, my leadership degree, and my love for writing and teaching while still making my husband and kids my top focus and priority. God honors our tough choices when we hear His calling in our lives and are willing to risk relationships and finances to follow His leading.
Really, my point is this, dear single young lady. Spend some time praying and thinking through what your early family life will look like, share those callings and dreams with whomever you are considering a relationship with, and make certain you are on the same page in unity. And then set in place a plan to allow you to be the wife and mother you know God is calling you to in your own situation. Everyone's story is unique but God will bring the right man into your life that will compliment your purpose. I know. I'm proof.
YOUR TURN! What kinds of advice would you give to a single version of yourself? If you are a seasoned wife or mom, what are some good methods you and your husband use to determine if you are both on the same page as you pursue God's calling for your family? Single ladies, how are you doing in this chapter of your life, and how can we encourage you more?
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
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