Career and Education and Family - Oh My!?


Dear friends in Christ,

My husband and I have been recently married, and like any married couple we are presently being confronted by a difficult choice. We are wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar situation or if anyone has any advice about the following circumstance?

Presently my husband and I are studying in university, my husband will be graduating this April (electrical engineering) and I will be graduating in April 2007 (with a nursing degree). At first he planned to find a job in the city were we are studying, so that I could finish my studies, however he has recently received an incredible job offer. The only problem is that this job is in another city, in fact it’s in our home town. We were hoping to move back there one day but job offers in his field can be difficult to find in smaller towns. We are not sure what to do now, especially since we aren’t keen on living apart for a year.

So far we see our options as follows:

  1. Living apart for a year with occasional visits (our home town is a 9 hours drive away)
  2. Giving up the job offer and looking for a job in the big city in order to stay together and let me complete my nursing degree
  3. Both of us moving to our home town and trying to transfer into the nursing program there, although this option may lengthen my degree significantly.
  4. Both of us moving to our home town, starting a family right away and postponing the nursing education

For us our marriage and family is a priority, we are both open to having many children and homeschooling them… therefore, I wonder how important my nursing degree is if I’ll be a stay-at-home mom.

Yours in Christ,


I’d choose option 4, but take an occassional class here and there to complete your nursing degree eventually so that when the kids are in school - oh wait, you said you’d homeschool - well, then never mind!!! I’d still choose option 4. :slight_smile: Not that this would happen to you, but a similar situation in my family: My cousin and his wife moved away from each other within a month after marriage because he got a job offer in one place and she was still in college. They decided to put off family for awhile while they pursued their careers, even though they both really wanted kids. They’ve now been married for over 7 years, do not want kids at all, and spend a lot of time apart from each other. I don’t think the earlier separation was a good idea at all!!!


I spent the first months away from my husband - and hate it. I had a good paying teaching position (hard to find!) and gave it all up to move to be with him - which in the end wasn’t so great since he got deployed for a 6 months - LOL! But, that is another story. So, I choose #3 to be close to each other. I would start out full time and if a family comes along, finish part time. A nursing degree is always great to have. And, you can keep up your credentials easily with per diem work.

That’s my :twocents:


As I understand it, clinicals are full time. So, if you want to complete your nursing degree, you should do your clinicals before you have kids.

Are you going for a RN? Could you change it to an associate’s?
That is what I would do.


I vote #4. How awesome that you could move back to your hometown - if that is something you’d really like to do? If you stayed in a bigger city & finished up your degree & THEN started a family, you’d wish you were back in your hometown & maybe your husband wouldn’t be able to find a job there. Plus, as you said… you don’t want to work when you have children anyhow. If your husband would really like this job - I say move back home & try to continue the nursing until you have the baby & then stay home and enjoy the precious little gift you’ve been given! :slight_smile:


I have known so many couples who are in the sciences or medicine where one graduates and takes a post-doc or residency in another town or state and the other stays behind to finish their medical degree or dissertation. It is very common. My husband and I did it ourselves.

It is hard, but if it is just a year it can be done… particularly if you will be within driving distance or on a north-south axis where the flights are fairly cheap. You are so busy when you’re finishing school and during the first year of a job that it actually goes fairly fast. You are going to need to decide, though, what you plan to do if you become pregnant, because you don’t want to be living in fear of a blessing.

The whole idea is to get your education in the bag and be able to work part-time with no additional school expenses once you do have children. Since pregnancy in the first year is hardly guaranteed, you may be using your children’s time to best effect by doing all the education you can before they come.

If it were me, and especially since you will be staying in a familiar place among friends and your husband will be moving close to family, I would go for Option 1, but with the understanding that either partner can say at any time that it is not working out and that you need to switch to Option 3 or 4. The long-distance thing isn’t for everyone! I’m glad I stuck it out and finished, but by the time I had, we’d reached our limit. A short-term sacrifice is fine, as long as you never forget what the sacrifice is for.

As for Option 2…by the time I finished my PhD, I was willing to bag groceries if that’s what it took to be close to my family. I would be hard-put to pass up a good professional job in my area in my own small town of origin.

BTW, the three days before and the three days after a visit are the hardest. Do not go longer than twelve weeks between visits. For most people, I’d say once every month or six weeks is more like it. Rotate who travels, you so you can see family, him so your studies aren’t interrupted by the drive. Me, I’d do a mid-term visit from him, and end-of-term visit by you, with whatever else you can manage thrown in for good measure. (PM me if you decide to do this… we have lots of ideas.)

PS Talk to your counsellor, but be wary of the associate’s degree. My understanding is that the trend in nursing is toward raising job requirements, not lowering them. I think you’ll get the most flexibility (not to mention higher compensation) for your family with the higher degree, but talk to someone who really knows.


Usually I don’t like to just pick one and say it. I usually like to offer possibilities and let you decide.

Having said that. Go with #4. Being apart just isn’t good, no matter how strong and trusting the relationship. If you are wanting to have children (and lots of them) start now. Being younger parents when they are older has many benifits. Maybe keep trying to go to classes, like one a semester, so your units won’t expire. Or try on line classes if you have any general ed left.

Whatever you decide, if you work hard it will pay off. Good luck.


Dear Josee,

It sounds like you answer your own question:

[quote=Josee]For us our marriage and family is a priority, we are both open to having many children and homeschooling them… therefore, I wonder how important my nursing degree is if I’ll be a stay-at-home mom.

… which would mean that the option:

[quote=Josee]4. Both of us moving to our home town, starting a family right away and postponing the nursing education

would fit best with your priorities.

I’ve got to respect you for it too. Not everyone is as courageous and selfless as you seem to be.

God bless, I’ll be praying for you,



simply from a prudential light, you have both been preparing for careers, DH has finished education and found a great job. You are only in the middle of preparation, have no guarantee, altho good prospets of a job, which may or may not pay as well as his current opportunity. Go for the bird in the hand, rather than wait for the bird in the bush. there are nursing schools everywhere, you may lose some time by transferring, but are not even assured that will be your career. Meanwhile you can start your life now, so why wait?

Surely you must have discussed the possibility before this, what mutual choices did you make at the time? If you have not had this discussion before, now is the perfect time to sit down and discuss priorites re careers, where to live, children etc.


[quote=puzzleannie]Meanwhile you can start your life now, so why wait?

There is some merit to this line of thinking, as long as she doesn’t presume that she will become pregnant just for having tried. It doesn’t always work that way.

They are husband and wife now and need to make their decision based on that: being open to parenthood, being willing to do what is best for the other and for the relationship as a whole, and not taking it for granted that they will have years and years to be together, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Having said that, parenthood will come in God’s time, not theirs. Their plans should take in to account that God may send children right away, God may wait to send children for quite some time, and God may not ever send children at all. There are many faithful Catholic women who are never blessed with children. If she could be serving God and others as a nurse while she waits for those blessings to arrive, it would be a good use of her time.

I went for Option 1 and didn’t find that it was “putting off” our life. We were married, we were there for each other, even at a distance. I have an education that I finished before we had children, and now I won’t have to sacrifice any time with them in order to get it. If she gets a nursing degree, she will be in a position to be a breadwinner in a stop-gap, should her husband be unable to work for a time. She will also be able to serve others in the case where motherhood is put on hold by God.

But the long distance thing… it was hard. It is not for everyone, and I will agree that, in the long term, it is a difficult kind of married life, one with many temptations. Still, it is a fact of life if you marry someone in the military, for example. There are valid reasons to make that sacrifice, without forsaking the idea of “forsaking all others.”


Since you’re married, being together should be a priority. Stay together and figure out options from there. —KCT


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit