Editor’s Note: This post is the other side of a post from last month entitled 3 Ways to Love Moms in Your Church
I am thankful for the mothers at my church and all that I have learned from them. One thing I’ve learned is that women without children need relationships with those with children. As one who does not have children, I hope to equip moms to love those who are not moms. Here are three ways to love women, like me, without children in your church.
1. Pursue Real Friendship
Women who don’t have children want to hear about their friends’ kids. But more than that, they want substantial friendships with mothers.
We all long for deep friendships, so when you find yourself in conversation with a woman who does not have children, make it your goal to intimately know her. Ask her questions about her walk with Jesus and how you can pray for her.
I’ve known moms who care more to talk about their children’s sleeping pattern than they care to talk about their sin, struggles, and joys. This communicated to me that they did not care to know me or find ways to relate to me. I knew about their children, but I never knew them. And that made me want to withdraw.
Love your friends who don’t have children enough to know and be known by them.
2. Remind Them That They Are Whole
The world spews lies at women without children, but so can the church. Women who don’t have children are told they need a husband and children to become a true woman. I have been asked, “Have you tried online dating?” and, “Are you being too picky?” I’ve also heard people ask married women, “Will you ever have kids?” and, “Maybe you should try this method to get pregnant.” These questions, though not intended to do so, diminish the personhood of single or childless women. They imply that women are not whole unless they marry and mother.
I would argue that combating these lies with the truth is the most loving thing you can do for a woman without children. Remind women without children that they have everything they need for life and godliness in Christ (2 Peter 1:3).
3. Invite Them All The Way In
We were all adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:15), so welcome those without children into your family. Welcome them into the deep belonging of Christian fellowship.
Strive to make childless women feel like family even when doing so is uncomfortable. Weaving your friend into the weekly rhythms of your family is one way to invite them all the way in. Give her the opportunity to care for your kids. When someone who doesn’t have kids is able to love and be known by your own children, she will feel like she belongs to your family. Also, let her build intimate friendships with you and your husband (if you’re married), as fellow sisters and brothers in Christ.
Move beyond ways you can use your friend without children and toward ways you can bless them. When a mother invites someone into her home, she may be tempted to think only of ways this person can help her. Asking someone to babysit is a legitimate way to invite others into your home. But don’t let it be your only means of welcoming them.
Here are a few practical suggestions for blessing, not using, someone without children:
- Let her see unpolished parts of your life (don’t present your home in perfect condition all the time).
- Invite her to dinner and let her see the way you discipline your kids, the hardships of family dynamics, and other parts of your daily life.
- Ask her to come over when the kids are napping, or after they have gone to bed, so the two of you can talk.
- If she babysits for you, don’t miss the opportunity to ask her how she is doing while she’s there.
I pray that these three encouragements will help you seek real, intimate friendships, with those without children in your church.