“Timelines” Only Apply To Women Not Men

by Yvonne Chase on July 15, 2019

Whose timeline are you following for your life? God? Your parents? Family? Culture? Society? In her new docu-series “Timelines”, Katie Couric profiles four women from around the world and explores the pressures put on women by their families and society to marry. Watch the video below and we’ll talk after:

Maluca

I am Maluca and Maluca is me. My life and who I am as a woman in this world is not defined by marriage. And yes, because my life has taken a different direction, it’s caused a whole lot of tension between my parents and me. On two occasions, my father angrily said, “You’re the most different child I have. Where did you come from?” Here’s how my adult life should look according to my parents and my Caribbean culture:

  • Go to college and graduate 
  • Get a stable job; teacher, nurse, doctor, lawyer, government job, etc.
  • Marry (If you don’t marry, you live at home.)
  • Buy a house 
  • Have kids + raise kids
  • Die

Well, I can put a check mark next to graduate college and that’s it. Meanwhile, my siblings have all followed the timeline which looks like they did it right I did/am doing it wrong. Unlike the women in this series, I don’t have a laser focus on work or chasing a dream that delays marriage. It simply hasn’t happened…yet and I say yet because I’m still alive. Obviously, God has a different timeline for my life that may or may not include marriage. Never wanted children coming out of my own body so I’m good in that space. Here’s another video from “Timelines”:

Timelines in China

Am I the only one who noticed a stark difference in the appearance of the two friends? The single friend is stylish and well put together while the married woman looks frumpy and dowdy. Not sure why that stood out to me but it did. Images make a difference because they influence how we feel about a thing. 

Timelines Only Apply To Women

No matter the culture, many people think like the best friend who says, “I don’t want her to be so focused on her work. I want her to be satisfied with her life. I want her to get married.” God help us if marriage is the only way to live a satisfying life.

timelines

I’m sure my father would feel better about my life if I were married and could check off everything on the list above because, for him and my culture, those are all external hallmarks of success. I know he has many concerns about me living alone and going through life alone but here’s the thing, even when I’m alone physically, I’m never alone because Jesus is with me every step of the way. He supplies what I need, opens doors for me, closes doors he doesn’t want me to walk through and leads me through the timeline he designed specifically for my life. At the end of the day, his timeline is the only one that matters. 

Something to think about…

What say you? Is there a lot of pressure on women to get married in your culture/your family? What are your thoughts on “Timelines?”

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie July 15, 2019

You ask good questions, Yvonne. I was married very young. Before I married, I never questioned whether I would someday get married and have babies. I have been married now for over 40 years. Luckily, I picked a great guy, but I was lucky! I could have just as easily picked a jerk! I do think there is much more pressure on women than men to conform in every way.
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Trina Taylor July 16, 2019

Timelines sounds fascinating. I’d never heard of it until reading this post. Will Google it to watch.

To answer your questions, yes, there is a lot of pressure in my family and culture to marry. So much pressure that I think many of us do it blindly without giving much thought if any about what were signing up for.

And no, that same pressure is not applied to men.

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Yvonne Chase July 16, 2019

@Trina,

I was completely fascinated by it and was glad I found it to incorporate into this post. You should definitely watch it in its entirety. The pressure on women to marry needs to stop right along with minimizing and devaluing a woman because she’s not married.
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Lesley July 16, 2019

I think there can be a lot of pressure in this area in the Christian world, but God has different plans for each of us. It’s so important to seek his approval above all.
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Yvonne Chase July 16, 2019

@Lesley,

Amen. Gods approval overall is what matters, after all, he has the master plan for each of our individual lives.
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Lisa notes July 16, 2019

I agree with you. There definitely seems to be more pressure on women than on men to follow a timeline. Maybe part of it has to do with the “biological clock” that we tend to use as an alarm clock. I’m glad you’re living your life on your own conditions instead of forcing yourself into a mold.

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Yvonne Chase July 18, 2019

@Lisa,

Great point about the biological clock. Yes, maybe that is the reason because it lines up with all the external hallmarks of success that we check off in life.
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Anastasia | MightyMemos.com July 16, 2019

This was so interesting to read – I think there is a lot of pressure on women across cultures and women are often ‘damned if they do, damned if they don’t.’

In one capacity, you’re expected to work hard and have a great career. But don’t forget to find love. And be a good mother. But don’t work too much, yet still have an amazing career. And what about those that pursue happiness outside of a career? Or those who choose not to/cannot have children?

I think we need to turn away from what society expects of us and keep our eyes on what God wants for us, as you said! His master plan is the one that matters.

Thank you for starting this discussion! Love and blessings x

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Yvonne Chase July 18, 2019

@Anastasia,

Amen! We definitely need to turn away from what society and our cultures expect of us and keep our eyes laser-focused on what God wants for us. As my pastor always says, are you going to be a Christian according to your culture or the word of God?
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Karen Friday July 17, 2019

Yvonne, your posts are always centered in both reflective and practical ways. They make us really think about what our thoughts and perspectives mean and say about us. And they also play out in very practical ways. In the first video, I love how Katie says there’s often “a disconnect between dreams and expectations.” I see you and Muluca as kindred spirits. My hope and prayer for your purpose and God-ordained plans are realized in your heart AND the heart of your father and family members. But even if that never happens, your heavenly Father sees you, hears you, knows you, and remains faithful in His support of you.

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Yvonne Chase July 20, 2019

@Karen,

Yes, my heavenly Father sees me, hears me, knows me, and remains 100% faithful in his support of me. Thank God for Jesus.
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Patsy Burnette July 18, 2019

Yvonne, I am pretty sure my father could of (or did) say the same things about me—different, and where in the world did you come from?! LOL Fortunately, he was a picture of God’s love and very patient with me! Much of the reason I am able to do what I do today and be who God has called me to be is that my father constantly reminded me, “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” So thankful! Thanks for these reminders.

Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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Yvonne Chase July 18, 2019

@Patsy,

Your father is different than mine. It’s great that you got positive reinforcement from him to be all that you can be. Blessings to you!
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Rebecca Hastings July 18, 2019

I think it’s so interesting the different ways cultures approach this. And marriage is wonderful and worth celebrating (I am this week on the blog), but it’s not the ultimate goal. Jesus is the ultimate goal for all of us.
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Yvonne Chase July 18, 2019

@Rebecca,

It, marriage, is certainly not my ultimate goal. I’m grateful for Katie’s exploration of this topic. I’m fascinated by each woman’s story and how she’s navigating the world in light of the expectations of her culture.
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Jean | Delightful Repast July 18, 2019

Interesting topic, Yvonne. I know men who felt pressured by their parents to meet certain goals. My parents had two girls and two boys and none were ever pressured in this way. No pressure to marry or to have children. But I know that isn’t always the case for everyone, and it isn’t always easy to handle.
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Michele Morin July 18, 2019

I’m so glad that you are not giving in to the pressure to marry just so there will be a check mark beside that on someone else’s list for you. I also married much “later” than my family would have preferred, but I can assure you that my husband and the life we have together now was definitely worth waiting for.
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Mary Geisen July 18, 2019

You have provided a lot of food for thought. I was married and am now single. This also leads to challenges in the Christian world. Thank you for asking such good questions.
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Jana July 19, 2019

Your post is thought-provoking. Something we all struggle with – married or not – is who we really are. Our identity. Ending your post with the reminder that our lives are lived for Christ alone is perfect. It is in Him, surrendered to His purpose and plan for our lives, that we will thrive – regardless of what that looks like.
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Yvonne Chase July 20, 2019

@Jana,

Well said Jana, it is in Christ and Christ alone, surrendered to his purpose and plan for our lives that we will thrive whether single or married. Amen!
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Lauren Renee Sparks July 19, 2019

I think there is a lot less pressure now than there use to be, but I’m sure a lot still exists. laurensparks.net
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Yvonne Chase July 20, 2019

@Lauren,

For me, it’s not so much about pressure as it is about how my life should look.

There’s never been any pressure, however, there’s always been an expectation that my life should look like the list up top.

Katie Couric’s docuseries is recent so yes, the expectation is still there and varies by culture.
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Kate Holmes July 22, 2019

I must admit I knew my mum would be happier if I married so when I worked out she was no long for this world, it did speed up my decision to tie the know. Marriage is not the answer for everyone though and should be an individual choice with an easy way to get out and thrive if it does not succeed #ThatFridayLinky #BinkyLinky
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Barbara Harper July 23, 2019

I think a lot of it does have to do with the biological clock, as Lisa said. And I think for a lot of parents, they rest easier knowing their daughter is “taken care of” by a husband. But so many, even Christians, have bought into the “happily ever after” of marriage and parenting, and that’s just not God’s call for everyone. We should know that from Scripture.

I think a lot of parents of adults also look forward to grandchildren – that may also play into the desire for their kids to marry. I have three adult sons, and only one is married and has a child. I’m honestly glad each one doesn’t have 10 kids. 🙂 I’d have trouble keeping up with them all. Yet I hope to have a few more grands before it’s all over with – but, again, I have to leave that in God’s hands.
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Yvonne Chase July 26, 2019

@Barbara,

I believe you are absolutely right when you say a lot of parents rest easier knowing their daughter is being taken care of by a husband, however, to me that way of thinking is very sad especially for Christian parents who ought to know otherwise.

What if the daughter never marries? Then what? Will the parent stay up all night worrying about who will take care of their daughter? Good luck with that. I’m reading Matthew 6:25-34 and going to sleep.
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Marty Hadding July 26, 2019

I have a beautiful daughter who graduated nursing school in December, has a great job as an ER nurse, and just moved into her very first apartment. We could not be prouder or happier for the life she has made for herself. I feel her exasperation when someone comments, “Now you just need a man.”
We have raised her to value marriage and motherhood but also to live a life that honors and glorifies God whether she is single or married. Her satisfaction and contentment comes from Him and not her circumstances.
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Yvonne Chase July 26, 2019

@Marty,

Amen to this: “Her satisfaction and contentment comes from God whether she is single or married and not her circumstances.”
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