Marriage and finance


Hi there.
Is it irresponsible to date someone who has barely enough money to pay his own bills each month? We spend very little on dates (we find cheap or free things that are happening in town to entertain ourselves). But my concern is that I am at an age where I would like to find a potential husband and, in line with the catholic church, I am looking forward to having a large family (God willing). But in reality, say I were to continue a relationship with the man I am currently seeing, who works 6 days a week and barely makes ends meet for himself then I question whether it is ok to continue a relationship with him knowing that we could not afford to get married for several years if we wanted to have money to pay for costs associated with pregnancy (hospitals, basic needs- nothing excessive). To have a long-term relationship poses all sorts of sinful temptations. To get married -say in a year or two- with absolutely no money seems totally irresponsible or even morally wrong because we would have to marry with the intention of avoiding pregnancy until we atleast had enough to pay for an extra mouth to feed -and that could be several years-(neither of our families are financially able to help us out and nor should they expected to be).
I emphasise that I am not talking about having luxuries or even thinking about costs in the future. I am literally talking about the costs associated with day-to-day living. The money I earn now covers my daily expenses and all the extra goes to pay off my college debts, so I can’t be the one saving money for marriage either. Has anyone else been in this situation? Should we face the reality of the situation and end things now, before we get too attached?


I dont think its irresponsible. You obviously aren’t going to have kids anytime soon just dating someone. This person sounds like a hard worker working 6 days a week, they just might need more time to find a better paying job. I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless the person is wasting all they money that they do have! Just my opinion


I think the clincher to ask is: why does he not have enough money to suppor himself?

Is it because he is young and starting out anew in the world? Because he had a tragic experience (accident, medical bills?)
Because he was altruistic (volunteered) or was in the militar/peace corps?

If he is currently strapped for money but everything he does shows you that he knows how to be financially secure, handle money, earn a living, etc, then all it takes is careful planning and time for you two to be together.

But if he is barely supporting himself for some other reason such as a bachelor attitude, college party life, huge debt for no good reason, or if he does not show good money handling skills, then it would be unwise to begin a relationship at all.

My experience is simply that he and I are young and starting out in the world. Neither of us has had much money until very recently. But I know it will be okay because I have watched how he handles money and all signs point to very very good. :slight_smile: He insists on paying off school by the semester, he carries no credit debt, he has savings and a roth, etc. These are things that will make a future family secure and also point towards his maturity and goals.

I know he doesn’t have or make much money, but after school that will change. His attitudes and work ethic are strong already. KWIM?

Now, as for actually marrying, not just dating, I wouldn’t marry or set a date to marry until you both have agreed on a budget that will work with consideration for a baby. Even if you plan on avoiding pregnancy. I don’t believe anyone should marry without being able to financially support husband, wife and baby.


Finances are important, and it is not unreasonable to examine your relationship from the angle that you are.

Yes, your friend should absolutely be able to support you, and any children that might come along, before you marry. I would also agree that he should be in such a position before you start dating seriously.

I would keep it casual and arm’s length, and continue dating others, until such time as you feel comfortable with his ability to earn a living. That would be your signal that you could start seriously courting/discerning marriage.

If he is currently unable to support a wife and family because he is young, has college debt that’s reasonable, and is seeking better employment/mobility in his company then I see signs that in a few years he may be husband material.

If he is “being all he can be” and is barely earning enough to keep a roof over his head-- move on quickly.

There is a book on Catholic financial planning out there, I suggest you take a look at it.


thank you for your replies.

i like to think that if God intended us to be together he has a plan for us to be financially supported but it also might be a choice for me- God might be saying that if I stay with him we will be dirt poor and unable to afford children! This guy doesn’t drink or gamble or do drugs. He is altruistic, as far as I can tell. He works hard but due to coming from a war-torn country he left high school to earn a living for his family (siblings and parents that is). He still supports them financially in whatever small way he can. He is in his mid twenties. He works wherever he can find a job and he doesnt complain about the conditions and due to not finishing the education he desired (would have been a doctor had it not been for financial and war situations in his homeland). He is a good man but the way I see it, he is further away from being ready to be married than I am and while I do enjoy his company, I havent dated alot and feel that maybe I should move on even if I do have some affection for him. Just trying to be rational about the whole thing.

I appreciate all of your advice. If God wants me to be with him I guess he wont let me meet anyone else anyway :slight_smile:



I appreciate you sharing your concerns and struggles with your relationship. That is awesome and shows just how seriously you take dating and marriage. I’m sure many people are praying for and learning from you while reading this. I know I am :slight_smile: .

I did want to take a moment after reading your’s and the others’ comments to make a comment of my own. While I do believe that God will provide for you, be it His will, I certainly hope you do expect that it will be very hard work on your (you and your boyfriend) part. From what you say it sounds like this gentleman is a hard worker with tough life circumstances. I would not put a parameter like “well if he can’t get a good job or a good game plan in XYZ# weeks/months then I need to say “bye” and seek out a man with a good job”.

As for your comment about God not letting you meet anyone else
if he wants you to be with this man. Please do not take this the wrong way, but as a man, this is the question that came to my mind when reading that, did you say that because you are actively hoping/waiting for someone better to come along? Or did you say that because you would take the event of meeting someone new as a sign? Or both? It is hard to tell exactly what you mean. Talk to married people. They “meet someone new” all the time. Just because a man gets married does not mean he no longer finds any woman besides his wife attractive. You see this all the time with both the secular and (sadly) Christian world when couples get a divorce because they decide to break their covenant with each other and God because someone better came along.

One more question. How serious is your relationship? i.e. have you been dating for a long time? how much do you like one another? are you in love?

If you are in love, bring eachother closer to Christ and want to be married to one another my advice is to NOT let this financial issue get in the way. How sad would it be to loose your life long companion, the one God intended to help you and your children make it to heave, over money. This is not to say that all would be easy, but God is mysterious and all knowing. Perhaps God knows you both need the struggles to grow as a couple and grow in holiness. I know it is easy for me to say that, but you guys will find a way to support the family. I lived in Latin America for a couple years and I saw HUGE families living in dirt floored shacks and they made it, albeit (sp?) they made it day to day but they survived. God provided for them and they recongnized that and were forever greatful.

Just my :twocents: …

Mother Mary, I entrust this couple to your loving care. Show them best how to serve your Son, to grown in holiness and to do Christ’s will for their lives.

Hail Mary…


Wow, thank you so much for such a long and thoughtful reply.Thank you for your prayers and I will pray for you too.

To try and make things a little clearer.

I would take the “meeting someone else” as a ‘sign’, not just me hoping for someone ‘better’. Your comments about married people ‘meeting’ other people was an interesting one and a good point- something I had not thought about but of course makes things all the more confusing.

About being in love… we met about 2-3 months ago. I love him but I don’t know if I am IN love with him. I guess I’m not or else I would know, right? I have never fallen in love before so maybe I don’t know what that is anyway. How do you know?
Having said that, there isnt a moment that passes when I dont think about him or miss him and I feel a bit lost if we go more than 1-2 days without speaking, if only for 5 minutes. We dpnt see each other much since he lives quite a distance from me.

But I am concerned because HE tells me he is in love with me. For one, I am cynical about the whole ‘being in love’ business because he pretty much claims that he fell in love right away and that troubles me because I just think that maybe he just falls in love with any girl, even if he does think it is real. but then again maybe i am just looking for ‘problems’ that dont exist. He is very open about how he feels and I am more reserved about that kind of stuff.
To give him the benefit of the doubt, and accept that he is in love, that leaves me with much more responsibility in terms of continuing or ending the relationship… how much of his time do i use before i decide how strongly i feel about him?

And I know this sounds selfish, well it IS selfish, but I don’t want to live in a house with a dirt floor (so to speak). I’m not looking to be well-off, but my life at the moment is pretty simple and I dont spend much on material things but I have independence because I work and I choose how I spend my money (what little there is). Maybe I have commitment issues because the thought of having no money AT ALL terrifies me, not because I want to live in luxury but because it means losing my means to independence.

And, maybe if I am thinking about ‘independence’ maybe I shouldnt be dating at all?

As you can see, I think a lot. People tell me to stop thinking and go with my heart (which tells me this guy is the only one I want- i think…) but I see so many people ‘going with their heart’ and ending up in disasters that others saw beforehand because they were judging the situations with their intellect.

I am praying about it and have simply accepted my state of confusion as my normal state of ‘being’ at this time in my life. I just hope things become clearer sooner.


Is this the same guy you are talking about in this thread?

Well, regardless of that… I can say that so many “danger” alarms are going off in me as I read your post, I don’t even have time to list them all.

You’re right to be skeptical of this “in love business” as you say. Being “in love” is just warm fuzzies that (chances are) you’ll end up feeling for a lot of different guys during your life. These warm fuzzies alone are not the call of fate or a sign of God’s plan for you. Wait 'til you feel warm fuzzies for somebody you don’t have any nagging intuitive doubts about. Then you can worry about the financial aspects.

This guy is a beloved child of God like every other person in the world, but he is not good husband material at this point and it has very little to do with his salary.

Sorry if I’m too blunt. I’ve been in your shoes and I made the wrong choice. Hopefully you won’t. Praying for you!


ahem :o yeah same guy. you noticed.
but we did sort out the ‘sleeping together’ thing and now he understands he is ok with it and respects me for it.
some of my previous doubts were also a result of miscommunication, which we also sorted out.

but yeah. while i do have nagging doubts it could be a communication thing and i dont want to give up yet if that is the reason behind it, since my (second) language skills are improving.

and in case you are wondering, i decided not to move to be near him. so if he is willing to keep up a long distance relationship until such time as we can be together, then shouldn’t i give it a shot?

does this new info change your perspective at all? :confused:



thank you for being blunt, i definitely like people being up front about what they think.


I married a man from another culture who is disabled, and unable to make a decent living because of educational issues.
I think I was called to this life, but would strongly warn you against it. It was my second marriage, I have a good job, and knew what I was getting into. I could afford the children we adopted. And we now share the Catholic faith.
The second language thing is much harder than you would think. Arguing about important issues in a language not your own really takes energy and patience, which I don’t always have. Okay, I asked God to stretch me, and it seems to be what He’s doing.
But your friend is not even Catholic. That would be a deal breaker for me. Discussing important issues (like why not have an abortion instead of your third child, for example) in a language you’re not at home in, with a person who doesn’t share your moral outlook on life . . .too much.
I recommend that you stay out of his bed, remain friends with him, and if he continues his education, gets a better job, and converts, consider him as a life mate. Otherwise, be kind and friendly but keep your distance.
God bless.


I would suggest looking at your relationship, and especially at your boyfriend, and asking yourself: What steps is he taking toward change? Does he have a plan to improve his education and advance his career? Is he actively working toward this goal? Of course, him not being a Catholic is much more of a serious issue. Is he genuinely interested in the Church? Or is he only interested to please you? I would strongly recommend against marrying someone who is converting only to please you. I would also strongly recommend against marrying outside of your faith – that usually leads to weaker faith for both spouses.

I think you will benefit from a book “Boundaries in Dating” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. I encourage you to check it out.


thanks for the suggestion about the book. i will try and find it.

also. his family background is catholic- though not really practising.
one of the things i was drawn to in the beginning is that he had inklings of christian values- more than other guys i meet- such as not liking how his friends (some) go out and get drunk, or how his friend is having a baby out of wedlock, and how some girls are just too easy etc.

i know it doesnt sound like much, but when mixing with non catholics these previous comments stand out as belonging to someone who might have a bit of decency if only they get the right guidance and are willing to become catholic…

just my thoughts.


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