Single Parent Desires Help and Companionship

As a single mom with three young children, is it okay for me to want another person around to help carry the load? I used to feel pretty self-sufficient, but the burden of doing it all by myself is getting heavier. I work full time, take online college courses, and I'm active in church. Do you have any advice for someone in my situation?

There’s nothing wrong with desiring to enrich your life with close human relationships. If anyone has told you that self-sufficiency is preferable to human interconnectedness, or that the only relationship you need is the one you have with God, they are ignoring what God Himself has said in His Word. The Creator designed us to live in close connection with others. Adam was in perfect fellowship with God before the fall, yet the Lord was still able to look at him and say, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). This statement has a special application to marriage, of course, but it’s also valid in a much broader sense. The New Testament is filled with “one another” verses and passages that emphasize the importance of relationships within the body of Christ. Among other things, we are commanded to love one another, pray for one another, confess our sins to one another, comfort one another, and bear one another’s burdens.

In a more specific sense, it’s completely normal and natural that a woman in your position should desire to find a man to share her life and help her shoulder the burden of raising three children. It sounds like you’re exceptionally busy and committed – perhaps over-committed – and it’s reasonable to suppose that a husband could be a great support to you at this stage in your life. In particular, you need to take steps to ensure that your children don’t get neglected in the midst of all your other activities, and all the best research indicates shows that kids thrive better in a two-parent household. Nevertheless, you have to be cautious about entering into a relationship on the basis of this kind of need. As you probably know, marriage is not simply a pragmatic partnership, and a spouse is something more than a provider, a housekeeper, a nanny, or an assistant parent.

Before moving in that direction, we would strongly encourage you to get some counseling and take a hard look at the kind of relationships you’ve had in the past. If those relationships have been unhealthy and the men have been irresponsible, you want to do everything in your power to avoid repeating that pattern. Call us. Focus on the Family’s Counseling staff will be happy to discuss your specific needs with you over the phone. They can also provide you with a list of referrals to qualified professional therapists in your area.

In the meantime, make an effort to develop some close relationships with other Christian women. Your church is a good place to start. If your congregation sponsors a moms’ group, get involved with it. Do everything you can to build a network of connections with caring women in your neighborhood and community. Join a baby-sitting co-op so you can get a break from the kids once in a while.

Whatever you do, remember that God is in control of your life. He may bring a wonderful Christian man into your life in the future – someone who will love and cherish both you and your kids. But you need to do some of the personal work necessary to grow and mature so that you’re ready should that special individual come along.


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