4 Ways Single Women Can Support Marriage
As a single woman, I’ve had the honor of standing in a handful of weddings over the years. And I have caught a bouquet or two at receptions (despite my best efforts to avoid participating). I really do value the privilege of witnessing that special day for friends and family members.
There’s lots of discussion on marriage and plenty of talk on dating. There is not as much focus, however, on how to support marriage while single.
So, beyond attending the wedding, how can single women support marriage? In a world that increasingly devalues the institution, this can be difficult and unpopular. Yet, it is so important to consider.
Here are 4 ways single women can say “I do” to supporting marriage:
- Boundaries. As single women, we can keep appropriate emotional and physical boundaries with married men. Popular culture encourages us to blur gender lines and to erase any distinction between males and females. This philosophy seeps into the mainstream view of male-female friendships (i.e., there is no difference in males and females, so there isn’t a need to treat friendships differently). For example, there’s a trend to have “work husbands” and “work wives,” but does that line of thinking really honor marriage in the best way? I think this approach ignores the reality of gender distinctions and can easily lead to unhealthy and detrimental situations. Not that it always does. And I’m not at all saying that men and women can’t be friendly or have platonic friendships to some degree. I am advocating, however, a “friends with boundaries” approach.
- Modesty. This is just a tiny bit controversial. Feminists may balk at the perceived restriction on women’s “freedom.” However, the simple fact is that men are visual people. I’m not saying that women are responsible for everything men do. What I am saying, though, is that we do have a responsibility to dress respectfully (for several reasons, but in part to honor others’ marriages). Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating long jean skirts and turtlenecks. I just think it’s prudent to be mindful of what we’re wearing and why we’re wearing it.
- Support. While we have our own busy schedules, every once in a while, we could offer to babysit so that our married friends can have a night out or a weekend away. We get to have fun spending time with kiddos, and they have a chance to focus on their relationship.
- Encouragement. Particularly in times of trial or frustration, but at all times, we can encourage friends in their marriage. It seems to be more popular to rant against men or to talk negatively. Instead, perhaps we can be mindful to honor the institution of marriage in conversations while still being a compassionate listener and friend.
I hope you do not perceive this as a lecture of any sort. I’m far from perfect. As my faith grows, the more I am cognizant of many things. My hope is simply that women will be quietly encouraged and steadfast in these values while the world around us shouts the opposite ideals.
So, though unmarried, single women can vow to honor marriage in our various relationships and friendships. And I think I’ll toast to that.