Ladies, when you were growing up, or even now as an adult, how many of you remember hearing your mother, aunt, grandmother or another influential woman in your life ask or say to you, “When are you gonna get married?” “Are you seeing anyone special?” “Now, sweetie, you’ve gotta learn how to cook. You know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…” Or my personal favorites: “You gotta know how to keep a clean house for your husband!” and “Always go out looking your best, you never know who’s out there looking for a wife.” While I do believe this advice is valuable for women so that we can learn these skills for survival and take personal pride in ourselves, I don’t think these things should be valued and viewed as ways to secure a husband and find happiness.
When growing up, little girls are not taught certain tricks of the trade to just live independently and be single, but they are often taught to learn certain things in preparation for marriage. Why is this? Why are girls trained up to be wives more so then women who can be happy single? The answer is simple: Some people tend to view single women as less valuable than those who are married, and this is because society has the tendency to place a higher emphasis on people living happily ever after together rather than them simply living happily ever after by themselves. Not only that, but friends and family members often make a huge deal out of a person’s long-term happiness based on having a significant other by asking questions like, “Don’t you want to grow old with somebody?” or “Don’t you think you need someone to spend the rest of your life with?” While they mean well, they let you know right away that they think you should be married and not single, however, the reality of it all is that everyone is not destined to be married, and even if a woman does get married, there is no guarantee that she and her husband will grow old together. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for happy marriages and relationships, but at some point in life a person will live in singleness whether they have been taught how to live in it or not.
So how does a person live in singleness and be happy? Or better yet, as mothers, aunts, teachers and mentors of growing girls, how do we teach them the skills they need to live and be a lady without the underlying message of marriage?
The first thing to do is talk about being single or married with a positive attitude. Many women talk about marriage with a different tone than they do about being single. They often make it seem as though your life has little to no meaning, or they may imply that you won’t be happy unless you’re married. I believe if more women would learn to see equal happiness in both options, there wouldn’t be any pressure on single women to seek a ring by any means necessary.
Next, older women should teach younger women the value of being a single woman and let them know that their happiness lies within who they are first, and that no man or marriage will give that to them.
Lastly, single women should set positive examples of how to live a productive life as an unmarried woman and stop complaining about being single! It is a gift that is often overlooked because we were never taught to appreciate it, but if all you see and hear about are the woes of singlehood, how will young women know what to look forward to from that aspect of life?
While transitioning through life from a child to an adolescent into adulthood, there are a number of valuable lessons that will be learned along life’s journey that will stick with us. But the one lesson that all women should take with them and should be taught is to be content in whatever state you are in, because you won’t move forward to greater things until you’re purely happy with where you are. Were you taught to live the single life growing up, or was marriage the forefront of your lessons?
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin