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Why Being an Independent Woman Isn’t Always Good

By: Kristen Clark

“Hey honey, I really think we should go talk about this some more,” Zack said in a serious tone.

We had just finished having a rather intense discussion about something that we didn’t see eye-to-eye on (at all). My emotions were completely driving the train and I was “done” discussing it. I crossed my arms like a child throwing a fit and looked up at him with a frustrated look.  

“Babe, come on.” He said in a firm, but loving tone. “Let’s go finish this conversation. We need to.” He gestured for me to join him on the couch.

I could feel my independent spirit rising up from deep within me.

I didn’t want to discuss this “issue” anymore, and I didn’t feel like talking to him right now. Instead of showing my husband honor and respect in that intense moment…I totally caved in to my sinful desires and feelings.

“I don’t want to,” I said resolutely, staring up at Zack. “And I’m not going to. I’m done with this conversation for now.” And with that, I walked away.

Ouch. My words and attitude were u-g-l-y! (Now you know how sinful I can be!) It wasn’t pretty. I had allowed my “independent” and selfish heart to rule over my obedience to God’s word. I knew I was called to honor and respect my husband (Eph. 5:33)…but in that moment I didn’t care.

I wanted my way more than I wanted to honor God or Zack.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, I recognized my foolish and independent heart, and repented pretty quickly. Zack and I were then able to work through our conflict like two mature, Christian adults. And we did. Hallelujah.

Independence.

It’s something that we, as women, are encouraged to embrace from a very young age. Our culture upholds independence as one of the greatest accomplishments for women to achieve in our life. And I’m not just talking about the kind of independence that enables you to go to the store and shop by yourself (that’s a healthy level of independence).

I’m talking about a much more dangerous type of independence.

In our book, Girl Defined, we write this about independence:

“Whether you’re currently married or single, our culture is pressuring you to attain an unhealthy level of independence. You’re encouraged to separate yourself from your parents, from your family, from your husband, and from your children. You’re encouraged to pursue what you want, when you want it. ‘Shove everyone aside because you come first.’” -Girl Defined Book (chapter 3).

In Girl Defined, we actually identify, “3 Pillars of Counterfeit Femininity,” and Independence is one of those pillars. Our culture in pressuring and encouraging women to embrace a mindset and attitude that are totally contrary to God’s best for us, and total independence is one of those lies.

“But I thought it was healthy for women to be totally independent?,” someone recently asked me in response to this section in the book.

Being an independent woman can be a good thing – IF used in the right context and situation. However, being an independent woman can also be a devastating thing when used in the wrong ways.

And unfortunately, our culture is pushing for us to be independent in many of the wrong ways.

The mindset for independent women that is encouraged in our modern culture sounds something like this:

  • I don’t need any help…I can do it on my own.
  • Who needs a man!? I’ve got this.
  • I don’t want to ever have to depend on anyone but myself.
  • I like making my own decisions and don’t ever need any input.
  • This is my life, I can do whatever I want with it.
  • Nobody tells me what to do.
  • I am my greatest authority.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Ouch. Yep – some of those statements were going through my head during my conflict with Zack that day.

How many of those statements have you said (or even thought)? Maybe you’re even feeling some right now.

When we, as women, embrace this extreme mindset of independence, we unknowingly shove everybody else aside (including the men in our life), and place our desires on the top of the list. We even begin to lose sight of God’s authority in our life, and start thinking we’re the boss.

We lose respect for outside wisdom. We compete against others rather than serve them. We become close minded to others’ opinions. We disrespect the men in our life (dad’s and/or husbands). We become extremely self-focused. We ignore God’s commands for our life.

Regardless of what our culture is praising in modern women, I’m here to say that being independent isn’t always good.

Philippians 2:4 is just one example of why this attitude isn’t helpful: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

As Christian women, we are called to be like Christ. And Christ came to serve, not to be served (Matt. 20:28). Extreme independence often promotes pride, while selflessness produces humility.

Instead of jumping on board with the independent current of our day, I pray you will carefully guard yourself against this damaging mindset and attitude. We need others and we need God. We weren’t created for total independence, but for healthy dependence and love for one another.

For more on this topic, you can grab a copy of Girl Defined and check out chapter 3.

Let’s chat.

  • How have you experienced the “push for independence” in your life?
  • In what ways do you see an unhealthy level of independence in your attitude?

P.S. Happy 4th of July!!! Woohoo! 

Photo Credit: Here 

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  • Heidi

    I was definitely confused on this subject when I was close to a girl who believes very much in women being independent. Her arguments seemed so accurate, but I came to realize the error in them. I’m a nanny, and the mom of the family is definitely buying in to this independence stuff. It breaks my heart to see the way that her choices are affecting her kids and husband, and they seem to be going through some marital problems right now, which really affects their kids. I don’t really know how to deal with it. I pray for them all, of course, but its so frustrating to me that the mom seems blind to the effect of her actions and they all seem perfectly fine with the family just dissolving. I feel so helpless, I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know how to handle the kids that are just acting out because of all this confusion in their lives.

    • Jesusfreak17

      Oh that’s so hard! I think the only thing you can do (besides pray) is encourage their kids. Maybe remind them how much their parents love them– regardless of their relationship with each other. Show them God’s love in the way you take care or them. Hope that helps a little. 🙂

  • I’ve always been the girl who was strongly against feminism of any kind, and I thought I was totally in the clear of any of that stuff…That is till I read “I don’t need any help…I can do it on my own.” I do that too often, my sister will want to put up my cloths for me which is really nice of her buut when she offers sometimes I’ll just say “Nope, I don’t need help! Thanks, I’ll do it myself.” Or really anything that has to do with stuff that belongs to me I dislike for anyone to touch or mess with anything of mine. This is something I need to pray about this and work to get rid of this little independent monster. Btw, I got a pre order of y’all’s book and I LOVED it, y’all were right on all the way and it has been a great blessing to me. : )

  • Kaela Schultz

    Thank you for this post!!! I am living at home, but i need to remember that i need to accept what my parents say, and obey it! I LOVE you guys!

  • blondenurse12

    Wow, what a pathetic and spineless thing you are. To let your husband own you like some type of animal all in the name of “religion”. What are you teaching your children? Disgusting

    • Briana Soto

      Hello @blondenurse12:disqus
      Kristen is actually BOLD and INSPIRING rather than pathetic and spineless. Here is a justification for that response. In a God-defined woman she is obedient of God’s Word. That is the final source of authority. And as a God-defined woman the word says in Colossians 3:18 and again in Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives be submissive to your husbands.” One thing I have come to realize is if there is something that is repeated in the Bible it’s important. We don’t get to pick and choose what we want to listen and obey to, we obey it all! In the Bible it talks about adding and taking away from God’s Word. That is found in Deuteronomy 4:2 and Proverbs 30:5-6. We as women in today’s society are told to be strong, independent and self-sufficient. While these may appear satisfying it only leads to temporary satisfaction which leaves you wanting more and more power. While this may seem okay, God did create Adam (Man) first, then Eve (Woman) second. He did this intentionally. A quote from very 2 wise women “We are created equal but with different yet meaningful purposes.” Men are to be the main provider of the home. In the 21st century many men fail to do this, because they were raised in fatherless homes and have absolutely no idea how to run a home so they leave, continuing the never ending cycle. The chain is broken when a young man realizes the position he has been put in. He is called to be the head of the household. It’s hard for women to respect someone who leaves and disappoints. Trust me, my biological dad walked out of our family picture. For many years I struggled to respect him and just recently I’ve learned the power of forgiveness and the impact that has not only on my spirit but it truly lifts and burden off my shoulders. Now speaking to women, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being strong but, we are also told to be soft in spirit. We are supposed to be the care takers of the home. The nurturers. This is a characteristic that no man can have. Men have the characteristic of authority and discipline. So to wrap all of this up, women well God-defined, God-Fearing women are called to be submissive and they will listen even when there flesh wants to rise. Choose which your going to serve. Flesh or God. I will be praying not only for you but for everyone who reads this. God Bless.
      In Service For The King,
      Briana

      • Ana

        TOTALLY Agree with you. I was just listening to Revive our heart by Nancy Lee demoss, and she was talking about submission and how is something liberals and NON Christian people wouldn’t understand.

    • Ana Castro Yanez

      @blondenurse12 to add to what @Briana Solo said. The Bible also instructs the husbands to not be harsh with their wives and to love them so much that they would be willing to die for them. If a woman’s husband is treating her like an animal she should reevaluate the relationship and seek proper guidance. The Bible DOES NOT SAY that women should be treated like animals. Look at the way Jesus treated women with respect and with dignity. Ultimately when we seek prideful independence we are saying, ” I do not need your help because I can do it all myself.” Trust me, if this is our attitude towards our family, friends, or bosses it will be our attitude before God. We cannot go through life alone. We do need help. Look up the song Brother by NEEDTOBREATHE. It speaks of our need to go through life depending on others
      .

      • Rachel M.

        They are not saying that men should treat women like animals. I don’t understand how you reached that conclusion. The Bible says that men are the leaders in the household and are the protectors and providers. The women in their wedding vows promise to love and obey. The men vow to love, honor, and respect. Men are to treat their wives with love and respect, but they are the spiritual leaders in the home.

    • Stefanie

      I am a believer but I have to agree with you. This kind of submissive mindset is what is taught by the Duggars. And look where that got them! Women need to be strong and independent. What if your husband died suddenly, how would you take care of the family? There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. I cannot take care of my family if I don’t take care of myself first. I really disagree with this article.

  • Allison the Great

    Sometimes when we’re angry it’s good to step away from and re-evaluate the situation. You not wanting to further discuss an issue with your husband was not disrespectful. He’s your spouse, not your dad.

  • Musical Ragamuffin

    I notice myself being independent in small ways, but the next time I do it the same way!

    I like me and my opinion and my way too much in my relationships. Humbleness is something I need to learn.

  • Nicole Vacca

    Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it is wise to step away from an argument to avoid saying something you might regret later, or to avoid letting it escalate to the point of going off topic and taking out the “laundry list” of complaints you have about each other. It often depends on your personality type. I know for myself, whenever I have an argument with my mom, it is good for us to take a breather and we often come back later with a better perspective and a calmer approach. We speak with more love and understanding after taking a break.

  • Nicole Vacca

    Also, there is nothing wrong with being able to change a tire or open a jar on your own 🙂 But if a man offers, I would let him do it.

  • When I read posts like this one, I’m struck by how different my perspective is. Maybe it’s because I’m a liberal feminist, but I think in terms of interdependence, not dependence nor independence. Because we are interdependent. It’s so important for us to have autonomy, to be able to follow our consciences as God directs; but it’s also so important to be aware of how our actions affect others. How can we communicate compassionately to better understand and connect with those we love, and even with total strangers? How can we be a beacon, a candle shining on a hill instead of hiding under a bushel? I read all the comments below, and not once did I see the word, “interdependence.” Yet I believe that is the key to mutually respectful relationships and intact families. Indeed, that’s why I’m still living in the same household as my wife and children long after transitioning from living as a man to living as a woman.

  • Grace

    how about if the situation is vice versa? the husband is rejecting the woman even if she really likes to discuss something that really matters to her heart? That is definitely ouchy on the side of the woman.

  • Katrina

    I believe in some degree of submission but not too much. The Bible does call us to be somewhat independent, we are to have our own faith and salvation in God because we are each accountable to God for our own actions. We need to have a purpose outside of our family and outside of relationships because those things aren’t guaranteed. Not every woman will marry , not every woman will have a father figure (like myself) and it is important that these women do not then become purposeless because they feel they have no one to “submit to”. The proverbs 31 woman is strong, independent, and ambitious she consults God as her head and does things which still honour her husband, but her husband is not always involved or around. She still works and is loving and caring but she is still quite autonomous. I’d also like to add that we do have to be independent to some extent because situations change such as death, illness and partners leaving which also require us to stand up and take control on our own two feet. This is in danger of making some girls believe that in order to feel complete or purposeful they NEED a male figure in their life when this simply is not always true. There’s also the problem with the fact that these male figures aren’t always right in their instruction, at times deviant men may try to manipulate and hurt women/girls the Bible tells us not to obey bad instructions. Every person must “know God for themselves” thus we cannot be completely blindly submissive; such submission could cost your life/soul. Some degree of independence in women is required. It is just not supposed to overpower the relationship where both individuals need to cooperate and learn to both compromise, submission in moderation.


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