3 Reasons Moms Need to Let Go of Their Children When They Marry

Rhonda Stoppe

Speaker and Author
Updated May 14, 2024
3 Reasons Moms Need to Let Go of Their Children When They Marry

Our eldest daughter, Meredith, attended a Christian University about six hours from home. So, much of her college life and relationships were developed under our watchful eye.

Her college experience happened prior to social media, so we didn’t even have the opportunity to catch online glimpses of her with her friends. We were excited whenever Meredith would bring home some of her college friends for a weekend. But nothing surprised us more than when a six-foot-four young man named Jake accompanied her home for Spring Break. I mean, we knew he was coming. She had called to let us know. But realizing how much this young man was enamored with our girl was an unexpected surprise - since she had not been one to date at all during her four years away at school.

Jake and Meredith spent that week meeting her church family, interacting with our family, and letting us know they were very serious about marriage. Jake and my husband, Steve agreed to talk on the phone once a week, which eventually lead up to Jake asking for Meredith’s hand in marriage. You can read all about Meredith and Jake’s whirlwind romance in my book, Real Life Romance. (You can even watch them tell their sweet love story on my YouTube Channel.)

When our daughter got married, it was a wonderful celebration that took place in a beautiful garden. After their honeymoon, the two had plans to move to another city to work and volunteer in a youth ministry, along with a friend they knew from college.

As the two settled into married life, my husband Steve and I had to learn what it meant for our daughter to leave us and cleave to her new spouse. There were so many times we wanted to jump in to help them out when they needed to learn on their own. Sometimes, we overstepped, for which we apologized. And sometimes we waited until they asked. But in the end, our relationship with our daughter and her new husband grew to be one of genuine love and respect. Maybe you’ve been there? Maybe you’re there now, or trying to figure out just what that means.

As a Christian author and speaker, I have seen many moms struggle to let go of their children when they marry. It is understandable that parents want the best for their children and may find it difficult to release control over their lives. However, I firmly believe that it is crucial for you and me to let go and allow our children to start their own families. Let’s look at three reasons a mom needs to let go of their children when they marry.

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Groom and Bride pinkies linked with wedding rings

1. Marriage Is a Sacred Covenant

Marriage is a Sacred Covenant between two individuals and God. When your child decides to get married, they are committing to a lifelong partnership. Malachi 2:14-15 says, “…She is your companion and wife by covenant. But did He not make them one…”

As a mother, it is important for you to respect and support your child and their spouse’s independence from you while encouraging them to depend upon God. When you learn to let go and allow your newlywed children to establish their own family unit under the Lord’s authority, you are showing respect for the God-ordained sanctity of marriage. This in turn allows the couple to grow closer together as one.

Avoid the temptation to interfere, manipulate, or dictate their decision-making process.

Have the courage to invite your adult child to tell you when you’re interfering. I have certain buzz phrases that my adult children will use when I am being “too helpful” as they like to call it. It’s up to me to “read the room” and back off when I’m stepping into interfering. Though your own experience may help you know what is best, letting them learn together will grow their trust in one another and their dependence upon Christ.

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Mother with bride on wedding day leave and cleave adult children

2. Enable Them to Develop a Strong Sense of Independence

If a parent continues to exert control over their married child, it will likely interfere with the unity in their child’s marriage. Imagine how offended your son in law might become if you are constantly slipping money to your daughter. Or how might your daughter-in-law feel if your son calls you to discuss their financial decisions before he talks with his wife about it?

While your intentions are to help out, your overstepping might likely be interpreted by your son in law as you way of saying he cannot provide properly for your little girl. Or your daughter in law might imagine that her son thinks more of your advice than her own insights or opinions.

While the biological child might appreciate how their mother constantly comes to the rescue, their spouse might find those actions offensive. The way you support the independence of your married children will likely draw them toward you, and they might even ask for your advice. But be aware that offering too much advice will likely be interpreted negatively. So, wait and pray for opportunities to help the couple out so they can develop their unique sense of independence together as a couple.

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Parents with adult children at wedding

3. Build a Harmonious Relationship with the Couple 

It is natural for you to want to protect and guide your adult children, but you must understand that boundaries are needed to establish a good relationship with them. As your kids embark on their new journey as husband and wife, or if your children have been married awhile and you can’t figure out why they’re pushing you away, it is crucial for you to evaluate how you interact with them. If you are tempted to help them at every turn, they might be resenting your need to be involved in every aspect of their personal life.

Maybe you don’t like the way they’re raising your grandchildren. Please be aware of the damage you can do to your relationship with your adult child if you are regularly offering your own way of doing things –– which will make them feel you disapprove of their parenting skills. By respecting your children’s autonomy and allowing them space to make their own mistakes, they can learn from their experiences. And more importantly these experiences can drive them toward dependence upon Christ - rather than upon you. When you learn to foster a relationship with your married children based on mutual respect and understanding, you will most likely enjoy a positive relationship with your child, their spouse, and your grandchildrenThis, in turn, will likely strengthen the bond between you and your children while creating a positive environment for their new family to thrive.

As a mother, it is vital that you learn to let go of your children once they wed. You must learn to let go for the benefit of their marriage, personal growth, and relational harmony. When you recognize the sanctity of their marriage, promote independence, and foster a healthy relationship with your married children and their spouse, you can play a vital role in empowering them to build a strong and successful marriage that depends upon Christ.

So, dear friend, while it’s tempting to do otherwise, take if from me - an old lady who knows stuff - learn to trust in God’s plan for your children and embrace the beautiful journey of watching their family flourish under the bonds of their sacred covenant marriage.

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Author Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe is a best-selling Christian author of seven books. With 40 years of experience in helping women build no regrets lives, Rhonda has become a highly sought after voice in the Christian living community. She has written hundreds of articles for Crosswalk.com and other popular magazines. Rhonda has appeared on The 700 Club, 100 Huntley Street, Family Life Today, Dobson’s Family Talk, and her interviews at Focus on the Family have been named in their Best Of Episodes 2021 & 2023. “I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night,” is what listeners say. Her speaking platform includes: Homeschool conferences, (MOPs) MomCo, MomCon, Legacy Grandparenting Summit and more. She is the host of the award-winning podcast, Old Ladies Know Stuff. Rhonda has over 40 years experience as a pastor’s wife, speaker, mom coach, marriage mentor, mother of four–and did we mention she’s a grandmother of 15! Find out more about Rhonda at NoRegretsWoman.com.

Originally published Tuesday, 14 May 2024.