Question: What Do Young Women Need to Know?

What is it that a young woman needs to know about being a woman, a wife, and/or a mother? I would love to hear from you regarding this question.

I have two daughters. One daughter is married and is 27 years old. Our other daughter is 22, just graduated from college, and is working. For years, I have paid close attention to these two young women. At times, I have been tremendously encouraged by some of the heroic women in our culture. At other times, I have been deeply troubled. I have been troubled by the way many men treat women as well as the way women are often used and manipulated. I have learned that it is often very difficult to be a woman in today’s world.

  • Some women feel confused regarding their feelings. How is a woman supposed to feel? What is a woman supposed to do with her emotions? What does she do with all of those sexual feelings? How does she deal with body image issues?
  • Some women feel confused regarding marriage. What am I supposed to do as a wife on a daily basis? How can I make this marriage last?
  • Some women feel confused regarding being a parent. How am I supposed to balance marriage, work, church, etc. with being a mother? How can I keep from messing up my children? What am I supposed to do when my young children test me?

What do you think? What does a young woman need to know about being a woman, a wife, and/or a mother?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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31 thoughts on “Question: What Do Young Women Need to Know?

  1. I know that a lot of women my age, my friends and I at least, struggle a lot with body image. The society that we live in tells us that you have to be a size 2 to be beautiful. It is hard to go day to day without obsessing over your weight or worrying about other things that make a woman “beautiful”. Also, women desire to be loved and wanted. To be beautiful to someone. We know that we are beautiful in God’s eyes and that’s all that matters, but how do we remember and accept that every day?

    • Rebekah– Wow, did you ever hit upon such an important issue. Body image. What pressure some women must feel regarding that one issue. As you said so well, society has determined that “beautiful” is about wearing a certain size, having certain features, etc. As you say, it must be difficult to go through the day without worrying about this. I wonder how that impacts other women in college, as you are. Your last point is really good, Rebekah. “…women desire to be loved and wanted. To be beautiful to someone.” Thanks so much Rebekah for writing this response.

  2. The following comment is written by a woman deep in the trenches of raising a family. Somethings she does well, somethings she has learned the hard way!

    When I was thinking how to respond to this post, the word that kept entering my mind was kindness. Kindness, a fruit of the spirit, comes very easily on the few days a month when everything is going your way, but it is truly a discipline. We, as wives and mothers, have an amazing/daunting gift to control the atmosphere in our homes. I find that when I am disciplined enough to show kindness to my husband and children, even when I don’t feel like it, it improves the quality of our family life.

    I am proud to be a woman, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, but let’s face it, females can be mean. Not in a physical way, but by using nasty words against other women. This is where kindness comes into play as well. There have been many times in my life that I haven’t been kind to other women, and I regret it. It is extremely important to me that I teach my daughter how important it is to be kind to other girls/women. I know that she will listen to my words, but she will mainly learn by watching me. What a tremendous responsibility!

    Jackie Kennedy once said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” I think about that quote often! I think back frequently to my idyllic, sweet, simple childhood, and what a blessing it was to me. It is important to me that my children are blessed by similar memories. I want their memories to sound like laughter, smell like roast, carrots, and potatoes in the oven, and look like the 5 of us together as often as possible. It seems to me that life was much simpler when I was a child. I guess every generation says that! Now, there are opportunities to volunteer and get involved everywhere you look! I could list off 50 things that I enjoy doing with my time. During one particularly busy season in my life, my mother told me that every time I say “yes” to something, I am saying “no” to my family. I am much more careful now to say yes to my family. And just when I think there are 50 things that I enjoy doing, I have 3 children who are the same way! We have had crazy seasons (particularly sports activities) that have chewed into our home time. It is so easy to do. We, as mothers, can do a lot to encourage balance and priorities.

    These are just a few thoughts swirling in my head on this journey. I pray that we as women can be encouragements to those on the path with us, mentors to those behind us, and listeners to those ahead of us.

    • Elizabeth, I like what you say regarding kindness. Perhaps one of the most important qualities that a woman (or man) needs to learn is the importance of being kind/gracious. This is especially important in a culture that is increasing losing its civility. I am really glad you pointed this out. The other issue that you single out so well is “time.” This is such an important issue that only gets more complicated with marriage and children. Thank you so much.

  3. Wow.. what a loaded question Jim! I hope to write my comment as succinctly as possible.

    As a Woman: We need to strive for wholeness.. not perfection. Our feelings are to be indicators of what is going on inside. They should assist, not overrun us. They should be processed then released. We need to learn to invest in ourselves and get to know this being God has created.. the good and the bad. Then learn to love and treat ourselves as a ‘temple’ to honor our Creator and Savior, so that we in turn are able to truly love others.

    As a Wife: Love is a choice, not a feeling. Love takes work.. work.. and more work :). Marriage is a commitment and promise, that should never be broken. Love is also forgiving, understanding, and unconditional. Always be willing to be pliable, to work through the baggage we all come with. Our partners are there to love, accept and challenge us to be better than who we are, we are to do likewise. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not… just remember good things don’t come easy. If it gets really hard, get help. There’s good help out there, find it and get back on track. 3,7,10,15 year ‘tune ups’ with a MFT are helpful. Oh, and don’t forget to laugh. This is a journey, so enjoy it.

    As a Mother: It is probably the hardest ‘work’ you’ll ever do. And sometimes, you won’t even know if you’re doing it right. So one, needs to create a ‘village’ for accountability, and for those times you need extra hands and eyes (and boy, you’ll need it!). So, chose wisely when creating a ‘village.’ Pray, pray a lot. Also, do your homework… work on yourself. The healthier you are, the healthier your kids will be. Our kids don’t come with a manual, but there are plenty of books about child development and parenting. Take the time to read them.. they are helpful, and your kids will appreciate it in the long run. And again, don’t forget to stop and savor the moments. They will grow up.

    That’s my 2 cents…. 🙂

    • Monica, I really like the way you address the issue of feelings. “Our feelings are to be indicators of what is going on inside. They should assist, not overrun us.” Very good. As you say so well, in marriage “Love is a choice, not a feeling.” And how important it is to realize that choosing to love a person in marriage requires much work, commitment, and forgiveness. And it is a good thing to occasionally get help. From there, I love what you say regarding creating a “village.” That sounds like it could be so helpful and encouraging. Thanks Monica. Worth much more than 2 cents… 🙂

  4. As a woman, there’s so much that I wish I could help my sisters learn. You hit the nail on the head about the need to strive for wholeness, not perfection, Monica. Jim is right: your comment’s definitely worth more than 2 cents! Thanks for your encouragement.

    • Thank you Jim and Alison. I was able to say the things I said because there were people in my life to encourage me. I’m simply paying it forward.. 🙂

  5. If I may respond to Rebekah…

    As one of my favorite India.Arie song wisely sings, “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no… I am a soul that lives within”. Get to know who you are, the person God has created you to be… the person who He was willing to die for (what an amazing thought isn’t it? That not only a person, but God, this amazing being that created the world was willing to shed His life for you.. not based on how you look,.. but because He Loved you, no matter what size). See, I think so many people have it backwards. They start from the outside, trying to get the ‘right look’or the ‘right mate’ but never make it on the inside. Start from the inside. Define that first.. find wholeness (yes, it’s possible), then the outside will click in. How do we remember that we are beautiful in God’s eyes? By believing it. His love for us is infallible, all we need to do is to live our lives believing that truth. And when we do, there will be no doubt in our hearts of how beautiful and wonderfully made we are. Not as size 2 women, but as uniquely different individuals who have different purposes who are capable of amazing things.

    • Monica–I love this line from this song! Wow. I am glad you made this additional comment. Your thoughts regarding the need to begin inward are very important, especially when so many voices in this culture are totally focused on the outward.

  6. For me, the thing I need to know most is that I can trust that God has a plan for me. There are so many things that I let get in the way of who I am and what I’m here for. As far as what I need to know about being a woman, wife & mother, Im definitely still learning but I see there being two types of women.
    Man-made woman: single digit dress size, beautiful by magazine standards. Strong enough to take care of herself but not too strong so as not to bruise the delicate ego of a man. She’s seen as weak for crying or showing too much emotion. Disposable; there’s always another one just like her.
    God-made woman: child of God. Kind, compassionate, thoughtful, forgiving, considerate…always beautiful by these qualities. Always important and worth being seen/ heard.
    Separating the two really helps me focus on what’s important. I also think it’s important to have someone to talk to; my mom always reminds me to trust in God’s plan, that through Him all things are possible, that this too shall pass and that it’s okay to ask for help!!

    • Aimee, I really like the way you contrasted the “man-made woman” and the “God-made woman.” What a contrast! The word that caught my attention in your description of the man-made woman was “disposable.” I have talked to a lot of young women who would echo your use of this word. In the case of some, they heard the words they had wanted to hear, gave their hearts, only to then be thrown away like a used Kleenex. Like you say, this is very different from the God-made woman. To him, you are never disposable. In fact, he cherishes you like no other. Again, Aimee, I like the way you contrast these two. I appreciate this comment.

  7. I, too, am raising 2 young women. Because we live in western civilization, we are challenged in getting points across to them that I believe God wants us to know.

    First, our sensitive nature is part of our design. This is not a shortcoming of a woman’s makeup. It should be respected and valued. It helps men to see a situation from an internal viewpoint. In being caretakers, it is invaluable to meet the needs of children, friends, men and the elderly.

    Secondly, our sexuality is a blessing to be used within the bounds of marriage. It is to bring pleasure, security and firm understanding to the married couple as well as a reproductive tool. Left unguided, it is lethal both physically and spiritually.

    Thirdly,a woman’s intuition is unsurpassed in business practices, in home management, in marriage and in child rearing. Women should appreciate this trait as well as required that it be respected.

    We are very specialized creatures. There are some tasks that men simply need us to help with. We can, if treated appropriately, be both a pleasure and an invaluable asset to the human race.

    If we do not realize our value and take the responsibility of letting the Lord guide us and maintain us seriously, we hurt ourselves and everyone around us.

    • Deana, as I read your comment, I began to wish that many men, who I know, would also hear these words. You express these points very well. (1) The sensitive nature is not a shortcoming. This is so right. Yet, far too many women hear from some men that because they don’t “think like a man” they are somehow less-than. Yet, what you say is so true in terms of just how invaluable this is. (2) Sexuality. You are so right. What a blessing in marriage. However, left unguided, this can be so lethal. (3) You are so right about the value of a woman’s intuition which needs to be valued and appreciated. Thanks very much Deana.

  8. Jim, thanks so much for your post. I have asked and muddled through many of the important questions you posed. I too, have a daughter – she is 24. What I want her to know, above all, is that God is at work in her to bless her and equip her to be a blessing to others and she can trust him to do just that.
    One of my favorite verses contains the words of Mary, mother of Jesus, “I am the Lord’s servant, I will accept whatever he says….” Mary said these words as she realized her life was about to change forever. She could say these words because of her trust in God and her humility before him. Choosing to humble myself before God and trust God is at work in me and through me as I faithfully (not perfectly) fill my roles he has given me as woman, wife, mother changes the way I see myself and others. It changes the way I see challenges and the suffering of those I love. As my trust in God and my relationship with Jesus deepens, I more willingly yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. God is the one who equips me. His grace covers my weaknesses. His love flows through me to my family and others around me. His love makes all the difference.

    • Lourene, thanks so much for this. I can relate to what you said regarding having a daughter in her 20’s etc. I love what you say regarding wanting her to know that God really is at work in her to bless and equip her to be a blessing to others. So right! She and others her age do not have to wait to be used by God to fulfill his purposes.

  9. I agree with everything that these other women have mentioned. I cannot relate to everything yet since I am not married nor have children, but I will remember their advice and use it in my future. Something that many women my age have on their mind is finding the “perfect” guy. For some girls, they just go for the first guy that likes them and face the consequences later. Other girls are looking for the “perfect” guy, but they cannot seem to get a guy so they think there is something wrong with them. I am not the most qualified on this topic, but I have learned some things from different experiences in my life and my friends’ lives. First, I think it is so important for us to remember that we need to be patient with God’s plan in the relationship area of our life. I think sometimes we get impatient and date a guy who may not have his faith as top priority, and that can sometimes turn out to hurt us. Some cases we are able to strengthen the guy’s walk, but it is a difficult place to be. Secondly, I think in looking for the “Mr. Right”, we need to make sure that his faith is a top priority in his life. It is important for the woman and man to make sure that they help build each other’s faith and not hinder it. Finally, sometimes it is hard to have patience for God’s plan, but we need to keep in mind that the guy He has picked out for us is so amazing and will make the wait worth while! Also, His plan may not involve a husband for us, but that means that whatever He does have planned is so awesome that we do not need a husband to make it “right”. 🙂 Like Aimee said, we need to trust God with what He is doing in our life! Just have patience!! God will bless you!! 🙂

    • Cara, I really like the emphasis of your entire comment which is learning to trust God and lean upon his wisdom and desires regarding our future. So many, many people do what you said early in your comment: “…they go for the first guy that likes them and face the consequences later.” How many people have said, “Oh it will all work out.” Then they often end up in such a mess. I commend you for seeing this now and for your thinking regarding this.

  10. Wow. Just reading through the comments is helpful and reminds me of so many things.
    The most predominant issue I have had to think about this year (and one that I know affect many young women my age in college) is what we are us women supposed to do with our lives?

    Society seems to tell us now that being a mother and a wife who is there for her husband when he needs her may come second to her career and her own personal needs. How should Godly women balance their want for personal success and their desire to have a family?

    Also, a thing many women need to be reminded of is to not worry. Women worry a lot. I know that it may be an impossibly difficult thing for some to try not to worry, but it is so important to not torment yourself with worrying about things you have no control over. The sermon I heard this morning said a prescription for worry is to rejoice in the Lord, to choose well what you focus/think on, and to choose to trust in the care of God.

    • Kristin, what a great issue to mention! As you say, so many young women about to graduate from college (and others as well) wrestle with future concerns, etc. You raise good questions. How does all of this work out? A career? A family? This can be a time of great anxiety. This raises a good question which will connect with a lot of people both young and old: “How do I step into an unknown future?” No easy answers to this one. But–I think you have touched on the issue of learning to trust in God’s care through it all. Thanks, Kristin.

  11. I haven’t read all of the comments yet but I know there are things that concern me as I get ready to leave college. For one, I have chosen a career path and a life that might be regarded as unwomanly. Mostly this doesn’t bother me, but it does concern me that there are those who are bothered. I just don’t think that everyone’s path is the same. I wouldn’t mind having a family someday, but I have to admit, it’s not really one of my goals right now. I think it’s important that women know that there is more than one way to be a woman of God, and that being a wife and mother is only one of them. I feel that too many young women end up in bad marriages as a result of the pressure to fulfill this ideal. Family is important, don’t get me wrong, but there is more than one way to have one. God is always going to put you on the right path and trying to force what you want out of life is just going to make a mess. This, of course is not the only thing that I think about, so close to the end of this period of my life, but it was my first thought upon reading the question. I guess the gist of it is that whatever God’s plan is it will be the best for us. Just because something seems to be the ‘normal’ or ‘best’ path, doesn’t make it so.

    • Lindsay, what you say is very good. You are right, there is more than one way to be a woman of God. What comes through your comment is that you clearly understand the point — being a woman of God. As you say so well, how this plays out in the lives of women is going to be different. We really shouldn’t expect everyone to look the same, act the same, make the same decisions, etc.

  12. I often think about this topic because I think it is so so important for women to come to know who they are and who their Father really is in order for them to be comfortable in their own skin. I am a huge fan of naming and claiming your stuff…I think it is huge when a young woman can look at herself and name her issues and find out why she struggles in that way and then claims responsibility for it as well as victory from it in Christ Jesus. Huge.

    I also think young women should learn early to recognize the lies of this world and also learn how to replace those lies with the truth, which can only be found in God’s word. For example, women who struggle with body image may believe the lie that they are flawed somehow…they then could turn to Psalm 139:14 (New Living Translation)”Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” It takes practice training your mind to work this way, and being human we will slip and believe the lies at times, but the reward is well worth it.

    • Emily, I like your comment — a lot. In particular, I like what you say about the importance of learning to replace the lies (regarding body image for example) with truth. That truth, as you note, can only be found in God’s word. (As you note, for example, in pointing out Ps. 139:14.) Yet, so many people have bought these lies and believe (again regarding body image) that they are flawed, less than, inferior, worth less than another, etc. Thanks so much for what you said.

  13. Having a daughter, this blog was important to me, though mostly in retrospect as she’s grown and has been out on her own for several years. She is a very beautiful young lady both physically and spiritually. She’s a bit too “liberal” for me politically, but we don’t talk much politics. No need to mess up a beautiful relationship. When she was growing up and under all the pressure to be slim and pretty and all the other stuff, I always made sure she knew that so long as she knew and was assured of God’s love and her parent’s love (especially her father’s love) little else mattered in comparison. She seemed to grasp that early on in her life.

    • Greg, your daughter is very blessed to have you for a father. What an important ministry you had during what is often such a difficult time of life for a young woman. Yet, there you were, reminding her of God’s love and her father’s love. How important!

  14. I would LOVE to tell all the young girls out there to ALWAYS be true to themselves and know who you are and most importantly whose you are. I was so blessed (and still am!) to have grown up in such a loving Christian home where my parents taught me the true meaning of love. Just by knowing who God is and how powerful his love is can go such a long way, even when you are young. As a young woman you have an array of opportunities to be an example to your peers. You will never know how many lives you can touch just by letting others see God’s love in the way you talk, play sports, cheer, etc., and how you treat others around you. One of my absolute favorite verses in the Bible…. Galations 5:22- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” I want so badly to portray these qualities, because this is who Christ is! From high school to college and even now this verse always knocks me to my knees and reminds me how loving our God is. God is ALWAYS there for you!

    • Audra, I like what you said in your first sentence: “…know who you are and most importantly whose you are.” How important! To know your identity and to know who you belong to. So many people rock along for years trying to prove something or trying to measure up. Usually this is about trying to measure up to someone’s idea of what a beautiful/successful/together person is really like. I like what you stress which is the importance of knowing who you really are in Jesus and who you belong to. Thanks so much Audra.

  15. What I think all women need to know is to
    1) I think this applies to women of all ages: Confidence in the Lord and Christlikeness is beautiful. So many women feel the pressure to spend a lot of time, energy, money on being more beautiful on the outside, which might be noticed in people’s first impressions and circles that are superficial, but all of this is truly meaningless and leads to emptiness if you put your value in this. Replace that time with time spent with Jesus, and you’ll see very clearly that the Lord loves the YOU (the person He made beautifully), and He satisfies you in a way that nothing/no one else can. Also, for me, staying away from 99% of the tv shows, movies, and magazines out there helps a ton. They will bombard you with lies that contradict this, and you end up having to fight really hard to not believe them.

    2) Single women: Do not settle just to get married. Pray for God to lead you to the best man for you and wait! Even if it takes a really long time! 🙂 Yes, this is much easier said than done, but you will have no regrets if you do this!

    3) Young mothers: Don’t be hard on yourself. I am a young mother and struggle with this often. I think it’s so easy for us to do, but we have to 1) keep perspective and know that all of the little mundane things you do each day that are not appreciated by your children are making a difference. It is an important ministry, and I try to remember that I’m serving God while comforting my child, doing the laundry, explaining why we can’t have cookies before breakfast for the 100th time, disciplining, etc. 2) read, read, read the Bible and pray, pray, pray. If you make communication and a close relationship with Jesus a priority, your family will stay on the right track. We all make mistakes, don’t say the right thing, don’t do the right thing, etc. as wives and mothers daily, but if we wake up each morning striving (sometimes having to just start over:)) to love our husbands and children, then our ministry will stay on the right track. For me, this is much easier the days I start with talking to Jesus. This can be a daily struggle for me, but it’s always worth it!

  16. Lauren, I love what you say here! In particular, I was struck by what you said in your first point. “Confidence in the lord and Christlikeness is beautiful.” Is that ever true! Contrast this to the intense pressure so many women feel to look a certain way due to various media. I think you are wise by the way, to limit your exposure to the kinds of influences which have a way of promoting other values. I also like, the way you view your life with your husband/children as your ministry. Very good! Such a view has a way of elevating the conversation about marriage/parenting because it is understood that you do this as one serving God, caring for people who have been entrusted to your ministry.

  17. I can definitely agree with the second point you made Mr. Martin: “Some women feel confused regarding marriage. What am I supposed to do as a wife on a daily basis? How can I make this marriage last?”

    As a 25 year old wife of 3.5 years, it has definitely been a bumpy road trying to figure out how I’m supposed to be a young Godly, successful, submissive wife in the world we live in. Everywhere we turn, we have people telling us women don’t need to rely on men for anything and “we can do it” all ourselves. We are taught to get an education and become successful so that we can make it on our own. Yet, the church teaches us to be submissive and to allow our husbands to be the leader of the household. As a social worker, I work in a very liberal environment. Many of the women that I interact with everyday want to feel respected and “equal” to their male peers, but at the same time, they want to be treated special and pampered by men because they are ladies. How does this coincide? It is so confusing.

    My thought that I think young women should know is this: There is a way to be a Godly successful wife while at the same time being a submissive wife and respecting your husband’s role as the head of the household. I don’t know the magic “how to” formula and I know it’s not easy, but I also know God blesses our intentional prayers to become the Godly wife he designed us to be. My one suggestion would be for women to stay away from reality TV shows and other forms of the media that tempt us to crave the selfish lifestyle that our world advertizes to be so fulfilling.