Is it allowable for a Catholic husband to be the sole provider for his wife?

Hi everyone,
I was wondering about something that I’m a little confused about.

It seems like every guy I talk to ( friends and aquaintances ), when asked, says that he wouldn’t want to take a woman for a wife unless she has a job to contribute to the income, regardless of whether they have children or not.
But then again, so far I’ve only been able to ask other Catholic men. At this point I have not gotten views from other types of guys ( other religions and/or no religion ).

So I was wondering, is there a rule/protocol being Catholic that the guy has to have the wife working in order for him to be a good Catholic husband? Or, is it allowable for a good Catholic husband to be the full provider for his wife?

And similarly, is there a rule that for a woman to be a Catholic wife she has to have a job in which she is bringing in income? Or, is it allowable that a woman can fully be provided for by her husband and at the same time still be a good Catholic wife?


Whether both spouses work has nothing to do with religion – I don’t know of any religion that has a “rule” about it.
What matters is (a) both spouses agreeing on this; and (b) whether you can afford to live on one income.

Where in Church teaching is it written that a man cannot be the sole income provider for his family? Where is it taught that every Catholic woman be employed? A women who stays at home is violating which Commandment? A wife employed outside the home is violating which Commandment?

Thank carefully about this…


Sorry, I should have made clear in my posting, that I was thinking that it would be okay for the husband to provide. It really floored me when every guy I talked to said he insisted that his potential wife one day contribute along with him, as if it was a deal-breaker of some sort that she didn’t.

It may be because that’s what they see all around them. And it may be, at least in part, that they are caught up in the “must have all the stuff!” mentality, and you generally can’t afford “all the stuff” without both spouses bringing in an income.

I don’t think that has anything to do with religion. That is all about our society today. Many women work and bring in extra money, so to stay at home, you have to be ready to go against culture and spend less. Alot of men today just expect a wife to work. We have become a very materialistic world. That being said some people need both incomes, just to survive. Being a good Catholic has nothing to do with whether your wife works or not. There are many good Catholics out there where the wife stays home. There are many nonCatholics where the wife works too.


That’s what I was thinking. Perhaps also the possibility that because many young men (20’s and 30’s and even into their 40’s) are seeing first hand what an economic recession and an abundance of lay-offs and downsizing can do to a family budget. Perhaps they are just a little paranoid about marrying a woman without a college education or a strong vocational background that can bring in a decent income should they get laid off or not be able to provide for a time.


The traditional position of the church is that it is preferable for the Catholic husband to be the sole provider, leaving the wife to educate and raise the children and keep a harmonious home.

I like that. I didn’t know it. Interesting.

Provide links or other evidence to modern Church documents teaching that it’s preferable for men to be sole income providers. Modern, like, within the last 60 years. I can find teachings from the 19th Century that allude to this, but I’d like to see something from the time when all of us have been alive.


I don’t think the church has published anything like that in modern times.

Why are you asking for this? Church teaching doesn’t expire, you know.

Does this only refer to small children? What if the kids are teens?

(dreaming of not working for the man) :smiley:

Just because they are Catholic does not mean that every opinion they hold is part of Catholic doctrine.

Those issues are up to the family to decide. The goal is that they should make decisions that allow them to resist sin, and embrace the word of the lord.

I personally wouldnt want a woman who is not willing to put some skin in the game.
I want a woman with enough intellect to help provide on a regular basis and provide all the way if something happend to me.
IF you are not going to “allow” your spouse to work out side the home. Get a pet instead.
My parents were Catholic and my mother quit working shortly after they got married.
It was at my fathers behest that she do that.
She quit a good carreer with the DOD.
I never understood that.
I can see not working and staying home with new borns and that type of situation. But I say get out there and make some money.

Your thoughts on this subject are probably only meaningful to those who are contemplating marrying you. This is just as well. You seem to equate women who do not hold jobs outside the home with those who lack intelligence and with not being fully human. Apparently you put your own mother in this category.

I think that this is something that really needs to be decided on a family by family basis, weighing (in this order):

  1. The need of children to have a parent around
  2. The financial needs of the family
  3. The ambitions of both husband and wife.

This is ridiculous, LOL. Sounds like a mix of modernism, feminisism, materialism, secularism …

Anyway, I work, my wife does not. She puts lots of “skin in the game” as she takes care of our home and our child. She has plenty of intellect, has a degree, wants further education, and will be able to provide if I can’t.

A spouse at home is like a “pet”? That’s hideously disrespectful. Seriously if someone said something like that about my wife to my face, well I hope I’d have self-control to not give that person what he would deserve.

My mother stayed home for quite a while, though she is a physician and quite intelligent. I understand it and am grateful (though my parents are not Catholic).

She could have made money instead but she knew that money isn’t the most important thing.

I can see women working when it’s necessary (and it often is). Or when they have a particular special calling and really want to work.

But the idea that they should slog through a workday just to make money they could possibly do without, and even worse, pay taxes on that income and then use a huge chunk of it to pay someone else to be with their kids, sounds crazy to me.

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