Dear friends, it's lovely to read all the comments and emails you have sent in the last couple of days. I hope your weekend is/was lovely.
One of my readers asked me whether I think a woman shouldn't agree to be pursued by a man who doesn't make enough money to support both himself and his wife. Since this is an important topic, I thought I would address it in a separate post.
Yes, a basic amount of money is needed to support a family. And yes, men are to be the primary wage-earners (even if the wife has a side income from a home business or giving lessons, I don't think it's wise to rely upon it). However, from here to thinking, "I expect to be supported by my husband, so I will only agree to be courted by wealthy men", the road is long.
In my opinion, the amount of money a man - especially if he is young - makes at a given point has little to do with his future potential as a good provider for his family. Many young men combine work and studies, or are just starting at their work place - naturally, with low wages. Maybe he has just started his own business, and is waiting for it to pay off. Maybe he lives off a scholarship for a time. Tossing a good man aside because he doesn't make much money right now is more than unwise, in my opinion. Few are born rich or even somewhat well-off. Many work towards building financial security for themselves and their families.
Instead of asking yourself, "how much does this man earn and will it be enough for both of us and the children too?", ask the following questions: is he hardworking and reliable? Is he steady, trustworthy, responsible, and careful in his financial decisions? Does he tend to spend a lot of money on nothings? And most importantly, does he see himself as the provider for his future wife and children, or does he expect his wife to pull an equal share of the financial burden, if not more?
I went out with many young men who had higher degrees and better-paying jobs than the one who eventually became my husband. But my husband was the only one who said he wants his wife not to work outside the home at all. Only in him, I saw the readiness to assume the responsibility of providing for a family. The willingness, if necessary, to work a boring job, day after day, in order to make his wife and children feel secure. He wasn't focused on himself, his studies, or his career, but on the needs of his future family. And this was among the many things about him that captured my heart. It's called maturity, and it's a rare gem to be found in a man nowadays.
Unfortunately, not many men today will accept, even temporarily, a less prestigious job to provide for their wife and children. Too many will sit with their feet up until they find a job that is in their opinion worthy of their degree or their talents. It might be a radical example, but a former executive who lays bricks in order to feed his family looks much better in my eyes than a man in a similar position who expects his wife to provide until he finds a "suitable" job.
Also, one must keep in mind that a caring wife, a life partner to her husband, can also become a financial asset. Many young men are less motivated at their place of employment, and tend to spend more money, because they know they have only themselves to provide for. Once they find a wife who encourages them, praises their hard work, offers support, advice and companionship, and does her best to live cheerfully and frugally on a small income, their motivation grows and with time they find ways to become better providers.
Marriage isn't about sponsorship. It's a partnership. Like the young bride and groom grow together in their marriage as husband and wife, and later as mother and father, men, assisted by their wives, may grow and become more established in their finances. It's the right attitudes - maturity, responsibility, and readiness to provide for a family - that are important to look for in a potential spouse.