Discerning: marriage before career or career before marriage (female perspective)?


#1

This is something that's been on my mind lately. For those women who are married/engaged/discerning marriage, particularly after college...did you get your career in order first or did you discern while your career was still developing? I ask because I am in my late twenties yet due to the economy and my fields of choice, am on a long, hard road to financial stability. I am aware that I may not be able to have a solid career for several years, and may have to survive on contract jobs and/or a mixture of part-time jobs for the foreseeable future. I am not lazy or indecisive-- it's just been a tough market to crack since I graduated from college and I've done the best I can to survive. Meanwhile, I'm starting to see that those men who are seeking partners tend to look down on women like me. I feel like I don't have enough money or assets and won't have enough for another decade at the very least (if ever)...at which point it would most likely be too late to have a family. So, what's a girl to do? Forget about marriage until the career improves? Or work steadily on both areas? And if you're one of the lucky ones who has somehow managed to have a relationship when your career situation was less than ideal or created a plan that got you where you needed to be in an unforgiving market...how did you get there?


#2

When my husband and I met, I had less than a one hundred dollars to my name, and a funky old car. He was still in school, and had less material goods than I. Everything we have done, we have done together. We've gone through lush times economically, and we've suffered through job loss, economic woes (hey, this economy is tough on a lot of us, you're not alone).

I think you can discern a relationship somewhat easier, believe it or not, when times are difficult-- after all, if a man looks down on you for struggling, what would he be like in a marriage when times get bad?


#3

Stop dating the wrong kind of men, the right men to marry wont care about your career or your financial income, he will care more about your virtue and goodness.

If you have debts from college then make paying those of a priority as they will be a real burden in a marriage.

Other than getting rid of those debts any man worth his salt will be happy to do his best to provide for you and his children so that you can devote yourself full time to the most important work a wife has to do which is managing the home and raising children.

The minimum wage in my state is $7.25 and I was able to provide fro my wife and children on this, though thankfully I make more than that now, so don't let money be used an excuse.

I would also advise to narrow your field to only letting Catholics court you as I have found we have a unique understanding of marriage not fully shared by other faiths and while non-Catholic husbands can work out it is much more difficult, spare yourself that difficulty while you still have the option.


#4

Why not both at the same time? :p


#5

I think this is going to largely depend on life circumstances.

If you meet the (possibly) right man while in college then you have a different set of things to consider than someone who graduates from college and doesn't have any marriage prospects. And of course the guy (if there is one) has some say in the matter too.

This is my opinion of course...

...but if you are in college and you meet someone who you think is a good marriage prospect and if this man also is interested in marrying you then you plan together as to how to handle the future. (If you can't come to some agreement about this then this is probably not a good match anyways.) If you don't have any marriage prospects then you make plans based on that.

Now if you do end up starting a career while unmarried then I think it makes sense to took long term. If you get involved in a career that necessitates a lot of time and energy then that will limit the time and energy you have to bring to a relationship. But you have to plan for the possibility that you may *never *marry, even you would like to do so. Most people, both men and women, have to spend some time focusing heavily on career to the exclusion of relationships. But workaholics of either sex seldom make good marriage partners and/or parents.


#6

Don’t give up on your education and work prospects while you’re not married. And contracts are often the more profitable route than stable employment, offering a better financial return of time invested and leaving more free time for other things.


#7

[quote="iwillrisenow, post:1, topic:238255"]
This is something that's been on my mind lately. For those women who are married/engaged/discerning marriage, particularly after college...did you get your career in order first or did you discern while your career was still developing? I ask because I am in my late twenties yet due to the economy and my fields of choice, am on a long, hard road to financial stability. I am aware that I may not be able to have a solid career for several years, and may have to survive on contract jobs and/or a mixture of part-time jobs for the foreseeable future. I am not lazy or indecisive-- it's just been a tough market to crack since I graduated from college and I've done the best I can to survive. Meanwhile, I'm starting to see that those men who are seeking partners tend to look down on women like me. I feel like I don't have enough money or assets and won't have enough for another decade at the very least (if ever)...at which point it would most likely be too late to have a family. So, what's a girl to do? Forget about marriage until the career improves? Or work steadily on both areas? And if you're one of the lucky ones who has somehow managed to have a relationship when your career situation was less than ideal or created a plan that got you where you needed to be in an unforgiving market...how did you get there?

[/quote]

Yes, they do look down upon you, it's not in your imagination. 2 kinds you'd rather not know: one man looking for a beast of burden, another looking for an obedient slave who will worship him in place of her God. BOTH are toxic to your mental and spiritual health. Know this. Know yourself. Know your God.

The economic picture is similar for all, so don't feel alone there. I suggest you acquire small business skills every chance you get and find the way to be selling umbrellas when it rains. The commanding heights in corporations are, frankly, far too corrupt without finding yourself put in a long series of moral dilemma's. The glass ceiling feminists spoke of... it has more to do with a moral fiber womankind generally is unwilling to part with as terms and conditions of employment. If you're hard pressed to find honest employment compatible with childrearing, logic dictates that creating your own job that is (believe it or not, in tradition of pioneering women in USA prior to blue laws) becomes the most pragmatic response. Family business leaves room to grow.


#8

It was while I was pursuing my Career Goals that I found my husband. I went to grad school with the intent of getting an MS in my field. I ended up getting both my MS in my field and a MRS at the same time. :D (Sorry it's a running joke at our house) Don't quit persuing your dreams as they make you who you are. When you find the right guy, you are both going to have to reevaluate your life goals and how they fit into your life together as a family anyway.


#9

I don’t think it’s really necessary to disparage these men you don’t even know so harshly based on a story you definitely don’t know all the details to. It’s entirely possible that there is a misunderstanding in what the OP perceives in men’s opinions of her, and that both sides have good intentions.


#10

[quote="Alix1912, post:8, topic:238255"]
It was while I was pursuing my Career Goals that I found my husband. I went to grad school with the intent of getting an MS in my field. I ended up getting both my MS in my field and a MRS at the same time. :D (Sorry it's a running joke at our house) Don't quit persuing your dreams as they make you who you are. When you find the right guy, you are both going to have to reevaluate your life goals and how they fit into your life together as a family anyway.

[/quote]

Does that mean a man can count on landing Ph(at) D(owry) along with Ph.D.? :p:D


#11

Nah......no PHD. Just a Masters, but I enjoyed learning more about my field and finding my husband too.


#12

P(hat) D(owery)...hahaha, that's a good one. Already got the Masters and wasn't exactly a...double major...hmmm...

I think couples who meet or marry at or around college age will be more accepting of each other's struggling first steps into the world. It can build a very strong relationship, going through those trials together. The trouble comes for those of us who are reaching the age where a more significant percentage has succeeded and others (nowadays more than in the past few generations) have not fared as well. I didn't mean to knock any man who is looking for a wife with a successful career to match his own success and the lifestyle that comes with it because, let's face it, if that's high on his list of values it's not going to work anyway, especially if and when children enter the picture. I'm merely noticing an unexpected disadvantage that women like me have in the ever-shrinking dating pool, Catholic or otherwise.

Soooo...who here knows a lot about cats? :dancing: :imsorry:


#13

[quote="iwillrisenow, post:12, topic:238255"]
P(hat) D(owery)...hahaha, that's a good one. Already got the Masters and wasn't exactly a...double major...hmmm...

I think couples who meet or marry at or around college age will be more accepting of each other's struggling first steps into the world. It can build a very strong relationship, going through those trials together. The trouble comes for those of us who are reaching the age where a more significant percentage has succeeded and others (nowadays more than in the past few generations) have not fared as well. I didn't mean to knock any man who is looking for a wife with a successful career to match his own success and the lifestyle that comes with it because, let's face it, if that's high on his list of values it's not going to work anyway, especially if and when children enter the picture. I'm merely noticing an unexpected disadvantage that women like me have in the ever-shrinking dating pool, Catholic or otherwise.

Soooo...who here knows a lot about cats? :dancing: :imsorry:

[/quote]

I will agree the dating pool of suitable men does decline as you age, however it is probably true for men as well.

Don't invest in cats yet......have you explored any Catholic singles groups in your area? How about looking into classes or activites that you enjoy, take a photography class, or cooking or something offered in your area. You have to get out and meet people. I met my husband in Grad School.....there were lots of guys there who were single, smart, and nice. Doing things like this not only help you grow as a person, but open up new avenues to meet a great guy, or even just more friends.


#14

my husband and I started dating while we were undergrads. he continued with a masters and phd. enough schooling for both of us, as far as i'm concerned.. :D

he wanted to wait until he was done with school before getting married. so we dated for quite awhile.

I always knew I didn't want a career. I wanted to get married, pop out some babies, and homeschool for a little bit. besides, my field isn't high paying, so it would be just about breaking even after taxes/daycare. for just one kid. I totally don't like working enough to want to work instead of stay at home.

however, I can certainly understand why many men would find a woman like me - who doesn't want a career - or a woman like the op - who doesn't have one - to be lazy or unfocused or undisciplined or maybe even have something wrong with her. they can't help it, it's been drilled into their heads by all their liberated female friends and professors. though as others have posted, it's somewhat silly to expect everyone you meet to have a career type job in this economy, and what would a man like that do if times got harder after you were married?

but - to actually answer the question here - I think it's *much *more important to figure out what you want in terms of a career before you even think about seriously dating or getting married. you need to be clear on what your goals are, because how can you pick someone who supports you otherwise? changing the deal after you're married will only create unnecessary problems! instead of going into the dating pool with your current situation on your sleeve, you need to go in with more of a plan. like whether or not you're willing to put any kids in daycare just so you can work, if it's not absolutely financially necessary. how long you're willing to search for something in your field. how much work you're willing to do outside of work hours, if your field requires it. etc. you could meet the nicest guy ever, but if he expects you to be working full time and you don't want to, or vice versa, don't even bother.

hopefully this helps a bit!


#15

Thank you for your honesty, insideitall. I know I’m opening myself up to a flood of criticism here, but I’m going to risk it for the sake of not ignoring the pink elephant in the room. Ok, here goes… :compcoff: As far as the most important things in my life are concerned, “career” does not rank highly among them. It’s not that I’m unmotivated or lazy…it’s just that I never really had a burning desire to get into any particular profession. Yet from kindergarten (maybe even pre-school), our teachers asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and always emphasized that little girls could do “anything you want!” …anything, that is, except dare to be wives and mothers first. This is particularly true if you’re labeled “smart” at an early age. You’re expected to grow up and become a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, whatever. The message is then and only then are you worthy for a committed relationship. It’s like you have to prove yourself to be a “catch” some way, and this has become the most common way.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with knowing that you want to be a wife and mother and putting any sort of career ambition further down the list, if it makes the list at all. The trouble comes when you’re a woman, you know what your real “dream job” is, but…you find yourself single and rapidly aging. You look around and notice that a lot of other ladies have gotten married after they have established themselves in some career. Then you start to wonder…maybe those messages from your childhood weren’t far off after all.

That’s where the original post came from. I’m at the point where I’m slowly working my way into a profession (there’s a chance that the economy won’t be in my favor, but I’m lining up some ducks). I’ll work hard, I’ll be committed but…I know that my heart will never be completely in it. Work alone just doesn’t fulfill me the way it does a lot of people.


#16

I enjoyed my career when I had it, but I enjoy being a stay at home mom SO MUCH MORE. I think it takes just as much to be a stay at home mom as it does to be a careerwoman. I do dislike the stigma that stay at home mom’s are lazy and dumb. I guess I am the bafflement of modern feminism, I’m very educated, smart, and capable, and I choose to stay at home with my kids. Which I might add is harder than it looks, trust me keeping a 19 month old entertained, and safe all day long is not as easy as it looks. Also the job doesn’t end at five o clock, it’s 24/7. It is by far and away the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

I think being a mom and raising another person, shaping their life, guiding them…etc. is pretty important work.


#17

I’m currently at University training to be a nurse. I’ve been with my boyfriend now for a year and a half. We’ve talked about getting married and it is something we both want to do, but as we’re both students we’ve decided to wait until we’ve both finished our courses and are in a position to buy a house together first.

I want to wait until we’re married before we move in together though, I’m a little traditional like that. :blush:


#18

:thumbsup:

I don’t have any children and I’m training to be a nurse, but I have to admit I would like to spend at least a year at home if I have children (and if I can afford it :().


#19

I was well into my career before I met my husband, nearly 20 years into it to be exact. I made the decision to forgo marriage plans until I was established career-wise because I always wanted the security of knowing that I could provide for myself (and any children I might have) if my husband died, left the family, or became incapacitated.

It turns out for many, many reasons that I didn’t get married until I was 40. I had the privilege of becoming a reputable professional and building a sturdy financial future for myself and leading a full, meaningful, amazing life as a single woman before my husband and I made our family.

I don’t regret it one bit. I am secure in the knowledge that I can provide well for my daughters should something happen to my husband; I know that he will be able to take care of them should something happen to me; and I know that I am quite capable of being gloriously content should I find myself single once again. Not a bad deal, eh? :stuck_out_tongue:

A cautionary tale: the best friend of my husband’s younger brother married young - 23 or 23. His wife didn’t finish her bachelor’s degree for whatever reason. She became a stay-at-home-mom (and there’s nothing wrong with that. They had two children. He died of an aneurysm weeks before his 29th birthday. No life insurance; no provisions for her or the kids. She lost their house. The last we heard she was living with her parents working in a convenience store, a minimum wage job. She was trying to finish up her bachelor’s and become a teacher, but that’s really tough to do with kids.


#20

Both. Why not?

My devout Catholic boyfriend grew up with a working mother. Guess what? They're really tight and he tells her everything. He's in favor of women working while married and with kids. He even said he'd love to see what it's like to take care of kids himself. I can imagine, if we marry, taking turns when they're small.

We are also urbanites, having grown up in/around NYC and attended school in DC. We don't want our kids growing up in a small town, we want our kids to be exposed to diversity of cultures, classes, etc and to have easy access to museums, plays, and sports games (that can be cheap, especially when they do deals for families). I'm likely to have a career that involves travel, something he knew up front when we started dating, something I made clear as we talked about getting more serious, and something he said he would love to be part of (and he's known me for two years, plus he knows most of my friends). I'm supportive of what he wants to do and he is of me.

Staying at home or working isn't what makes you a good or bad parent. Heck, it was good for us to see our moms work and be independent minded. It encouraged me to develop my gifts and talents, that I can extend my gifts far beyond the home and make a significant impact in the world at large. I want to make changes in this world, not only for my kids but for everyone's kids.

That's how we are though. I don't think I could ever date someone who expected me to quit my job, have lots of babies and homeschool. That may work for some people. I am not one of them.


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