Wednesday, March 11, 2009

College or marriage?

I received an email from a young lady who is facing a choice: should she marry the man who has been courting her these past two years, or should she first get a degree that would take another couple of years? To give you a bit of background, the two young people are committedly religious, practice a chaste courtship, and will be open to children from the point of marriage.

Here is my reply:

Congratulations to you on finding a good, responsible man who is serious about starting a family. Not an easy task these days! Congratulations also on your commitment to chastity - your future marriage will be so blessed later on. I will now get to answering your question, but I think you can already read the answer between the lines of your letter.

You wrote,

"He wants to know exactly how much longer I could see us courting, and how much longer we should wait for an engagement, and marriage. We both believe it may be sinful and frustrating to delay our vocation if we know it is what we are called for."

I heartily agree! If you and your young man have decided that you are heading in the direction of marriage - and this is something that should be talked through, and settled, between the two of you - I believe that waiting for a longer period of time than absolutely necessary is inadvisable. It's frustrating, it can lead to temptation and sin. Why take that risk?

You wrote, "I am going to Physician Assistant school in June, and it is a 2 1/2 year degree..." but also, "he [the intended future husband] envisions the same life I do: simple home life perhaps on a farm, I would stay at home and raise our children..."

I recommend that you ask yourself, and think about it thoroughly: why do you plan to spend several years of your life, and a considerable amount of money, pursuing a degree and profession that is seemingly incompatible with the way of life you and your intended husband envision for your future family?

You ask, "Should I go to school, knowing what I really want to do is get married and be a mother?.. Should I go to school, come out $80,000 in debt, only to then try to raise a family with a degree that took time and money to earn that I'll most likely never use?"

Again, I believe that if you re-read your question, you'll see that the answer is already there! Personally, I already had a degree when I met my husband. But if I met him before I started my degree, I would marry him without a second thought. I found a rare gem of a man who was (among his other excellent qualities) steady, responsible, and willing to provide for his wife and future children. I wouldn't risk the chance of losing him by putting off our marriage for a couple of years!

Fortunately for both of us, I was debt-free at the end of my years in university. Is it advisable to get in debt for a degree you say you'll most likely never use? I seriously doubt it. Even if you decide, or are forced by circumstances, to start earning money at some point of your life, the usefulness of a degree that would by then be more than several years old is, at best, doubtful if you have no experience in the profession you studied.

One woman who went to university with me was many years older than all of us. Her children were grown and she decided to get back, part-time, to the field she never worked at when she finished her degree twenty-something years ago. Nominally, she had a degree; but practically, to start working, she had to re-learn some things, and this took at least two years. Practically, it's almost as if she did the same degree twice!

The choice is yours, but I think you are already inclined to the decision I personally believe to be the wisest and most practical in your case. Good luck, and many blessings to you.


Anonymous said...

It's crazy but I am inclined to agree. A physician's assistant degree is a vocational degree. It doesn't really make sense to pursue a practical degree that will decrease in value if you don't work in the field for years afterwards. (My answer would be different if we were talking about a liberal arts degree, which I think is worthwhile for anyone regardless of professional plans or lack thereof.)

It seems to me that there must be more to the young woman's situation than what she is stating in the letter. Why is she even considering this degree if she wants to do something completely different.

Perhaps her family is pressuring her to get a degree because they are worried that she will lack security without one. Or she herself is worried about her future security. Family pressure in and of itself is never a good reason to do something. But the issue of security is a valid one.

She should think long and hard about how she and any children she has are going to manage if something happens to her husband. Do they have a really good insurance policy that will cover all manner of death and disability and provide enough for her family to live on for a very long time? Would she be able to run the farm on her own? What other options will she have if the unexpected occurs?

- Pendragon

Mrs. Anna T said...

"It's crazy but I am inclined to agree."

Haha! :-)))

"Why is she even considering this degree if she wants to do something completely different."

Because today, if you are a talented young woman, it's considered a huge waste if you decide to "throw yourself away" and be "just" a wife and mother.

Linda T said...

Excellent advice, Anna. By pointing this young woman back to her own words, you helped her see what she's already carrying in her heart.
My 17 yr old daughter, who is quite gifted in the liberal arts area, has chosen to not pursue college for the very reasons mentioned in this post. She doesn't want to go into adult life in debt, and she wants to use these years after high school learning to serve more extensively. She will be pursuning an online certification for the area she's interested in, but it's very focused and she can "earn her way" with that kind of a program. There's no potential husband in her picture, but she's still thinking through her calling as a woman and making choices that, in our American culture, are quite off the beaten path. At first it was hard for me to not push college - she could be so successful there - but I respect her tremendously for evaluating her choices alongside her convictions and being willing to stand firm under scrutiny from friends and family.

may said...

From the parts of the letter you have quoted, I don't understand why she's even asking the question. It sounds like she doesn't want to go to college and that she believes her path currently leads elsewhere. Fine, fair enough, nothing wrong with that. Don't go and let someone else who does want it have your place. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

So is there something else going on here? Is it the case that she faces other pressures (perhaps from her family?) pushing the security of a college education or is she reluctant for some reason to commit to a long-term relationship with this man?

Either way, becoming an adult means accepting adult responsibilities, whether that involves getting married or going to college. This means that you listen politely and respectfully to the advice of the people whom you love and who love you (not least because this costs you nothing and it's how you'd probably prefer they treat you), then you make up your own mind, which may mean following this advice, or it may not.

The crucial point however is that you accept that the decision made was your choice and that, good or bad, you are responsible for the consequences that follow from it. All blindingly obvious, I know, but frankly, it doesn't sound like she's at all ready to do that. Otherwise, why ask a question to which you already know the answer? Makes me wonder whether she's ready for marriage or college.

Tracy said...

"Nominally, she had a degree; but practically, to start working, she had to re-learn some things, and this took at least two years. Practically, it's almost as if she did the same degree twice!"


Laura Ashley said...

The way I understand Physician Assistant programs is they are for people who already have an undergraduate degree and a little experience in the medical field already. So we aren't talking about a teenager here, this woman is at least in her early 20s.

I understand the fear though. She wants to be a stay-at-home wife/mother. But what if her husband loses his job? What if they break up? What if he becomes disabled? All very common these days.

She has a lot to think about. I wondering if being a PA is something you can do part-time? PA will always be there. 2 1/2 years isn't very long either, maybe it would be best to hold off on it for a while if she isn't totally sure.

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

I dropped out of my chemistry studies to get married and cannot say I regret it but for one reason: security. As my husband works in a profession that is markedly more dangerous than that of many men, and is soon to be going into a new MOS that could put him into harm's way even more, the reality of--God forbid--something happening, be it serious injury or worse, that would require me to go back to work, has weighed heavily on my mind and his as well. And it is for this reason I am going to finish up the rest of my bachelors, at my husband's encouragement, this fall. We now have opportunity for me to do so while remaining debt-free and largely online and in correspondence classes, thus not disrupting our family life at all, especially when compared to a military deployment. ;o)

Higher education and marriage do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive paths in life. There are many programs that exist online or with a minimum time spent in the classroom. One can be a part-time student, rather than a full-time student and take classes while a husband is at work, this being especially true before children enter the picture. There are also correspondence programs, certificate programs, and technical schools that may not offer a four year degree, but do offer specialized skills, many of which can be highly beneficial for homemaking (early childhood development, nutrition sciences, culinary arts, etc) and could translate to the "real world" if need be.

I personally don't feel it unwise for a woman to consider such issues as security, and doubly so if she's in a situation similar to mine, though the degree this woman would be pursuing is probably not the best to consider if this is a thought rolling around in her head. There are also other issues to ponder along these same lines, such as life insurance for both spouses as well.

Whichever route your dear reader chooses, much luck and blessings to her! :o)

Mrs. Anna T said...

2 and a half years not long?.. I married my husband after less than 4 months of knowing him, and less than 3 months after the proposal was made. I can't even imagine waiting two years!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Amy, thanks for bringing up this important point: education can be pursued in a more family-friendly way, from home, or in a part-time, non-demanding way. It's not either/or. Such degrees may be less prestigious, but they serve the purpose of having a profession, if one so chooses.

Shorty said...

Great advice. If she plans on being a mother, why spend the time in school?

My mom, after being a staying at home mom, "always wondered" and went back to school in her forties. she did it, succeeded, and really, i'm not sure she needed to do more than that. (i was already in Uni myself at the time).

I am proud of her, being a stay at home mom, and then doing the college thing all by herself.

Persuaded said...

my own daughters are facing a similar situation... although they are not actively courting anyone at this point, they both would like to be stay at home, homeschooling moms and not work outside of the home. going to college requires vast amounts of money time and energy- are these resources best spent on a college degree, or is there a better more beneficail way to spend these valuable years? i don't have the answers- as i say our family is currently challenged by these very questions ourselves!

one thing i can say... and this with all certainty. our security and provision does not come from a college degree. it comes from the Lord alone. and i say this from the viewpoint of a woman who has been left by her husband with a houseful of children. in those first few difficult years of my single parenthood, i depended on my degree, and worked outside of the home to provide for myself and my children. those were very difficult years indeed.eventually i came to feel the Lord calling me home, calling me to rest fully in Him as my provider. and He has not disappointed me. we don't have all the latest frills and fashions, but we have far far *far* more than we need. we are contented and happy, praise the Lord.

it is unwise to make decisions based on fear. the Lord calls us to make our choices and plans based on trust. in Him.

Laura Spilde said...

Perhaps after getting married and starting a family this girl may come to the conclusion that midwifery is a better choice for her. A physicians assistant doesn't offer much for independent thinking as the doctor does all the thinking....while midwifery does. Also midwifery allows a women to continue to be subserviant to husband only and not to a high-headed physician.

Mind you....midwifery is rejected in nearly every country as doctors are eager to take the lives and dollars away from expectant mothers. However, midwifery offers a far more safer and humane way of birth than normal hospital routine birth.

Keep in mind the levels of midwifery vary and each midwife may have different levels of medical knowledge...... However, if you are willing to discover what types of books the typical college student is reading, prepare tests for yourself and study like a college student without forking over thousands of can gain knowledge equal to and or above the average college educated chum....

Good luck.

Personally.....I would choose marriage and self-education over attending college. You are likely to learn more and be more confident if you are home schooled in college fashion.

Natasha Haggard said...

Yeah...I'm about to stop working and just be a house-wife in three weeks, and I can say that it would've happened a lot sooner if I didn't have a mountain of college debt (I still have some...)

Granted, I met and married my husband after I got a degree, but looking back - there were much cheaper alternatives to getting an art degree.

On top of it, my husband never even finished college, but he is a complete professional in his chosen field and makes far more money then I ever made in my field.

Theresa said...

I have to agree with you, if she sees her life as marrying and becoming a mother, there seems no point going to college and putting off marriage for two and a half years. (Which to me is a long time) I wonder if there is more going on than she says. I was put under a lot of pressure by my parents to build up my career before marrying and having children. Dh and I knew within two weeks that we wanted to marry, but didn't do so for three and half years. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life and caused so much heartache and emotional baggage that we still unexpectantly come up against now, twelve years later. It takes courage to go against what is expected of us by our families, but we have to live with the consequences of our actions. My parents still see me as a disappointment to them, my in-laws think I'm awful for 'making' dh support me and our five soon to be six children. But dh thinks I'm wonderful and I think the world of him.
Of course this may no be the case in this young ladys case, if which case I've waffled on for no purpose.

Elusive Wapiti said...

I am happy for this woman. She has a dilemma that others would like to have.

"I recommend that you ask yourself, and think about it thoroughly: why do you plan to spend several years of your life, and a considerable amount of money, pursuing a degree and profession that is seemingly incompatible with the way of life you and your intended husband envision for your future family?...I was debt-free at the end of my years in university."

I tend to agree. College is useful only for a very small minority of us. A technical degree is useful for a few more. Lib arts degrees are nigh upon useless these days, and worse, they put you in debt so you actually start out life with a penalty. But if a woman is looking to start a family and that's what her goal in life is, why

(a) waste time pursuing a degree when that time could be better spent on building a relationship and family when you are young, there will be lower chances of a birth defects, your body can bounce back quickly, and you cut your risk of various types of cancer

(b) spend all kinds of money for a degree that you'll likely not use and in the mean time load yourself up with debt, thereby stressing you and your hubby out

(c) spend all kinds of money on a degree that is obsolete the moment you receive it

(d) the "earnings" advantage from attending college is hype. You'll spend 15 years after graduation just trying to catch up with the person who went straight into the labor market

(e) not going to college doesn't make you a dope, and going to college for some piece of paper of questionable worth doesn't make you smart

I think the issue of security is overblown, but I say that as a man who doesn't understand the female need for security. As for attending college for security, that concept is daft. The chances are extremely low that this woman will suddenly find herself abandoned against her will, especially if she has kids. If she wants security, she should support her husband to the best of her ability to help boost his earnings (i.e. make a good home, be a good wife, etc), restrain her female tendency to file for divorce (which is probably her biggest threat to security, happily that is a factor she controls), and help hubby purchase a life insurance policy.

Laura Ashley said...

I meant 2 1/2 years isn't that long if she wants to go back to school at some point. That is why I said "PA will always he there".

CappuccinoLife said...

Great answer Anna!

I made that choice too. I knew I wanted marriage, babies, and a life *at home*. I knew getting a degree would be a waste of time and money because I absolutely had no desire whatsoever to have a career. I love to learn, but I am self-educating, for free. :p

Even were something terrible to happen, I won't regret my decision. My goal would be to live on the least amount of money possible and spend the most amount of time with my children possible. There are a number of options I can think of off the top of my head that would take care of that, so I'm not worried about it.

Lauren said...

Instead of the degree, get a good life insurance policy.

The costs are WAY, way lower than paying back student loans, and you have an immediate source of income should the unthinkable happen.

The way to calculate how much insurance you should buy use this formula:

To insure the primary breadwinner:

6X annual income + the calculated costs of the homemakers contributions.

Thus, if my husband were to die, I would have financial security for 6 years while I did what was necessary for me to be able to sustain our family. I would also have some extra income in order to hire caregivers when necessary for our children.

For the homemaker: Calculate the costs of daycare ect for the length of time the children are minors.

This way, should anything happen to me, my husband could afford daycare while he works.

We also have a small additional policy on both of us through his employer that costs about 3 dollars a month and gives 20,000 dollars of coverage each.

Now, of course, life insurance only covers the death of a spouse, but this is our biggest concern in terms of "security." There are policies that enable a person to withdraw the benefits prior to death, but this wouldn't be enough to stustain a family for long.

I hope that helps a bit.

CappuccinoLife said...

I wonder if she's having trouble making the decision because she's being pressured by family and friends?

I took a huge amount of flak for not going to college and getting married instead. Nobody called me "stupid" outright but it was very, very clear that's what they thought of me. You can't depend on a man, you know. Basically everyone around me assumed that because I was marrying a person of the male gender, I was an idiot not to protect myself against the probability (in their minds) that he'd either turn out to be a lazy lout or abandon me.

Geniève said...

I agree, if they feel they are ready to get married and want to have a family, then I would also advise to not postpone the marriage because of getting a degree.
I am glad that I got the opportunity to go to university and I met my husband there, but honestly, in the end I regret it. I regret it because now I have a huge student loan debt that needs to be paid off but we also desire to have children now. I do want to stay home once we have children and so I will not be able to help in paying off my debt once that happens (which will hopefully be soon). I feel like I will be adding an extra strain on my husband to provide enough to pay this debt off on top of everything else. I know that the LORD will provide, but if I had to do it again, I probably wouldn't get a degree.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't your marriage sort of arranged (by you)? You didn't exactly fall in love with your husband in a whirlwind romance did you?

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna- My husband and I courted for 3.5 years before we were married. It was difficult but it was doable. He was not ready to provide for me or any children until he was done with college, and I was in college at the same time; we both graduated a semester early so we could be married as soon as possible. But, it CAN be done. The question is SHOULD it be done? And I would say that you gave some excellent advice in this situation. For the degree I earned, I will not have to worry about brushing up on anything later on; it will serve me fine in the future if I need it. And, my husband NEEDED his degree to pursue the work he is passionate about, so that was that. But, if we hadn't needed them, we would have ditched college then and there and gotten married much sooner than we did. I think you were right to ask this young woman to weigh her options carefully. Though, it seems to me, as others pointed out, that she has already answered her own question. Getting a degree in the proper timing for reasons that you deem to be important is one thing; getting it just because is something else. As Amy said, being concerned about security is not out of line, as long as it isn't driving all our decisions and consuming us with anxiety. In this particular case, as others have said, I would agree that such a degree would be better gotten at a later date, if necessary. Perhaps this young woman and her husband could put away a rainy day fund for some of the cost of education, should she ever need to return?

sally said...

I think that some higher education would be crucial for anyone planning to homeschool.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sorry I got my degree (2 year, Associate Degree), but I met my husband after I'd obtained it. I came to marriage free of any debt. I do not, currently, use my degree, & if I wanted to enter my field again I'd have to spend considerable time retraining. Also, certification laws have changed, barring me from using my degree right now. Still, I'm not sorry I went to school.

This young lady sounds as though she's being pressured by well meaning friends & (most likely) relatives to have a college education as a backup plan, should something "go wrong" with her plans for being a career wife & mother. Certainly, I can understand this, as I'm a mother of two daughters, ages 17 & 15. I do not want to see them starve (whether married or unmarried!!). I've never pushed them toward the idea of marriage, but I've tried to paint it in a very positive light, in my words & my deeds. They know that I enjoy being their mother & that I like homemaking, & have no wish to go out to work a pay job. So I hope they see marriage & family as a viable career choice. They also know that we (my husband & I) expect them to be lifelong learners, in whatever circumstances they find themselves. My older daughter wants to be a teacher. Has always wanted to be a teacher. It is likely she will be heading to college next year. My younger daughter does not have such fixed ideas about a life path. But she's interested & talented in a variety of things. I'm trying to take my cues from my girls....I don't want to sell one option to the exclusion of the other.

One of your commenters, Anna, suggested a good, well thought out insurance policy, & even mentioned that it would be cheaper than paying back student loans. I would have to agree. If the security issue is what's holding back the young woman who asked you the initial question, this could be the way to solve that dilemma, & help her rest a bit easier. It won't get people off her back, if she's being plagued by naysayers who think she'd be wasting her life if she got married, but taking care of this detail would prove that she & her young man have at least not rushed into things without some forethought.

Either way, she has a choice to make that will just about ensure someone in her life is going to be unhappy. I pray that God places on her heart a conviction that will tip the balance strongly one way or the other.


Suzanne said...

I dropped out of law school to get married, to a man I had only known a few months. (I did already have a bachelor's degree.) It was completely worth it. I have never regretted it. Had I met my husband earlier (I was 22), I probably would have finished my bachelor's, but I would not have bothered with any more. I received *a lot* of criticism for this, especially from women my own age. I was told countless times that we would fail and that I was a fool. Several of those "friends" are now divorced themselves, while I am still happily married. You cannot let other people's opinions influence your life choices. It was a tough decision, but I wanted to be with my husband more than I wanted to be a lawyer. (The situation was not such that I could have easily continued school.) I am very grateful that I don't have any school debt, especially as I am now a SAHM.

I have been a SAHM for almost 3 years (and a SAHW before that) and it brings me more joy and pleasure than *anything* on the job could have.

KTHunter said...

Everyone has their own path to follow. It is unfortunate that most of the time family and friends don't respect that fact and think everyone should follow the traditional college path.

There are so many more options. The problem isn't lack of options or choices, it is lack of respect for the choices that people make.

Being educated is a good thing. But there are more ways than the traditional college education for that. I did go to college. When I graduated from high school 20 years ago, there was no question about it. That had been my path for years and I never doubted that that was what I was going to do. (And there were fewer options at the time, definitely no online courses!) However, I also had no boyfriend at the time and no idea if marriage was in the future for me at all, so the choice made sense for me at the time. I learned a lot in college -- both in my field and out of my field -- and I don't regret that time. I was blessed with a small debt that I was able to pay off myself in less than two years after graduation at a very low monthly rate, so it all worked out.

I got married several years after college ended and have worked most of that time and am not unhappy at the way things turned out. At the same time, I know not everyone will walk that same path. We have different spirits and different needs, and I respect anyone who knows what they need to do even if it is vastly different from what I do and need. If we were all the same, what a boring world this would be.

Education can go beyond college... even beyond online courses. There are plenty of things to read and learn and know that are free for the taking if one knows where to look. To be honest, my education has never ended, since I am always reading or into something new. I try to read opinions that are different from mine. I read books on the Gutenberg project (I love Mark Twain) and form my own opinions about them. A degree does not necessarily make one educated, and lack of a degree does not necessarily make one uneducated. Friends and family need to broaden their definitions just a bit, yes?

I wish this young lady the best, no matter what she decides to do. I do agree that it doesn't make sense to get into that much debt for a degree that one will not use. That amount is a big chunk o'change. If she wants to continue an education in general, there are other paths to follow than the one of PA that do not incur that amount of debt.

Anonymous said...

I think it's never a good idea to put off marriage for a year or more. If you're sure you want to marry, do it, otherwise things just tend to get messed up in the interim.

I also would advise the woman in this case to forget about her studies. She doesn't want to study, she doesn't plan on working in the field, and it's therefore not worth getting into debt for, certainly not 80K!
I actually think it's very valuable for a woman to have a degree or something under her belt (for security and for her mind), but in this case, with the woman being on the verge of marriage already and with no funds for tuition or desire to learn, it makes no sense.

On the other hand, if she WANTED to go to college, or there was a good chance she would work in the field, I would advise her to marry and postpone having children for 2-3 yrs (if she's still in her 20s) so she can finish her studies.

Claire said...

Eeep, my first advice to her would be to go straight to her future husband, her parents, and her pastor/rabbi, and not be looking for guidance from us strangers on the internet! We don't know her or her life, and we are not in any position of authority or guidance to her. God has given husbands, parents, and pastors (or rabbis) for that.

That said, I will tell my own story if the lady in question is looking for other people's experiences. I don't want to presume to tell her what she should do. Especially since I haven't even seen her whole letter!

My husband and I met at university. Thankfully, university in England is free, so we did not incur any debt to go there. We fell in love at first sight, and were engaged less than a year after meeting. We held off on our wedding for two more years, until we had both graduated. I cannot speak for others, I know some find it very hard. All I can say is that we were both very committed to purity before marriage and really, our college life was so full and busy, chastity was not an unbearable struggle. Obviously everybody is tempted differently, and some people may feel they would sin if faced with a two-year delay. We all have different strengths and weaknesses (and boy does the Devil know how to bring them out!). It is up to the individual to decide what they can or cannot bear. I am mentioning it only to say that it is quite possible to be chaste despite a long engagement.

If we had met before university, we would probably have married before we went and lived and studied together. With our studies in full swing, that was not possible. If my degree cost thousands of pounds, I would perhaps have reconsidered. Truly, I've never imagined having to turn down education I was qualified for and wanted to do, for financial reasons. It would be very upsetting. Plenty of women study while married, and take 'maternity leave' from studies if they need to. Many universities are very flexible about this stuff.

In my experience, I don't really think it's about what others have done or what they think you should do, though. It's about what GOD has planned for you, and only you, consulting closely with your husband, parents, and pastor, can determine that. It could be you are called to marriage, not university. It could be you have doubts about the impending engagement and God is calling you down a different route. It could be none of those things - what do we know? You need to talk to your parents, and your pastor. We ladies on the internet are very nice but it's not our place to tell you what to do :)

Best wishes and lots of prayers,

Megan said...

To me, there are a couple different issues her to address: putting off marriage to get a degree, getting a degree that would likely not be used, and going into debt early in marriage (or just before marriage).

As a graduate student, I know so many couples who seem to think they can't get married until they finish their degrees. I am bewildered at this way of thinking. My husband and I got married when were college undergraduates, and supported each other throughout our education. Marriage and education are NOT mutually exclusive. If you want to be home with your children, then you can always choose to end your education early.

I am a proponent of choosing education wisely. Yes, to a certain degree, education is always useful. But I believe you should spend your resources (time and money) with deliberate purpose. Getting a degree you don't plan to use doesn't generally fall into this category.

The third issue is an easy answer: do NOT, do NOT, DO NOT go into debt! I don't know if things are different in Israel, but here in the US the #1 cause for divorce is arguments over money.

Miss Rose Virginia said...

That is very good advice, Anna!

I have a couple of friends that really want to get married, but because she hasn't finished her schooling and they don't think they have the money for a wedding, they've postponed it many times. And what is this doing to them? They've made compromises in their chastity (although I don't know and don't want to know exactly how far), and they think it's okay because the world says it's normal, that just waiting to have sex until you get married is pushing it.

It's sad, really, because I love them both very much, and knowing my girl friend like I do, I think she would be so happy being "just" a wife and mother. But her family and the world says that she must have a degree and a career before she even thinks about getting married.

And of course, I'm the exact opposite! I don't have any prospects, and yet I've dropped out of college and decided to properly train to be a wife and mother at home. Fascinating how God works in different peoples' lives.

MarkyMark said...


I agree with you and your answer. This young lady can always return to school, but there is NO GUARANTEE that she'll meet another man, let alone the fine one she's apparently found, in the future. There are some things that, if you don't grab them right here & right now, they'll be gone forever. A good mate is one of these...


Joie said...

I disagree. Those of us who have the choice to further our education are rejecting a gift from G-d as much as those who would reject any other gift from G-d. Women and girls all over the world who live in societies that view them as property would give their right arm to have the opportunity this young lady has. I believe the skills she will learn will come in quite handy raising children and living a more agrarian life. They might even be indispensable. It could also take years for her to get pregnant, think of how much she can teach her children if she has had some experience in the working world before taking on full-time duties as a homemaker.

A side note: I am offended at the suggestions to just get a big life insurance policy. It is certainly smart to have one in place but it is just as smart to have skills applicable to a job that earns money should she ever need to do that. Look at the world economy. I wouldn't trust any corporation for my future well-being.

Anonymous said...

A local homeschooling family has two young adult daughters who were interested in "careers" in the culinary arts (baking) while they waited for marriage. After looking at the cost of such an education, their family built a bakery onto the back of their farm produce store. The young ladies have educated themselves superbly in their chosen field, and support the family financially, rather than being a drain on their resources or incurring huge debts. As the younger children grow up, they too are being educated in the culinary arts, and each of the older daughters will be free to marry and start a family as soon as a suitable young man presents himself!

I share this because it makes me laugh every time I think about it, and because it shows that an expensive, formal college education is not the only way to prepare for a "career", nor to pass the time while waiting for marriage. I'm not against college, I have a masters degree. However, a degree seldom prepares a person for "real" life - that comes afterward, on the job.

Mrs. Anna T said...

"You didn't exactly fall in love with your husband in a whirlwind romance did you?"

No, not really. When I accepted his marriage proposal, I held him in high esteem, and we had similar opinions on all the crucial (to us) issues. There weren't any declarations of love or wild romance.

However, now I'm deeply in love with my husband and look forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

Anonymous said...

I must agree with the poster above who said that one should choose a higher education very, very wisely.
A woman who plans to stay home to raise a family should choose a field where the degree retains its basic relevance. For example, in most countries, a teaching diploma paired with a BA is still relevant years later, although of course a few 'refresher' courses may need to be taken.
Studying what you love is the ultimate luxury, but unfortunately not a wise choice if you must go into debt to do so and the field offers no long term employment.

I must differ with those who claim all you need to know can be learned independently. I doubt on-line courses and individual reading can ever reach the level of a GOOD university. The enrichment, the aura of learning, the battle of wits, the human dynamic, is just something that can't be copied at home.

As for the young ladies above who 'educated themselves' in the culinary arts at home and opened up a bakery, kudos to them for the initiative. Still, I really would be surprised if their creations were anything as fine as those who have studied with the masters. These girls did well and know enough to open a home business; this does not however make their knowledge comparable to a graduate of a fine culinary arts school. There is a reason why people went to be apprenticed long ago. To be the best, you need to learn from the best.

And finally....I agree heartily with the poster who stated: 'I think that some higher education would be crucial for anyone planning to homeschool'. I don't think Physician Assistant School is necessarily the best choice, but something should be studied.
Unfortunately, many of the most vocal homeschoolers I come across on the net have grammar issues, spelling errors, and constant punctuation mistakes. I'm not talking about a typo here and there, but a constant lack of finer linguistics. It makes you wonder, if they don't know the difference between 'it's' and 'its', do they know their history? Their mathematics? What exactly are they teaching their kids at home?
(Disclaimer: there are also many, MANY amazingly intelligent homeschoolers, of course. And those who do it right teach much better than the average school. It just annoys me to read so many blogs by homeschooling moms who mock public school and yet have no idea where an apostrophe goes. Perhaps a few English (or math or history) lessons at their local public school wouldn't hurt them).

Ways of Zion said...

Thank you for this post. I agree. I was being pressured to go on to "higher education" but instead we got married. I have been attacked for that many times, and been labled an "uneducated" wife and mother. I choose to be educated by G_d's words instead. This is my role and I embrass it! Thank you again. You posted this just when I needed to hear it most!

Leslie said...

If the lady has already decided that she wants to stay at home and raise children, then why bother going to college for something she has already stated she is not going to do? Does not makes sense.

And this is coming from one who encourages women to pursue college!

Down the road when she is married and she so feels the desire to return to college, then she should feel free to do so. You can take online classes part-time and still be a stay at home mom. There are always options. :)

Anonymous said...

I am often times very surprised by the thought that Education or even careers cannot be combined with motherhood or marriage.

Now please don't misunderstand me, if one chooses to be a wife and a mother than their first priority should be their home and family. But aren't we selling women short by saying that is all that they can do? Why couldn't this young lady be married and still pursue her education. If she is educated and well respected in her field then one day she could do both.

I am just not sure where Keeper of the Home became an action instead of a heart issue.


Ivy in the Kitchen said...

Oh how I wish I had been given the option to *gasp* not go to college. 1,000 miles from home, 5 years long, first two years spent in deep depression, surrounded by people who have nearly opposite ideals and morals I do... yeah, that sounds helpful if I want to be a stay at home wife/mother.

Thankfully, I'm not going to graduate in debt, but I certainly feel like I've wasted the "best years" of my life preparing for something that I don't feel like I should do for the rest of my life!

Anna, did you get the guilt trip about wasting your education? I feel this one coming from my father, who doesn't yet know of my intentions of staying home after marriage. Might you have any advice for those of us who are single and might have to deal with that backlash in the near-ish future?

-Miss H.

Lauren said...

Anon said "The enrichment, the aura of learning, the battle of wits, the human dynamic, is just something that can't be copied at home."

I have to say that all of this is not necesarally a good thing. The "aura of learning" is often indoctrination into lefist ideology. The "battle of wits" is often the belittling of conservative thought.

While I think that college can be a valuable experience, I think that technical school is a much better option for someone looking to learn a practical skill to inhance potential stability. That said, I would say that a PA degree is much more valuable than a generic liberal arts degree, and probably less geared twoards indoctrination as well.

I don't think that higher learning is a negative thing, but I think that our institutions of higher learning can often do more harm than good.

Lauren said...

Joie said " side note: I am offended at the suggestions to just get a big life insurance policy. It is certainly smart to have one in place but it is just as smart to have skills applicable to a job that earns money should she ever need to do that. Look at the world economy. I wouldn't trust any corporation for my future well-being."

I don't see why the suggestion is offensive. The issue we're talking about is security should the unthinkable happen. The young woman who wrote Mrs. T explained that she wishes to be a stay at home mother. She is interested in getting her advanced degree in order to have a measure of security in the event of an unforseen tragedy. This is commendable, but an advanced degree does not guarantee stability in the type of way found in a solid insurance plan.

I would advise her to have the insurance regardless of her level of education, but it is especially important for stay at home mothers to be prepared in this way.

It is a pratical answer to a very difficult question.

From your response I assume that you are reaching beyond the practical to a judgement call regarding the value of a degree apart from its practical application.

There is value to a university degree aside from theoretical higher earning potential, but I'm not convinced that this value overweighs the value of marriage and homemaking.

If getting an advanced degree is going to create a stumbling block for the young couple, I don't believe getting it is a wise decision. Of course, there could be a larger of issue of trust in this situation. Perhaps the young man has given the young woman cause to be distrustful of his ability to provide for her and their future family. Perhaps she distrusts his long term commitment.

If this is the case, I would advise thinking very carefully about marrying a man she can not trust with these issues. If she feels she MUST have an additional degree in order to provide for herself in case her future husband "falls through," I think there is a bigger question that needs to be addressed than if she should get the degree.

Lauren said...

I'm sorry to post so many posts in a row, but I do have one last thing to add.

I don't think college in and of itself is a bad thing. I think it can be a very useful tool.

I just think that it can be unwise to enter into a college environment that can be spiritually taxing to say the least when you don't have a solid reason for needing the degree in the future.

There are so many opportunities for learning outside of the walls of a university, and I think it belittles these experiences when we relegate learning to such a narrow area.

I think we should all strive to educate ourselves throughout our lives. I'm certainly not anti-education! My husband is getting a dual professional degree! I just think that too much emphasis is sometimes put on the diploma itself at the expense of other, more personally important parts of life.

I hope that cleared things up a bit. :)

Anonymous said...

I think the point about educated or uneducated homeschooling mothers is well taken!

Anonymous said...

Tammy! Thanks for writing all of the things I was going to say.

No, I'm sure the back-of-the-farm bakery is not up to pastry-chef snuff.

And I feel terribly sad every time I read a homeschool blog full of grammatical mistakes. I am a professional educator, but I wouldn't presume to teach my own children (past a certain age) every subject -- I'd like them to be taught by someone with a degree in science, and someone with a degree in math, etc.... I can't exactly get all of those degrees myself. I'm sure assuming that "God will provide" gives people hope in tough times, but God will not spontaneously provide you with a working knowledge of grammar, stoichiometry, vector physics, calculus, a foreign language or two, and all the other things that you really can't just teach to yourself as you teach them to your kid. In fact, few professional educators can do all of these things at once, which is, of course, why schools employ multiple teachers.

Of course, some homeschooling parents do have all this covered (amazing and wonderful!), and their kids can get accepted to top colleges (whether they choose to go or not). But if you don't plan on teaching your children college-prep level science and math, hmmn, well ... I hope you enjoy it when many fine public and private school graduates go on to cure cancer. Which you really can't do in a lab on the back of your farm, I'm afraid.


Angela said...

Wow! There is a great deal of advice here but one thing I believe everyone has missed.

I would tell this young lady to pray and seek God's will for her life. God is your security, he is your guide. If God leads you to marry this young man now, then do so with the confidence that he will take care of your every need. Even if something were to happen in the future, God already knows it and has plans to take care of you. That does not mean that you should not take precautions, such as a good insurance policy, but if and when it is needed, God will provide for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I agree with one comment that suggests a life insurance policy. It is a wise decision to make. If this young lady decides to marry the man, and if anything sudden happens to him, there is at least some kind of security in knowing that she can at least not worry about finance for some temporary time while figuring out what she's going to do next.

And it does sound like she isn't really inclined in going to college and pursue a degree she most likely won't use in the future, so why bother? It sounds like she's already 65% or more sure about this. Learning can be done independently, not just in school. And currently there is another viable options of pursuing a degree that enables you to still put your home-life on the first priority : online degree. (although in the end she'll still end up with student-aid debts, most likely).

So if someday she decides that she does indeed need a degree, for whatever reason it may be, she can always do it from home. Or part-time. Meanwhile, because it sounds like she's more inclined to marriage and children now, getting married would be a wiser decision. Don't forget, she can always learn anything at home. Self-teaching can be effective if done correctly, and diligently, of course.

A degree is indeed a provider for that "security" feeling. I myself agree with this. But if that is not a doable decision for the time being, there are always alternatives!

Pray and ask for God to show her the path He's chosen for her, is my final suggestion.


sarah said...

I think the young lady should think carefully about her decisions. It seems like she is unsure of what she wants. But I do hope she will take the time to think things through.
Just because you want to go to college, it doesnt mean you have to end up in debt. I have friends who were very disciplined, worked all summer, worked part time during school and finished their degrees. The hardest part is being disciplined about money and time. It can be done.
But if she has not much interest in school, it would be best to not enroll in university. It is expensive and time consuming - not for the indecisive.

A sound education, whether its a diploma or degree and even work experience are important for women. Do not ever think that you are beyond problems such as domestic abuse, health problems, bad economy etc.. Even if you are frugal, you can find yourself drowning in debt because of unfortunate circumstances. Now, we dont all plan for the worst to happen everyday but a wise person will have some sort of plan. My plans included getting a degree, being serious abt school and work, working hard to impress my bosses and having a good relationship in the places I've worked. I am about to plan for being a stay at home mum now. But should anything unfortunate happen (esp in these times..) I am more confident of our finances because I know I can work if need be. Most women I know dont live on farms where you can just set up a business and sell whatever. Where I live at least, you need permits, you need your credentials, you need to be able to work with all sorts of people in the typical structured setting. It is certainly not an absolute must but it would be wise to gain that experience. You can be frugal, you can pray all you want but you've got to be self sufficient and smart about things.

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

I haven't read through all the comments, but I have to say that I believe a woman should go ahead and get a degree when possible. Why? Because life isn't guaranteed, and something could happen to a husband. There are circumstances in which it becomes necessary for a wife to work, whether she wants to or not.

I'm sure there are those who will say that's what life insurance is for, and I agree. However, as the wife of a man with kidney disease, I can say from personal experience that life insurance isn't always a possibility. In our case, kidney disease is a big black mark in the insurance industry. No one wants to insure him because he might die. (Duh. That's the point of life insurance!) We have some insurance on him through his work, but it only covers a year's worth of salary.

I'm throwing this out there simply to give the young lady a different perspective. I, too, am a SAHW. I have been for nearly 10 years, and it's a wonderful life. But I'm also a realist, and I know that at some point I could have to go back to work if something were to happen to my husband. I have a university degree, teaching certification, and teaching experience. In fact, I stay updated by tutoring each spring for a few days at a middle school to prepare struggling students for the state testing. It keeps me marketable, yet I work only a few days a year.

I guess I don't understand why a wife can't be a wife AND go to school. Yes, it might mean the couple has to pull together more at home in the evenings with chores, but it's worth it, IMO.

Anonymous said...

If having something to fall back on is a possible problem, consider other money making options, craft shows and selling items online on either E-bay or Etsy. Babysitting is also a good option. If being at home is the plan. Many working mothers need a reliable sitter.I could have used a good babysitter when my husband left seven years ago. Another good reason to have something to fall back on in case trouble hits the fan.Always expect the unexpected. The life insurance option is not that great. Someones preiums are going to go up to make up for that big pay out and not all pay outs actually take care of all family needs.When that runs out, where will the income come from?