Should Parents Encourage Adult Children to Date?
- Thursday, April 12, 2012
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: How do I encourage my twenty-something single kids to date without it seeming like I am just eager for the grandchildren to get here (which I am!)? I want them to find God's choice for them, but they can get so busy in their careers that they don't have time to look around. Without meddling, I want them to have the blessing of a companion and lifetime love that I have had with their dad.
HE SAID: Having been in the crosshairs of a well-meaning “wanna-be” grandmother for many years, I truly understand the “enthusiastic eagerness” you are feeling.
I assume you have already expressed the desires you have to your children and have probably received the proverbial, “Mommmm!” in conjunction with the rolling of their eyes followed by an immediate change of subject or disappearance altogether.
“Life is short.” “You’re not getting any younger.” “Time is slipping away.” Sound familiar?
Your children are intelligent enough to understand the “reality” of time versus age and I’m sure they know (by now) how much it would mean for you to have grandchildren; however, you may first want to consider your blessings.
- You have twenty-something children who have careers, rather than unemployed borders.
- They are responsible to not have “messed around,” and provide you with grandchildren you may never get to see or have to take care of (i.e. unwed pregnancy).
- They may truly be seeking “God’s choice,” rather than simply getting married to be married.
As difficult as it may be for you to have to wait for grandchildren, let me remind you of a couple of things.
Your children probably do want to be married, have kids and live a “lifetime of love” since you and your husband have set a great example for them to follow. They may even be more selective of a future mate because of it.
Being single today is difficult. While many are just seeking a spouse, others are looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right for Them, which can be a long, tedious and prayerful process often accompanied with lonely days and nights in an attempt to not become a divorce statistic.
What doesn’t help is a loving, well-meaning friend or relative reminding them on every occasion what their “status” is from a self-interest point of view.
Do not make your children angry, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
You have done the latter, be careful not to tread on the former.
SHE SAID: You don’t indicate if you have verbalized this desire to your children yet . . . that you are wanting them to date so that grandchildren will be brought into this world sooner rather than later.
If you already have, I wonder how they feel about it or if they feel pressure to please you and make things happen in their life with your wishes and timetable in mind instead of God's.
But if you have not shared your desire with them, then may I advise you to keep these thoughts about your children (and future grandchildren) to yourself. Here’s why . . .
The key words are in your last sentence: “without meddling.” The only way I know of that you can show respect to your single adult children (and they are adults now) while holding on to your desire for grandchildren without meddling is through prayer.
It seems like your intentions are right on: “I want them to find God’s choice for them.” Who wouldn’t want that for their children . . . or for anyone, for that matter?
However, the problem I see in your situation is that you are wanting to move things along in your adult children’s lives. And that’s really not your place. It is your place to listen, to encourage them in their spiritual walks and to point them to the Truth found in God’s Word. But it is also your place to let God be sovereign in their lives. Let his will be done . . . in his way and in his timing (Proverbs 19:21).
I know that is hard to do, to let go—especially as a parent. You want the best for your children. You want them to be happy. You want everything to go right and without pain or struggle in their lives. But parents must also be careful to be praying that their desires for their children are in line with the Lord’s.
For example, perhaps it is not in God’s plan that your single adult children find “the one” right now. Perhaps he has other things in store for them that need their focus and their commitment without the distraction of a romantic relationship (or taken a step further, a spouse and children). Who can say? (Isaiah 55:8-9).
It might be helpful to focus on praying that the Lord would be shaping them into the young men or women that he wants them to be in this season of singleness, so that they will be prepared and ready if and when he is ready to bring a potential mate to them.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Laura MacCorkle, Senior Editor at Crosswalk.com. She loves God, her family and her friends. Singleness has taught her patience, deepened her walk with the Lord and afforded her countless (who's counting anyway?) opportunities to whip up an amazing three-course meal for one.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
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