Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Looking Forward to Marriage

I would love to hear from you if you are a single woman. How are you preparing for marriage, and in what ways are you using your time right now? If you write a good essay, I'll put it on this blog.

Regarding married women without children: if those who are in this situation who are staying home, would like to continue writing their reasons and the way they fill their days, it would very much be appreciated. While it has been stated that there is still plenty to do, we still could use a list of things that occupy your time.

Single women, please share if you want to, something about what you would be comfortable with, in a future husband. You don't have to use your real name!

Gardening is another aspect of homemaking that adds more room to your living space, and places for activities.

One way to to get paths in the grass is to just walk them over and over until they are tramped down. Adding benches and tables here and there create restful areas to sit in the summer heat.

This year, I've been trading plants with other people. Usually when you clean up a piece of property, you dig out over-growth, and this can be transplanted. I've received some wonderful plants which multiply on their own, year after year, as well as a few trees, that will add shade. In exchange, I've given away ground covers, which are plants that creep along and cover bare areas. One is called "creeping thyme," that emits a scent when you walk on it.

painting: Sheep Grazing Under Apple Blossoms by John Appleton Brown


Anonymous said...

LOL! I was reading along in the paragraph beginning "Regarding married women without children" and had to re-read the last 2 sentences a couple of times. Perhaps when you were editing this, they were in the previous paragraph? I am a married woman with grown children who have left the nest but I haven't given much thought to a "future husband".

I love this series, BTW. My own story wouldn't be applicable here since I left the work force due to chronic pain/illness. I would have stayed home by choice if I had been allowed to choose. I'm very happy to be home.

Lydia said...

Thanks for spotting that! I separated the sentences.

Mrs. McGee said...

I have 4 children and I am home because I basically refuse to work outside the home and leave my little 11 month old in daycare, I tried that as a Realtor and my baby was sick all the time! It is very hard for me to just stay home and not bring in any income because where we live I am not happy I also don't feel safe so therefore I want to move and in order to move into a home comparable to the one we live in now by the way it is a 4 bedroom townhouse with 1 and a half baths it has a Living Room, Dining Room, Eat in Kitchen, Full Finished Basement and Laundry Room,it is 1,350 sq feet not including the finshed basement but the total with the basement would be 1,700 sq feet it has a very small back yard and no privacy what so ever. I want to move so badly because of the lack of privacy and so many teenagers who are SO BAD! FIGHTS! HANGING OUT! DESTROYING PROPERTY Some ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES, VICIOUS DOGS and ETC. I am trying to stay at home with my children but I may have to work outside the home so that we can move into a nice single family home in a safe neighborhood with our children. My husband refuse to live in a 3 bedroom home because he says this would be a downgrade and because of this I would need to work outside the home in order for us to afford a Single Family 2 story 4 bdr home with a basement. He will not move into a home that has less then what we have now, NO MATTER WHAT! What is a Mother Who Loves and Wants The Best For Her Children To Do? Move into a nicer, safer, family centered neighborhood and work so that we can live there or stay in our nice townhouse but not so nice or safe neighborhood? HELP!!!!!

Lydia said...

The nice townhouse is not worth the risk to your family, no matter how spendid the conveniences and modern equipment.

Pride is often an obstruction to true happiness, wealth, and safety. Many people that begin at the top, find they can't maintain the cost of it, and have to move to a humbler dwelling. Sometimes they end up more content than before.

Mrs. McGee said...

You are so WISE, God has really blessed you with Wisdom. I thank you!

Lydia said...

Hi Lydia,

I am a single lady who, after many broken hearts and
disappointments, is finally in courtship with a
wonderful Christian man who supports my desire to one
day be a stay at home wife. I won't say
"stay-at-home-mother" yet since there is no way to
know whether we will ever be blessed with a family
until we try, and really, it doesn't matter because I
want to stay at home for my husband with or without
children. There were several obstacles that seemingly
blocked my desire for staying at home, many of them
stemming from our culture's refusal to esteem the
position of the SAHW/M. I never had the benefit of
older women to show me the value in and the path to
homemaking, since the women in my family were adamant
that future husbands wanted career women who "have
something going for them." Many of my dating
experiences confirmed this prevalent attitude as the
men I met were always pushing me to get more degrees
and get better jobs. One even equated my desire to
stay home with having a low self esteem! Learning the
home arts was discouraged, as the road to acceptance
by my relatives meant education, more education, and a
glowing career, although my heart was never in it. I
finally decided, in my early thirties no less, to
begin to teach myself home economics by purchasing old
home ec textbooks from the 1950's and 1960's. This is
what I did with my free time. Now, by this time I did
have an established career which I enjoy, but that was
no excuse not to play catch-up and learn all of the
things so many homemakers are already experts on-
cooking, sewing, cleaning, decorating, so much to
learn! I am still very much in this process and it is
more stimulating to me than any class I took in
college. In addition to teaching myself quilting,
clothing construction, and baking, I invest my time
reading about the practical application of home
studies, being active in my church, traveling with
friends, and trying to figure out how to consistently
make a good pie crust.

Around the time I embarked on this learning adventure,
I began to pray for a Godly man and asked that he be
smart, funny, a good provider, with a love of the Lord
and a love of books (I'm a librarian). My prayers were
answered and then some, and I believe my desire to be
a good homemaker was an attraction to the man God has
sent me.

The Internet and blogs like Homeliving Helper have
been such a source of encouragement and knowledge in
this area of my life. I lament the lack of mentors and
role models for women who aspire to stay-at-home
greatness, and am truly grateful that so many other
women care enough about this issue to share their
experiences and wisdom online. Keep posting ladies,
I'm out here and I need you.

Amy said...

It's so neat that I visited your site today because just last night I was reading the most wonderful article by missionary Charo Washer, called "The Godly Woman - Becoming Ester". It's an exhortation to single women to use their time of singleness to prepare themselves to be godly wives and mothers. I think you would really enjoy it! Here's the link:

I hope it works because it's awfully long :) I was a stay at home wife for four years and it was very hard to deal with the criticism of some of the men in the church we were attending at the time. They basically thought I was being "lazy" even though I was involved in a lot of behind the scenes church work. I think it's great that you're doing some posts to encourage women who are staying home without children.

Mrs. McGee said...

Nice Post! I can agree that in my cultural community it is best and better to be a woman of great educational stature and to have a very well paying job to add to your husbands well paying job and to live in a big expensive home and drive an expensive car and wear expensive clothes. Stay at home moms and Homemakers are not the norm in my culture and is really not something that is taught and aspired to be. It is so hard for those who go against the grain or the norm because you suffer and I mean suffer from rejection and as a woman you are looked down as unworthy and lazy.
You hear this statement all the time "Independent Woman" "I pay my own bills." "I don't need a man to take care of me." "I could never not have a job." "You can't depend on a man." There is no such thing as being Frugal in my culture, the more you have the better you are.

Lydia said...

About living above our means, and wanting to simplify or move to a safer place: one thing that appeals most to husbands is reducing expenses. If you can present several choices of places to live that would benefit him--such as closer to his work, or less expensive payments, you are closer to reaching your goal.

Rachel said...

Hi! My name is Rachel...I'm 21 and single. Preparing for marriage....well, I guess I've really been doing that my whole life! I am an only girl, and my Mom always had me right there when she was doing, baking, laundry, taking care of babies, sewing, whatever she was doing. I love working in our home, decorating things, helping with the work, and just being there! I do work a full-time job, but I guess that my situation is a little unique. My dad is a pastor, and we live behind the church. I have been working at the church since my sophomore year summer, and have learned so many things there. Answering phones, running copy and printing equipment (we have a book press), secretarial work, graphic designing, and now working in the bookstore and editing/formatting new books and reprints. In addition to many other small things that I have learned along the way. :) I don't work because I desire the money or the status or anything like that. I work because I believe that eternal things are important. The things I do around the church will have eternal value after I am gone. (Maybe not the activities in and of themselves, but I can help facilitate the ministries going on around our church. For instance, if I answer the phones correctly, I can take care of a lot of calls for my dad, the pastor, freeing up his time to do things that are more important.) And the money that I do get, I save! And so far, all the money that I have saved has been spent on traveling the world...but I'll talk about that further down.

I am going to college right now, but it is a Bible Institute, and I won't receive a "degree" or anything when I get done. I think I just get a certificate saying that I completed the required credits, but I honestly don't even care about that. I just want to learn everything I can about the Bible, my Baptist faith, and missions! I am attending classes there because I desire to learn more.

What do I do all day? Well, besides my job and schoolwork, church things keep me very busy. We have a fairly large congregation, and there is always something going on at the church. People are always getting married, or having babies, or having tragic events, so there is almost always someone to visit or make a meal for or write a card to. We have four families from our church that live on the foreign mission field, and I keep up correspondence with them, in addition to many other friends and family afar off. Of course, there are many home things going on, and I help my mother with the cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning, and organizing of our house. We entertain guests all the time, both overnight and just-dinner guests, and seem to have a 'revolving door.' We grow a lot of vegetables, and can/freeze a lot of things. We pick strawberries and blueberries to make our own jam. We make some of our own clothes, but generally find it more profitable to just frequently drop in on our thrift stores. I have two brothers who are married and have two children each, so there are always little ones nearby that can be watched or entertained.

I enjoy music, and try to practice the piano a couple times a week. If I let myself, I could just play my piano all day long and never get anything done. :) I also have a harp and am slowly making progress to learn that. As far as "crafty" type things, I enjoy knitting, crocheting, sewing, crosstitch, and most recently, quilting. Almost everything I make I give away as gifts for bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, and holidays. I enjoy photography and am always taking digital pictures. I have enjoyed scrapbooking in the past, but now would rather play around with graphic design, but I don't do that very well yet. (One day, I hope to take a class about it!) As far as cooking, there is always something cooking or baking around here! We make most (but I confess, not ALL) of our food completely by scratch, and enjoy it much better that way. And for reading...goodness....every room in our house has books and bookshelves. My Dad has a library in his office of over 5,000 books, and no, I haven't read them all....yet....but maybe one day I'll get there. ;) And my newest joy is blogging. I adore writing, and have always scribbled away in journals and notebooks. I adored English and literature classes in school, and now spend most of my days editing books. But I enjoy blogging and posting about different subjects of interest to me.

Travel is something that I have greatly enjoyed during my "single" life. I took a two-week missions trip with my church to the Czech Republic, a week long trip to Prince Edward Island with a group of dear friends, a month-and-a-half missions trip to Chile by myself, and most recently a three-month trip to Africa. During the last trip, I lived with my brother and sister-in-law (who are missionaries to South Africa) and was there for the birth of my niece. I was able to take care of my nephew (who is 2) and keep the house under control, since there were some medical issues with the baby. (Everything is fine now, but it was serious at the very beginning!)I have also taken several cross-country trips with my family as my father preaches or we visit extended family.

In talking to many, many single girls and reading many books on the subject of single girls and what they should be doing, I think there is one truth that is paramount to all. Not every person will be the same. My situation is very unique. I have friends who graduated from high school and stay at home all the time, with no work and no school. That is just fine for them, and I think it is wonderful. I also have friends who graduated from high school and are going on to 'big' colleges. And I think that is just as right. I have a friend (much older than me!) who became a Registered Nurse, and was glad she did, because she did not get married until she was 40 years old. I think my best advice to other girls would be this: If there is something you desire to do, then do it! I'm not talking about a lifelong career, just areas that you desire to extend your knowledge in. If a single girl has an interest in, say cake-decorating, then by all means, I say go take the classes! Whether it be something related to home economics, or whether it be doctrine classes at Bible college, don't be afraid to step out and try something. Don't just do what everybody else is doing, whether it be "stay at home" or "go to college." The most important thing is to ask what the Lord wants you to do.

My heart's desire is to one day get married and have children, and to raise that family to the glory of the Lord. When I get married, I will not work, unless there are extenuating circumstances. But until then, I want to learn everything I can. My deep, deep desire would be to marry a missionary or a pastor, so I am preparing myself in every way possible for that commitment. Of course, if I don't marry a man like that, it certainly won't hurt me to have done all these things, whether travel, or work experience, or college classes, or staying at home.

My life is not boring, by any standard. It is busy, busy, busy, but yet, it is always nice to come home and just relax. We have made our house a haven, and shelter from the busy-ness around us. There is not anyplace on this world that I would rather be, than in my home, with the family I love.

Anonymous said...

From Esther

Dear Lady Lydia,
Unmarried and home keeping…

I so enjoy your blogg. What a blessing it has been in my life: All the homemaking instructions and all the helpful insights to what makes a home.
And the encouragement!! The godliness I find is so uplifting.

I wanted to respond to your blogg about being single and homemaking.
This is my testimony:

I am divorced, and God has truly blessed me with the “desires of my heart.”
It is amazing how God will work out to the good of those that are the called according to His purpose.

I am a Christian and was so devastated by a divorce. Truly, all I ever desired was to be a “keeper at home.” I had read and loved “Fascinating Womanhood” by Helen Andelin. I was married close to 20 years. I had to separate after 16 years and eventually follow through based on biblical principals, on the dissolution of the marriage. I have been unmarried for the last 7 years. I have not dated.

Living in a No Fault divorce state I knew I had to be self sufficient at some point. I set out to find a good job and become financially secure. I just applied myself and did nothing else but school.
I chose the tech field, finding a good job at HP; and at the same time, two of my former foster children needed a home and soon I was a single mother of two boys. It was a difficult decision to take them but I did. Within the next 6 months another former foster son needed a home, and so God blessed me with three boys. (What a blessing for a barren woman!) Now, I had loved these boys during my marriage, they had been with me for years. At one point we were going to adopt them, I suffered tremendous heartache through divorce, losing my husband, home and children.
In our state there is a stipend for caring for children, so I worked my full-time job and took care of the boys. At the same time I needed a home. We had moved back to my former home that was very remote and I could not continue living under such conditions.
God opened the door for a home closer into town, it took a lot of prayer, and it was a fixer and took some serious doing.
God so blessed. The home was something I could afford…
Eventually I went into Real Estate so I did not have to commute out of the area, I was driving 2 hours a day just to get back and forth to work. I felt my boys were being raised by others, and with their emotional needs I knew I had to be there. With the stipend I could manage both. Real Estate is commission and the stipend gave me the needed security.
I eventually was able to do Real Estate from my home and care for my boys.
This went on for four years.
I worked hard and it was very difficult because I could see the “masculine” side effects of my life. Even though I was home, I had to concentrate on business, and most other homemaking skills had to be let go.
I was diligent and frugal, and saved and saved. I had to buy a car and I had to fix my home, I had to add a room for my boys to meet the standard of Child Protective Services.
God helped me and I found favor in the sight of many and was able to accomplish much, I feel a lot of it was because I was willing to provide a home for these boys.
Eventually I received my former home through my divorce settlement, and God blessed me to sell it just in time, with the perfect buyers. I HAD to sell this property because I could not keep it up. There were major issues as it had been a rental and a very remote piece.
God, as always was just in time: I was experiencing serious burn out. Health wise I had the same stress effects as when I was going through my divorce. I had hit a wall and thought I might lose it all;financially, mentally, physically and emotionally.

I re consecrated my life to the Lord earlier last year in the midst of all my stress which I had accepted as a normal part of my life:
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4
I delighted in the Lord, and I found He knew, even when I didn’t, what the true desires of my heart were; to be feminine and a “keeper at home.”
But God is so good; I now have an income because I carried the financing on the former home.
God has provided for me!!!

I am happily going to continue on in this new phase of my life, it is very exciting. I am learning a lot about housekeeping and building a godly home.
I have not had the time in the last 7 years. I enjoy being at home and providing a loving environment for the boys. It is so much more peaceful now.
I long to be married, to a man that has the same values… Has respect to me as the “weaker vessel” and understands the principals of true femininity and masculinity. If I would have found someone earlier, they would not have been the man I would choose today. I had opportunities to be with men, but I clung to bible principals, even when my emotions were swirling,
I know the Lord has someone for me. I believe He is preparing me, even in all my loneliness, so I would have the “desires of my heart.”
I believe in modesty, chastity, in dressing feminine, in the feminine role. I feel if I devote myself to these foundations to a godly home then I will attract the right godly man. I am looking for a man that above all has a relationship with God, believes in the bible, and its principals. I desire a man that will be the provider, protector and guide. He must possess the sterling qualities of character.

I highly recommend the book by Helen Andelin for single women: “Fascinating Girl.” It will be a blessing… and an encouragement.

I want to encourage the other single or divorced women to ask, seek, and knock until the door is open for you to be a truly feminine woman. Each one of us has a unique life, and God will meet your needs, in your own situation. He is a great God! I love HIM today!

wendybirde said...

I was so heartened when I saw this post, and inspired!

But when I started writing a response, I found I only had an unfinished letter in my hand. And realized that what you actually had done was start me off on a journey. A journey of taking a closer look at my life and finally being honest at how I am NOT doing my best, in so many ways, in preparing for marriage. And you have inspired me to try and see that changed somehow.

My rambling journey there is too long to post here, but can be seen at if anyone is so drawn. I wonder if you realize the deep and wonderful impact this blog has, both in its wisdom and in its challenging. I am so very grateful for it : )