(You might like to read Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home?)
In looking for Biblical instruction about the unmarried daughter’s role, something that really got my attention were verses like Colossians 3:20, which says “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord,” and verse 18 of the same chapter which says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”
Obviously there is a principle here that a daughter who is a child is supposed to be in obedience and submission to her parents and a wife is supposed to be in obedience and submission to her husband. So then does it make sense that a young lady who is no longer a child and not yet married, should be independent and submitted to no one? According to Scripture, the answer is no. In Numbers 30 we find that a father has spiritual authority over his unmarried daughter and can protect her from making a foolish vow or commitment, just as a husband has authority to protect his wife from doing the same.
We find several references to an unmarried daughter being in her father’s house in that same chapter, and in Leviticus 22, we also read that if a woman was divorced or widowed, she was to return to her father’s house as she was in her youth. While these passages would seem to be a clear indication that an unmarried daughter remained in her father’s house, I think it is also important to look at the Scriptural examples that we have. Here are some of the unmarried daughters that I discovered:
- Genesis 19; we find Lot’s daughters were in his house.
- Genesis 24; we find Rebekah serving her family and in so doing, she ended up serving the man who was to introduce her to her husband.
- Genesis 29; we find Rachel caring for her father’s flocks.
- Exodus 2; Zipporah and her sisters were also caring for their father’s flocks.
- Judges 11; we find Jepthah’s daughter in his house.
I also found that the only Biblical examples we have of unmarried women living on their own, was Rahab in Jericho and the two harlots that brought the baby to King Solomon. In saying that, I have to add the disclaimer that I am not accusing a woman who lives on her own of being a harlot! Far from it! But I do find it interesting that the only Scriptural examples of unmarried women who were not in their father’s homes were those of ungodly women.
But I think the most convincing passage is Titus 2:3-5, which says, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
Everyone is familiar with these verses, they are probably quoted more often than any other verses relating to a woman’s Biblical role. I always understood them to mean that the older women are to teach the young wives how to love their husbands and children and keep their homes, etc. But a brief study of that passage will reveal that the word for “young women” simply means “young, youthful, or recently born” … it does not indicate wifehood at all.
Our family came to realize that these things the young women were to learn, are things that must be practiced. They are not accomplished overnight. How can we expect a woman to train herself for a career, to practice being independent and self-sufficient … and then suddenly she is married and must submit to her husband and be a keeper of her home? Personally, I feel that this verse is referring to the unmarried young women. They are the ones that should be learning to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good and obedient to their husbands … so that once they reach that stage of life, they will have the necessary training and practice for a smooth transition into the role of wife, mother and homemaker.
The exciting thing is – these are things that can be learned at home! You won’t accomplish these traits by paying thousands of dollars of tuition for four years on a college campus. And you can’t practice being a homemaker while working a regular, eight hour a day job. But most young women are provided with the ideal circumstances for learning and practicing these aspects of Godly womanhood … and that is their homes and families. What better way to learn to love and obey your future husband, than to treat your father in this way? What better way is there to prepare to love your children, than to practice this with your own siblings? What better place is there to learn how to take care of a home? And think about all the things that you can learn and study, whether it be character traits, special skills, etc!
This is why I am convinced that my place as an unmarried daughter is in my parents’ home, under their authority, serving my family. It is the perfect training ground to prepare me for my own home and family one day. Some people may think that I have a very narrow vision for the future, and in some ways, I do. I believe that a woman should be a keeper at home, whether married or unmarried. It is common to hear people say that you can be anything you want to be. Just believe in yourself, dream big, and you can do whatever you want to do. But this is not a Scriptural mindset. Titus 2:5 says that the young women are to learn these things so that the word of God is not blasphemed. I do not believe that it is pleasing to the heavenly Father when women do not fulfill the role for which He created them. When we do not fulfill the roles for which we were created, we cannot expect positive results.
In saying all that, I must add that while I feel very strongly about what I believe to be right, I also know that there are many exceptions to the rule. We live in an imperfect world and are surrounded by imperfect people and imperfect situations. I know there are some girls who do not have fathers to provide for them, and there are other girls whose fathers want them to work or go to college. I believe that each family and individual must decide how to walk out the convictions the heavenly Father has given them and it is not our place to judge whether they are doing it correctly or not. This path is going to look different for each family, which brings me to the next topic I want to address … what does a daughter at home do?
(stay tuned for Part Three: What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?)