What If Your Daughter Doesn’t Want To Get Married

According to a 2020 study released by Pew Research half of single adults are not looking for a relationship, let alone marriage, with only 38 percent of single women specifically actively looking for a relationship. So what does this mean as it pertains to daughters who don’t want to get married?

If your daughter doesn’t want to get married, it’s her choice. Your greatest influence over your daughter’s decisions, marriage included, is when she’s young. Be good role models of your expectations and desires early on. When she’s older, you can offer advice, but the main thing is to love her.

As a mom of a daughter, and a daughter myself, this topic is dear to me and close to my heart. I’m happy to share my thoughts on this, how the topic relates to my own experiences as a daughter, and how it impacts our life as parents of a young adult daughter today, who happens to be quite independent. Read on!

Is it normal for your daughter not to want to get married?

Jubilee did a YouTube episode featuring young professional women and their mothers discussing the idea/ideal of marriage.

So let’s consider today’s norm about daughters (and even sons) and marriage. Is it still common, or not?

In many ways it’s normal for daughters to not want to get married today, or at least put it off. With the age of first marriage rising and an increase in alternative living, it’s not unusual to be single, making it easier for those abstaining. Yet marriage is the center of family values in the US.

Here are some Pew Research statistics about marriage:

  • In 2011 about 50 percent of adults were currently married.
  • In 1960 71 percent of adults were/have been married.
  • First marriages has steadily declined not only in the US but around the world.
  • The importance of marriage and family is divided 50/50, with just about as many people thinking they should be priority with those who think it doesn’t need to be a priority.
  • 69 percent say cohabitation is acceptable even if there are no plans to get married.
  • More democrats than republicans see cohabitation without marriage plans as okay.
  • The more religiously one identifies the less likely to accept cohabitation.
  • And 7 out of 10 say that marriage is important and/or essential to have a fulfilling life.  

Considering these statistics, it’s clear that opinions on marriage have shifted, or as some might view, relaxed over the years. It’s certainly not uncommon for people, daughters and sons both, to wait til later in life to get married, to live with partners outside of marriage, and to consider those unmarried as happy as those married.

However, marriage is still integral in most societies, even the uber-modern like US, Japan, and Germany. It is still custom to get married, to assume couples are married or planning to marry, and to value marriage as a sign of stability.

Likewise, there are continued traditions surrounding marriage like engagement parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding rituals, and so on, demonstrating the importance of marriage. And Business Insider said that the average wedding in the US cost $28,000 in 2019.

So back to our question, ‘is it normal for daughters to not want to get married?’ The true answer is yes and no. It’s normalized for daughters to not want to get married as they’re in increasing company today, but also abnormal in that most people, daughters included, still value marriage as significant.

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Reasons Some Daughters Don’t Want To Get Married

Now to be clear, there are many reasons for daughters to give in order to explain why they don’t want to get married.

1.Probably the biggest reason for daughters to not want to get married is feminism.

Feminism is an interdisciplinary approach to issues of equality and equity based on gender, gender expression, gender identity, sex, and sexuality as understood through social theories and political activism.”

Lisa Day, Eastern Kentucky University

Honestly, this was something that I felt growing up. From high school through most of college, I was not interested in marriage at all. And I’d sworn to not change my name if I ever did decide to get married. Well, I’m happy to say that feeling didn’t last once I met my husband!

Many feminists believe that marriage subjugates women and is too controlling. Thus, those women who think of themselves as feminists are prone to avoid marriage, not valuing it as part of their lives. And in some cases, strongly opposed to it and think of marriage as dangerous and detrimental to women.

2. Another reason common for daughters to give for not wanting to get married is that they’re too busy. With careers and other stressors, many are just so busy they haven’t had time to date, let alone find a desirable partner.

It’s also true that the busier we are, the easier it is to ignore feelings or to overlook personal interests. It’s why we all talk about how time flies or don’t blink, because years have passed before we know it!

3. Just as likely, you might hear that your daughter doesn’t want to get married because she just doesn’t see it’s purpose in today’s world. Years ago women relied on marriage as their means for living: marriage gave them stability; a place to live; food; and their path to parenthood. Women will tell you it’s not necessary today to be married in order to have those things.

4. Then parents should consider that their daughter doesn’t want to get married because she is nontraditional, or unconventional. She may be considering a religious life, where being married to the Church is her aspiration, for instance.

Other alternative lifestyles where marriage may not be on the table are people who don’t want monogamy; live more of a drifter’s life; are homosexual; or extremely career-driven.

Now this isn’t to say these are the only reasons either. There are many others, so the best thing to do is just ask your daughter what she thinks about marriage, and about her reasons for not wanting to get married, if applicable. Then you’ll have a better idea about how to respond.

Special Note: Another reason daughters may not want to get married is because of trauma. It could be from a traumatic childhood or something that happened later, as a teen or young adult, but daughters who’ve experienced a very bad relationship personally or vicariously, could be hesitant about marriage. Therapy and/or support from trusted family or friends may help heal wounds and open hearts towards married life for your daughter. Please talk to your daughter if you think this reason is a possibility for her.

Common Careers for Unmarried Daughters

Some daughters chose a different lifestyle than married with kids, one of which is the religious life.

There are some career choices that fit easily into a traditional married lifestyle, and some that do not. If your daughter chooses one of these careers that don’t align well with marriage, it’s highly likely that she doesn’t expect to get married, or feels she can delay marriage for late adulthood.

These careers are more suitable or amenable to single-life for women:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Religious
  • Politics
  • Entertainment Industry (actress/singer)
  • Pro Sports
  • Military

Women who value marriage are often not career focused and prefer to remain as a stay at home housewife. However there are some professions often chosen from daughters who are more traditionally minded like teacher; nurse; or any 9-5 job or those allowing part-time hours like clerks.

What should you do if your daughter doesn’t want to get married?

While it may be difficult for parents to accept, ultimately it’s a daughter’s choice if she gets married, or not. However, parents have options in the matter and there are concrete actions that can be taken to best deal with the situation.

The best thing parents can do in order to share their message on marriage with their daughter is to be an example. Being good ‘marriage role models’ is probably the best way to influence daughters about the positive nature of marriage, and it’s significance for a happy life.

Then, after that, there are some other suggestions that I think will be most impactful. Let’s take a look at those next.

Be Patient With Your Daughter

Parents should be patient with their daughters. In today’s world, there’s a lot of pressure on girls particularly to have a good career, to establish herself, to assert independence…all before marriage. So while your daughter might profess she doesn’t want to get married, in actuality, it usually translates to, she doesn’t want to get married right now.

For example, our daughter is fiercely independent. When she was a senior in high school, she spent a year abroad living in Germany at only 17 years old. Then, she attended college 1,300 miles away. After that, she moved back to Germany as a Fulbright scholar for another year. Needless to say, marriage was never big on her radar. However, at 22, she actually shared with us that she and her boyfriend have begun talking about marriage. This is certainly in contrast to what she was saying just a year before, when she envisioned not marrying til her 30s!

So often the best action for parents is no action. Be patient and not pushy. Wait it out and usually daughters will come around to wanting to get married, perhaps sooner than you think!

Respect Her Choices

It’s also important for daughters to know that parents respect her, and her choices, even if she says she doesn’t want to get married. So if your daughter says she isn’t interested in marriage, respect her wishes and let her know that you value her decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.

Don’t try to talk her out of it and don’t tell her she’s wrong, silly, stupid, or making the biggest mistake of her life…even if you believe all this.

Granted, if she asks your opinion or for advice, by all means, tell her how you feel and what you think about it. But leave accusations and emotions out of the discussion. It won’t help and will only push her in the opposite direction you want.

And remember, respect doesn’t mean agreement or even approval for her decisions, but rather it means you honor and trust her, your daughter.

Love Your Daughter Always

And most important of all, be sure to show your daughter that you love her. And that your love for her isn’t conditional upon you agreeing with or approving her decisions, or of her doing exactly what you want.

You love your daughter because that’s your obligation as a parent. And it’s not dependent upon anything other than that.

The Takeaway For Your Daughter Doesn’t Want To Get Married

The takeaway here is this: It’s not uncommon or unusual for daughters to not want to get married nowadays. Marrying later in life has steadily risen, as well as those who choose to live unconventional, alternative lifestyles that often don’t include marriage.

This means it’s become normalized for daughters to not get married, or just as normal for daughters to not marry as those who do marry. There is much more acceptance today than there was decades ago, or even a decade ago.

However, just because your daughter doesn’t want to get married, doesn’t mean she’ll always feel this way. Most times it just means she doesn’t want to get married right now. Be patient, and in the meantime, just enjoy having your daughter all to yourself!

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