I’m looking for “chapter and verse” from the Bible on girls and young women staying at home, under their father’s protection and authority, until marriage. It was an easy concept until we have to back it up!

Our daughter lives at home with us, has been homeschooled since birth, and graduates this year. She has developed an excellent godly relationship with a young man who appears, by God’s grace, to be the one she will marry. Our daughter really has no desire to move out, and is perfectly willing to remain at home until such time as she marries.  But the issue still arises from time to time, because her boyfriend is away at school, and the long-distance relationship is a struggle for both of them.

Hi there,

As the oldest in a large family, I felt empathy for your mother heart! I can also see why your daughter would be feeling a lot of pressure and wistfulness. It’s a challenging situation, but you’re right: there are answers in the Bible.  Let’s have a look.

I imagine that most Christians would accept the existence of a broad biblical principle of staying under the protection of various authorities — something that applies to every single believer, regardless of age or gender. (See, for instance, Psalm 91:1, Matthew 23:37; Proverbs 14:12; II Cor. 11:3; Romans 13; 1 Peter 2:13–15; 1 Timothy 2:1–2; 1 Timothy 3:5; Ephesians 6:2–3;1 Timothy 2:1–4) In addition, many feel the Bible indicates that women are especially spiritually sensitive, and thus in need of specific protection — from deception, for instance, and from their own enthusiastic promises, which might later turn into burdens. (I Timothy 2:9-15; Numbers 30)

I think the real question here is how. How do these verses look in real life application? How are they carried out? With what attitude? And to what degree of detail?

I do not have children of my own, but I have observed my own parents, and my Heavenly Father in action. There is a place to demand obedience, yes, but God seems to expend a lot of energy on winning our hearts and showing Himself worthy of trust. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21) I am so grateful for parents who did that for me. As I grew older, they encouraged me to do my own spiritual homework (pray, study, seek God’s direction), while coming to them for advice or course-correction as needed. Now that I’m an adult, they treat me as a daughter, and also a sister in the Lord. Sometimes they speak to me strongly on matters of integrity: areas where I am not living out the Bible. But they are also genuinely interested in my opinions and convictions, and will occasionally seek my help in sensing God’s leading for our family.

At this point, I’m a thirty-something single woman who still considers herself under her parents’ protection. Mostly by following their example, I have a heart to support our home, and to have my own home someday. (Titus 2) But the main focus of my parents’ verbal exhortation is that I will “seek first the kingdom,” however God assigns me to do so. (Matt. 6:33, I Cor. 7:33) I’ve spent several years living at home, an integral part of my parents’ calling. I have also spent several years of my life volunteering with homeschooling moms or with our church, caring for the elderly, mentoring younger siblings and young women, and developing and using my writing and editing skills. At times this has meant living across the country — or even the world — from my parents, but always in a situation where I was surrounded with other believers, and willingly maintaining regular contact with home, whether for a shoulder to cry on, for advice, or for prayer.

Has it always been easy? No. Our family has experienced many bumps in the road, and my parents have had to fall flat on their faces (figuratively speaking) before the Lord, calling out to Him for wisdom to meet the needs of individual children with unique personalities and struggles. But by the grace of God, there is a strong bond of trust and love between my parents and me. And oh, I hope this letter encourages you and your daughter! He is so able to sort out the knots and bring our families into unity! I believe that’s His heart for us. (John 17:23, Mal. 4:6)

Praying for you,
Elisabeth
P.S. Here are some additional articles you might want to read:
Marriage is Not My Highest Calling
20-Something Reasons to Live at Home
Absence Makes the Heart Grow

7 Comments

  1. Dear Elizabeth,
    Thank you for this beautifully written article.
    We have a 33 year old daughter, who left home for 1 year to go to University but was not what she wanted to do, so came back home and has been with us since then. Would love to be married with children but that has not happened yet. Her name is Kristy and she is a piano teacher. Our home is her piano studio. It works well. Kristy is travelling around America with a Christian girlfriend for 4 weeks at present. So my husband and I are enjoying our home to ourselves. My friend said to me that Kristy should be out in her own place. And sometimes I think the same thing. But after reading your article which brought tears to my eyes. I felt convicted of my selfishness. Our home belongs to the Lord and it is a blessing to our daughter that she can live and teach piano here. And she feels safe and loved and protected.
    We all have learnt to love and respect each other and using our home to serve others.
    God Bless
    Colleen Bondeson ❤

  2. Avatar Samantha R says:

    Thank you for this. It spoke to my heart today.

  3. I liked your answer, Elisabeth, and I like the other comments as well.

    My life summary:

    -Birth-age 18: lived with parents
    -College years: lived in the dormitory. Living in a dormitory at a secular university as a Christian can be pretty challenging. There are a lot of things you don’t have control over, and in that sense it can be even more challenging that renting an apartment.
    -College graduation (age 22)-age 29: missionary in Russia. Lived with female roommates.

    I think it’s important to have a roommate so there is someone to keep you accountable and help you work on your people skills. In the body of Christ, we’re all family, and relationships with sisters in Christ can be just as valuable as those with parents.

    I haven’t been under my parents’ “protection” for several years, and I miss that. I WANT someone to know what time I come home, how my spiritual life is doing, and whether or not I’ve eaten a healthy breakfast. Sometimes it’s too easy to put on masks and hide problems with sin or specific needs in our lives, unless we’re living with someone.

    I also think there is a difference between control and accountability; between legalism and concern.

    -what time to go to bed? A decision that a young adult woman can make on her own.
    -whether or not you came home last night? Something that housemates should be concerned about.

    On the other hand, if you’re living under the same roof, you need to submit.

    The other side to the issue is when girls DO want to stay at home and feel pressure from society to leave, just because it’s the thing to do. I think parents can think of ways for grown children to increasingly share responsibilities, rather than forcing them out if they’re not in a position to live alone.

  4. I am married but lived at home until that point. It was one of the most blessed experiences staying at home under my father’s protection. Luckily, my parents lived about 5 min away from a major university, and I was able to earn my bachelor’s degree while living at home. I see far too many girls jump at the first chance to live outside of the home, and I don’t see very much benefit to it. However, while I see many benefits to living at home (ie, being under your parent’s protection, practicing compromise, and saving money to bless your future spouse with), I believe that each girl and her parents must follow where the Lord leads them. For instance, my sister is still at home and will finish her bachelor’s degree up in December. She and my parents are seeking where the Lord would have her go next, which may be outside of the home to a Bible college or what-not. Each person must follow where the Lord leads them. You can still live outside the home and be under your parent’s covering and protection…it really is a heart issue.

  5. Elisabeth,
    I would like to thank you for this wonderful post.
    At thirty years old, I still live at home as a caregiver to my parents who have Congestive Heart Failure while attending classes at the local community college. I enjoy taking care of my precious mom and dad and want to have a career in the medical field. Your post was very encouraging because so many parents don’t seem to believe in allowing their grown children to remain at home with them until marriage.
    For me, living at home makes life easier because I don’t have to face the temptations that living in a secular dorm or apartment would bring. I have chosen to remain a virgin until marriage and to honor God with the way I live my life. Please keep me and my family in your prayers.
    Sincerely,
    Ms. Robin Clark

  6. I am in my early twenties and am financially blessed enough to live on my own. Some of my friends live on their own, some still w/ their parents. I don’t think the Bible is very clear about whether girls should stay home or not before getting married (if ever….not all of us will get married!). The best question to ask is, “Is this what God wants for me?” He laid a desire on my heart to get out on my own and then provided more than enough income for it to be possible. If it’s something God wants, He is the one who will take care of us physically, financially, and spiritually. It was an excellent move for me, but not something that everyone is led to. If you’re staying home because you’re scared or worried, that’s not a good reason, but if it is enabling you to serve God in the capacity He has for you, it’s the best thing! 🙂 Seek God first and He will answer and provide!

  7. I lived at home until my late twenties because I worked in a Christian school and made very little to live on my own. When I did get a better job I did move out and do not regret the experience one bit. It prepared me to budget and face challenges of finances, home repair, and dealing with neighbors on my own. I did marry in my early thirties and I look back very fondly to the time on my own. Now that I have a young daughter I would want her to have that same growing experience, but I am scared to put her out in such a crazy world. Times are indeed different.

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