Even preteen girls envision wedding possibilities. After a while, though, that game can get old. It can become frustrating to have all those good ideas and not be able to use them. Happily, a single girl does not have to wait till she wears a ring to prepare for marriage, and I’m not talking about saving up for a wedding gown or dieting to look awesome in it one day. There are a number of ways to procure wifely assets, whether your wedding day is years past or a distant dream.
Practice home economics
Do not be afraid of traditional gender roles. Learn the basics of managing a house and family, but do not stop at that. If arranging flowers or knitting throw blankets is not your forte, try your hand at restoring furniture or home renovation. Find ways to express yourself through common household activities. Women are designed to nurture, create, appreciate beauty, and desire order, so you may find such pursuits surprisingly enjoyable. Women are also designed to be capable, so you do not need to be afraid of getting your hands dirty with building and repairing projects. For inspiration, try reading the Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaefer, Captivating by Stasi Eldridge, and The Complete Do It Yourself Manual by the editors of Family Handyman. Also, consider buying a Leatherman.
“Homemaking” skills have served me well in single life, as I expect they will one day in the practical side of marriage. By the time I was a teenager, I had responsibilities for household chores, caring for younger siblings, helping them with schoolwork, and preparing family meals. Doing all that has not made me any less “empowered.” In fact, it enabled me to get my first job at a childcare facility, work as a private tutor throughout college, and survive on a budget by cooking my own meals.
Men who know me might be amused at the idea that I would say this. I will be the first to admit this is one area where I still have much to learn. But, I know it is truly needed and sadly lacking in our culture.
The path to honoring a husband is through honoring men in other types of relationships: father, brother, boss, coworker, church member, friend. It begins with simple respect. Respect means you do not attempt to aggressively command or direct a man to fill whatever criteria you have in mind. It also means you do not play the part of a nagging, weak, whimpering woman who uses emotional tactics to manipulate men. You allow men to be men, and respond as a woman, allowing for differences between you and inevitable flaws on both sides.
Furthermore, honoring men by not caving to the urge to correct or complain about them begins with trusting God. Healthy attitudes toward relationships arise from a healthy relationship with God. Trusting a man, or any person, to be who he is and do what he will without experiencing the insecurity that makes you want to control and moderate that person is rooted in trusting God, without fearing Him or His actions.
I have noticed that most girls and women have plenty of eager hopes for marriage, coupled with the rosy joys of babies, baking cupcakes for school parties, dream homes, a reliable provider, and someone to hold her hand when she is feeling lonely. Few have as many thoughts when it comes to a husband, beyond a list of preferred traits. That is to say, an actual human being who spits toothpaste in the sink and sometimes forgets to clean it afterward, creates dirty laundry, and has plans and ideas different than her own is not such a highly desired item. The ideal seems to be achieving the married state, not necessarily to have a husband.
However, marriage is not just about meeting our needs or the fulfillment of airy dreams. It has the potential to do a great deal in both of those areas, but that should not be the purpose or premise for marriage. Marriage is not about self, or even two people. It was created by God and for God, and as we see in the gospel, it represents the relationship between Christ and His Church. It is meant to be the picture of a God so filled with love for His people that He sacrifices His own life for their sakes. It is meant to be the picture of a Church so captivated by her Husband’s love and selflessness that she is joyfully set on serving Him and pleasing Him. So, our desire for marriage should be for more than a castle in the air promising a fuller life. It should be about living out the gritty reality of grace with another imperfect person in the midst of a broken world.
Marriage is not the only type of relationship you will have in life, but it is the most intimate, and therefore any conflict that arises can seem painfully personal. Other types of relationships, however, provide a readily available way to learn to handle negative emotions, adapt to different personalities, and work through conflicts in a constructive way. Conflicts will certainly come up at times in friendships, family, workplace, church, school, and community. In those settings, it may be easy to withdraw or sweep conflict under the rug, but that will not be possible in marriage.
Instead, you can learn from the relationships you have as a single woman. Serving with others—whether in church, community service, or the workplace—connects you to people with diverse personalities, beliefs, and backgrounds. Of course, there is no need to seek conflict, but to address it in a way that seeks a solution, is considerate and teachable, and reflects your faith.
Learn to be not married
Finally, single women should learn to be not married. It might seem unnecessary and contradictory to apply yourself to being proficient at a lifestyle you aim to abandon. The truth is, satisfaction in marriage does not begin with having an amazing husband. It begins with being at peace with God and the way He has ordained your life, right now, for the situation you are in, with your relationship status as it is. If you cannot find satisfaction with God, single or married, you will have a hard time finding satisfaction anywhere else.
On top of this, your task as a single woman is learning not to be needy. This includes not being emotionally needy, clinging to some other person, such as a husband or boyfriend, to complete you. It is entirely biblical for a wife to center her life on her husband, but it is an impossible demand to expect an earthly man to fill what is really a spiritual hunger.
On the practical side, single life provides a training ground for independent life skills. You will have to make important life decisions, handle finances, do home and car maintenance, deal with legal obligations, take career steps, and face much that is unforeseeable on your own. While outside guidance is sometimes needed and can be valuable, learn to become stable and secure in making decisions on your own. When you have a husband, he may take over some of those responsibilities or the two of you will share them, but you will be equipped to help and support him in whatever way best suits your marriage.
Every day and every situation you experience is given to you for a reason. God does not waste anything. Singleness is not a holding pattern, and marriage is not the starting point of life’s purpose. Live each day as you should, in the manner you hope to live as a married woman, and rest in the knowledge that God brings exactly what is good for you.