They bake their own bread. They make quilts. They plant and till gardens. They play the piano, harp, or violin. They care for little children. They dress modestly. They guard their hearts and remain emotionally pure. They trust their father’s decisions without question. They cook and sew and clean and keep house, waiting for the day their prince charming will come. And they are, and just might always stay…
Because of the exhortation in Titus 2 for women to be keepers of their homes, some homeschooling families have come to the belief that being a wife and mother is the most honorable and fulfilling role to which a woman can aspire. As a result, many of these parents spend a large portion of their daughter’s training focusing on the domestic arts. By the time their daughters reach eighteen they can cook, bake, sew, quilt, knit, and clean like the wind. These daughters of virtue are armed with spatulas and waiting for their knight in shining armor to come along. But more and more I am seeing that he isn’t coming.
As I look at the homeschooling community and at the many lovely young ladies who fit this description, I’ve noticed that a large segment of them are remaining single. They pass the 18 year old mark, then 21, then 25 and on up and they are still at home baking pies for their fathers and brothers. And while they talk about the blessings of their season of singleness, I can’t help but feel that inside they are desperately yearning for love and romance. The tragedy is, I don’t think the majority of them will find it. I’ve come to this conclusion based on three observations.
Observation number one is that most of these young women have unreasonable expectations. From the time they were tiny it has been placed in their minds what a godly man should be. They have been told to look for a long list of character traits and if those traits are not there, he is not worthy of their hand in marriage. Even within homes where the girls are taught to focus first on building their own character so that they will be godly wives for the men God has prepared for them, the expectations for “the one” are still unreasonably high. After all, she has all these wonderful qualities so she deserves to marry someone equally as wonderful. But there is a problem.
People are human. Men included.
Men have flaws. Men are sinners. They do wrong things. They make mistakes. And unfortunately within the homeschooling arena, very few young men can reach the level of perfection expected by these young women. His occupation, financial status, and residence are assessed. His doctrinal beliefs, views on end times, opinions on the roles of husbands and wives and relationships, and political affiliation are scrutinized. His mode of dress, the music he listens to, the movies he watches, his vocabulary, and sometimes even his eating habits are put under the microscope. And if something, no matter how small, does not align perfectly, he is scratched off the list.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think young women need to be very cautious and look for upstanding Christian men. The problem is that many of these home ec queens are looking at a lot of outward stuff when they need to be looking at the core character and at his heart. Is he honest and hardworking? Does he demonstrate kindness? Does he exhibit self-control and discipline? Does he have a heart for ministry? Do you see evidence that he is in God’s word? These are the things that matter.
My second observation is that there is a problem with dear old Dad. Dear old Dad can be a wonderful guy, but he can also be a formidable guy, and many of the Dads out there have trained their girls that what he says, goes, even when it comes to the man his daughter marries. But Dad, the fella you want for your daughter, may not be the fella she wants or needs. Dad should give his opinion, and give warnings and protect her when he sees a bad apple come down the pike, but overall, Dad needs to let his daughter decide which guy she will spend the rest of her life with.
I say this because there are many elements in a relationship that dads can’t experience. Dads can’t feel the chemistry when two young people connect emotionally. He also can’t feel the physical attraction that happens between a young man and woman. And both of these elements are essential in a relationship.
And there is another problem with Dads. From my experience, dads have a tendency not to show grace to young men. So often it is a “one strike and you’re out” sort of a deal. If the guy messes up even in some small way, he’s a goner. But when men are young, they tend to make mistakes. I have seen guys who at eighteen I wouldn’t let darken the doorstep of my house as a suitor for my daughter. But once they get past that 22, 23 mark, young men are beginning to demonstrate some maturity and are deserving of another chance.
So dear old Dad needs to show grace.
My final observation is that while those young ladies are developing their homemaking skills, knitting furiously and learning the joys of puff pastry, they are sadly lacking in interpersonal skills. While they sit demurely in their homemade skirts with their legs daintily crossed at the ankles, desperately hoping that the good looking guy in cowboy boots will look their way, that hunk of manliness is over in the corner laughing with the outgoing, fun-loving girl in blue jeans who knows how to engage a young man in conversation. This is because, while it may be true that young men love a good meal and appreciate a wife who is frugal and can keep a neat house, young men want something more. They want someone who is fun and easy to talk to. They want a girl who makes them laugh. Girls who sit quietly, will usually sit alone. Add to all of this the fact that a lot of homeschool girls who are wrapped up in domesticity spend most of their time at home, rather than out in the real world, and it makes it difficult for them to even meet Prince Charming.
And may I add one final thought (a little off topic) in all of this? We need to be honest and realistic. Young men want young women who are pretty. It’s just a fact. Therefore girls should do their best to look their best. Sometimes this means a little make-up and fixing your hair in an attractive and fashionable way. For a few of you It might mean laying off of some of that homemade bread you bake, and slimming down a bit. It also means dressing in a way that accentuates your assets and downplays your flaws because nobody wants to marry “frump girl.” If that homemade skirt that is so neatly sewn and so modest makes you look dowdy, then you probably won’t have a member of the opposite sex attracted to you. Trust me. I have three boys who tell me their own likes and dislikes regarding girls, as well as the likes and dislikes of their male friends.
So what is the conclusion in all of this? Girls need more than home economics. They need to develop socially. They need to go places and do things. They need to fix themselves up and look their best. And Dad needs to stand aside from time to time and give some of the young fellas out there some slack. While homemaking skills are great things to master, there is more to life than cooking, cleaning, sewing, and knitting.
So young ladies, my suggestion to you is that you put aside those balls of yarn for a little while, and instead put on a little mascara and maybe some pretty high heels, and then get out there, have some wholesome social experiences, get to know people, guys included, and simply enjoy your youth.
And you never know…somewhere along the way, you just might meet your Prince Charming.