Women: is it important to marry a man who can be bread-winner?

Just a poll for the ladies please. Is it essential to you that your husband is able to earn enough to support you and your family, so that you can stay at home and be a full-time mother?

It is a dilemma I’ve struggled with as a young single man. Here in the UK, it seems almost impossible to support a family on one income unless you do the kind of job where you have to sell out your morals (cut-throat financial trading) or where you have no time to spend with family.

As someone who’s on course for a career either in academia or politics, I don’t expect to be able to do that any time soon. Do I need to decide between giving up on marriage or changing my career goals?

I can’t answer based on your poll choices…

I didn’t seek out a husband based on his income potential… I think that’s ridiculous! I know we were brought together by God! The basic logistics of how to run a household isn’t a contingency for marital unity. You do what you have to do. Sometimes it requires 2 incomes, sometimes just one (with either the husband OR wife being that one)…

I don’t work because I “love my career” by any means… I work because it’s what works best for our family right now.

Pray for your future wife and your future marriage (if that’s where you’re called to be)… God will take care of the rest.

I did not choose my husband based on his income, in fact he had just been laid off when I met him. However, we both agreed that it was extremely important for him to be the source of income so that our children would be raised by their mother and not a day care center :love: :extrahappy: :love:. He has been laid off again and I do what I can (Sub teach, home day care) to help out while he works at a lesser job until he finds something good again.

We have made many sacrifices; no vacations, old cars, no cable etc.

i think this is the key…!!! the husband has to be willing to do whatever it takes to provide for the family… morally right of course…

whether it takes one or two incomes does not matter… and a hard working man with good values is always a best choice compared to someone with a great income and no values…

**I think it’s important that the two share the same values and goals. When my hubby and I met we were pleased that we both wanted our future kids to have a stay at home mom. He is in the military and it was surprising just how many of his “buddies” expected women to pay their own way (dating AND a marriage).

So if having a stay at home mom for the kids is important to both spouses it will be a priority. Too many women get into relationships where the husband “tolerates” her desire to stay home and be a mom…but at the first whiff of financial stress he is pressuring her to get out there and do “real work”. Sad.

So for you personally, what do YOU want for your future kids? Then find a woman who shares those values.

p.s I would love to hear from the women who have to work outside of the home to make ends meet. Do you wish you had put more thought into your husband’s income before marriage? I know for myself that the thought does cross my mind from time to time. NOT that I would trade in my husband for someone who makes more money, but just that I wish he had been a little more goal oriented so he wouldn’t be so stressed now about providing for our family.:shrug:

I voted that it was not essential, but nice, however I have to make an amendment to that.

To me, it was absolutely essential. I would not have married my husband if he would have expected me to work after we had children. It was one of the deal breakers for me as far as which men I would consider a serious relationship or marriage with. I don’t think it is necessary to a holy marriage, though.

Look at St. Gianna. She was a practicing physician whose husband was frequently taken out of town or country by his own career. However, she had supportive, faithfilled Catholic family to help her raise her family. She lived in a different time and place than I do.

We are the only faithful Catholics in our area that I am aware of. Our family that is local, while fantastic people, are not Catholic. They do respect our beliefs and what we teach the children, but they would not teach it to them if they watched our children while I worked. I know of no Catholic daycare centers. And no one could care for our children the way I do because no one loves them like I do. Not even their dad has the same relationship with them that I do.

I feel very strongly that my children are best served by me caring for them everyday. They do spend plenty of time with their very attentive and loving father and their family and friends, but I am the one caring for them, teaching their lessons, making sure they get enough good food, water, exercise, and intellectual stimulation with a good balance of playtime. No one would invest themselves or be as concerned about my children as I am.

So for me, it was a deal breaker.

My husband has a two year technical degree and I have a BA in biology, so my earning potential is about 2-3 times what his is, but we don’t care. We’re making it work on about $40,000 a year. We own our home (we built it), two cars (hand me downs), my kids wear handmedowns and gifts from relatives. They dont get the latest toys. We watch our pennies and indulge only in what we feel we would really like to have (a basic satellite package, baseball with the office for DH, etc).

I homeschool, cloth diaper, breastfeed, etc. Kids are not as expensive as people make them out to be, espeically if you are careful. We do have some debt, mostly made from bad choices, but we are taking responsibility for it and paying it off (slowly but surely). We don’t live in the city, but we don’t live so far away that DH’s salary is eaten up in gas for a commute, either.

It isn’t impossible. You just have to be convicted about the importance of it to make it work.

I said Yes, but I don’t think it’s “essential to a good Catholic marriage” Additionally, I didn’t marry my husband based off of his earning potential. I currently work outside the home- and, to put it quite strongly, I hate it. I want to be a sahm, but we can’t afford it right now. So, I do think it’s important that the man be making decent money to be able to keep the wife home in IDEAL circumstances.

Ultimately, the most important thing is prayer. God will lead you. It’s not easy to live on one income in this world anymore, but I don’t thin it’s always an impossibility. If you live frugally now, you may be able to save up some money to help for when you do get married.

However, you may find a woman who’s perfectly content to work outside the home, so this of course is a broad generalization.

I think about it ALL the time now. I wouldn’t have married someone different, but I kinda wish we’d both been the people we are NOW when we got married (we’ve been married 2 1/2 years, been back in the Church for 1.) I never thought I’d want to be home, but once my son was born the idea of leaving him killed me.
I really do wish I’d put more thought into our income before we got married. Not to the point of rejecting him if he didn’t make enough, but enough to say, “Hey, maybe we should wait on marriage until we can save up enough money that I won’t have to work after the kids are born” ykwim?

Thanks for that. I think it provides a good perspective for the OP. He has to think long term and try to imagine the children that him and his potential wife could have. It’s tough to see that far ahead and it’s easy to just assume it will all work out. It’s important for him to see that women, like you, may not realize how important staying home with their baby is until they actually have one.

I will pray that you find a way to be home with your son as I can tell how much it hurts you. And if that is not your path, i pray that you find the strength everyday to be the best mommy you can be and not ever feel guilty for working if it is beyond your power to change it.**

I don’t really think about it at all… to be honest…
My husband isn’t perfect, by any means… and he made financial choices that were not ideal before marriage… but the past really doesn’t matter. God brought us together for a reason and we moved forward as a team. Like I mentioned before, I would never make my marriage contingent on finances. We grow and learn together as a team and take care of each other and our (growing) family as best we can.


(Nicely put Em! Seems like you and I have a lot in common…:slight_smile: )

I only really think about it when well-meaning SAHM’s say things that hurt my feelings or make me question God’s plan for me and my DH. I don’t mean this as you, Malia. I mean this in general…especially on these boards…sometimes comments that ARE WELL-MEANING really are pretty mean things to say.

One time, it’s been a couple of years, though…someone said something along the lines that if women were in marriages where they HAD to work, they must not have really been called to the vocation of wife and motherhood. Now that, really ticked me off.

Honestly, I knew when I met my DH he wasn’t going to be the breadwinner. I have an MBA. He never finished college. It just makes sense for me to work.

He has been a stay-at-home Dad (and we received some pretty rude comments about that one, too…more along the lines that since we didn’t breastfeed our oldest daughters, we were bad parents… :shrug: ) and he now works full-time at a job that is opposite the schedule of mine so we still don’t put our children in daycare.

I don’t wish I’d made any decisions differently…other than sometimes I wish I’d become a teacher so I could have more time off with my kids…but that’s not something I deeply regret or anything…

To the OP. God puts two people together in marriage for different reasons. When I was struggling with comments I was hearing (read above) and worrying that I had done my children some sort of disservice by marrying a man who would never solely provide for the family…I finally realized that God doesn’t make only one way to do marriage and family. God gave me a very loving, helpful, hospitable and caring husband who is patient with little ones and humble in his being. God gave my DH a wife who is assertive, smart, willing to work hard to help provide for the family. And God gave my children two loving parents always ready to meet their needs.

So, don’t worry about being able to be the breadwinner. You may or you may not end up being that for your family. Either way, when you find the wife God has made for you, all will be fine.

I think it would have been really nice if my husband could provide for us and I didn’t have to work. We could probably scrape by if I didn’t work but we’d be VERY uncomfortable and we enjoy our luxuries.

I make a few thousand more than him a year but the family’s health insurance is through my work. Really it would be easier for him to be a stay at home dad, but that’s not going to happen! :stuck_out_tongue: I would probably go insane.

I probably could have put a little more thought into it before we got married, but I doubt if I would have changed my mind. Ours was kind of a whirlwind. We were married within 9 months of meeting each other. (that sounds bad… we had our first child after 3 years of marriage) :wink: I always loved that my mom was home with us during the day and I wish I had that with my kids but its also nice to be financially comfortable and know we’ll be able to send them to Catholic School and a good college. They both enjoy going to daycare a few days a week to play with their friends. The teachers there teach them stuff that I honestly wouldn’t have even thought about teaching them. :blush:

Every couple just has to do what works best for them. My DH and I are both very stressfull about finances. If we were barely scraping by and constantly worrying about how to pay this bill or that bill, our marriage wouldn’t last. :blush:

Well, I guess I’ll ditto this post too.

I have often felt the same way you did when reading these boards. :frowning: I always knew I wanted children but I never realized, until I had one, just how much I wanted to be a SAHM. Now it’s all I want to do, but can’t, but that doesn’t mean I’m not called to the vocation of marriage and motherhood.

I stayed at home with my kids when they were babies, until they went to preschool. My husband was laid off from a great job shortly after, so I decided to do some temp work. I have a BA degree in teaching, but there were no jobs back then available in Orange County, FL. I ended up landing a nice job, and then I headed into sales, shortly thereafter, and have been in the insurance biz ever since. I make a nice salary with bonus, it might be hard to forego it now, and my kids are 12 and 15…I’m not sure at this stage, why I would forego it. I never wanted my husband to work multiple jobs, as I have always believed it very vital that dads be around as much as moms are, frankly. It isn’t just a mom’s job to raise kids, it takes two parents, in my eyes, to raise healthy, well adjusted, holy kids. My husband has a good job–but now that I have been working a while, it would seem foolish for me to leave a good paying job.

That being said, I’m grateful I had the time to be with my kids, and they didn’t have to go to daycare, but I also ‘nanny’ed’ for a time, to bring in some side income. Personally, I don’t believe a woman should never make a living, ever–because never know what can happen. I have seen men pass away unexpectedly, and their wives left not having a clue about how to go on financially without them…and having to move, etc. Granted God always provides, but I think setting up a good plan in case something happens, is vital, too.

I have told my dd to marry a man on equal footing with her–that is how I look at it. She should seek out someone first and foremost who loves God, and her above all else, and wants to be a good husband to her–but she should seek someone who seems responsible, and is capable of earning a good living. She is seeking this for herself, she shouldn’t seek someone she has to support. That might sound sexist/harsh, but it’s the way I feel about that. I also tell my son the same thing–to seek a woman who isn’t just interested in a man taking care of her. It’s important to find a woman who loves him for him, and not for what he can do for her. I don’t want him to be working three jobs, and never seeing his kids some day, either…so, hopefully, they will find that perfect balance, but life is not perfect, and we all must rely on God every day, to take care of the details.

Interesting thread!:thumbsup:

I voted yes.


“Yes” means that it is important for both partners in a marriage to carry their share of the burden. So if the man loses his ablity to support the enterprise, the woman could step in and pick up the pack.

That said, it is more important that a married couple, working together, not only “win” the bread but bring it home and put it on the table.

That’s a really great point too…

I don’t know all the details about my Grandmother’s working history, but she was widowed REALLY early (my dad was only 10)… and I know she had to work really hard to provide for her 7 children! I guess growing up hearing the stories about how hard she worked to care for her big family has always inspired me. She was SO independent and NEVER asked for help… she just DID whatever was necessary.
Funny how family experiences/stories can kind of shape your outlook on life like that…

I think it is important to marry a man with a good work ethic and the desire to support his wife and children. That doesn’t mean he has to be the sole supporter–just that he understands that it is his responsibility to provide as best he can.

I also agree about a woman being able to support herself. My grandmother really encouraged me to go to college so I would be able to support myself if I had to. She was widowed with two little girls when she was 7 months pregnant back in 1965 when my grandfather was murdered. She worked very hard to raise her daughters and I’m glad she encouraged me because I know I’ll be able to take care of the family financially if needed. :thumbsup:

Theses stories are very inspiring–thanks for sharing.

That is what I meant, one never knows what can happen. Once children hit school age, I think even working parttime is beneficial, because again–never know what can happen. I lost my parents when I was a young child, so life doesn’t give us gaurantees, that’s for sure. I also read threads on here where men walk out on their marriages, and give the bare minimum for child support. We shouldn’t go into marriage thinking someone will walk out on us, lol…but, never know what can happen. I have seen women unprepared on both sides, having to work multiple jobs, after their husbands either died or left them…had these women done some parttime work even, they could have had a skill set built up, in case something unfortunate happened to their finances.

I also highly suggest women not being in the dark about their finances. Both men and women should have access to accounts in the home, and just because a woman is not working, doesn’t mean she should have to ‘ask’ her husband for money. Women who are not working outside of the home, need to make sure that they know where the money is going every month. I have read threads on here too, where women have commented that their husbands left them, and they had no money left in the account, because their husbands controlled the finances. Just another thing to consider…be on equal footing, on all aspects of your finances, in your marriage. While my husband is the ‘head’ of the household, we both know what our financial status is, and we both have a say in certain purchases, etc…no one person is controlling everything. I think that is a shame, when I see female friends of mine totally clueless to what their husbands spend money on, and they have to ask for money.

For me, personally, I would like to be at home with my kids when they’re young, but who knows where life will take me.

I think it’s important that your husband has a job, and that he conducts himself in a responsible way at the job, listening to his superiors, being respectful, etc. I also think it’s important to consider how well he handles money. Does he have massive amounts of credit card debts because he can’t control his spending habits? I think that’s more important to consider than a salary. Salary can change, but the other things say something about his character.

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