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.
"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.