We’re almost at the end of our “SAHM” series on stay-at-home moms, we’ll finish up with talking about men and dating.
So, let’s say that you agree that the Bible gives men the responsibility of financial provision for the family. Should it affect your dating life? If so, how does that affect the men you would date?
It does affect who you’d date. If that’s your worldview, you need to evaluate three things in the man you’re dating: desire, ability and timeframe.
The first criteria is desire. The man you’re dating should have the desire for his wife to be a SAHM (should the Lord bless you with munchkins). He may even have a desire for you to stay-at-home as a wife, even before children. That’s excellent – if that’s something you’d desire as well.
As I said before, show grace and understanding to the single man who doesn’t yet have an opinion on this topic. It really, really may not have ever crossed his mind to even think about it. Give him time to think about it. To process the idea. To seek counsel from others. You can’t make the decision for him – he needs to own this. If he doesn’t “own” this, it won’t work.
The second thing to look for is ability. You want a guy that can turn his desire for a SAHM into reality. He needs to have the ability to support a family on his income. He needs to have a plan for how he’ll get there. Do not read that as “He must make $100,000/year by the age of 22.” That’s unrealistic! Read that as:
- He’s doing what he can at whatever stage he’s in to prepare for the stage he wants to get to.
- He has realistic expectations of what it does take to provide for a family. It takes more than $10,000/year, but it doesn’t take $80,000/year either.
He should recognize that his degree in underwater basket weaving isn’t going to put food on the table, but his degree in Accounting might. You also can do quite a lot to make his income possible to support a family on.
If you’re actively looking at getting married in the near future, then the third criteria is that he not only does he need the desire and the ability to turn a SAHM concept into reality, but he also needs to be able to do it in a reasonable timeframe. If he won’t be in that position for another 20 years, then this isn’t a good time to date him. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy AT ALL; he’s just not in the position to be married.
This means if he’s a 20-year-old college sophomore, it’s probably okay that he can’t support a family today as long as he has a plan for how he will in a few years.
These are things that will be good topics in your early(ish) days of dating. I wouldn’t ask a guy for his 5-year plan before agreeing to a cup of coffee. But I wouldn’t also invest a lot of time and energy into a relationship with someone who I’m not compatible with long-term.
I’d also be wary of men whose motives are wrong. Men can desire the right thing for the wrong reasons. And that’s bad. (Women can too.) If a man desires a SAHM for a wife to enable a great home life for he and his wife, to give his children the best possible upbringing, to give the whole family ample opportunity to share the gospel with friends, family and neighbors, that’s wonderful!
But if his motivation is to have a SAHM so that she can be isolated from the world, easy to control, unable to ever leave him, then that’s disastrous. I honestly don’t think I know any such men. But I am sure some exist. And there’s nothing God honoring in such situations!
Don’t be afraid of being poor. There’s nothing that makes being wealthy better than being poor (prosperity gospel). And there’s nothing that makes being poor better than being wealthy (poverty gospel)! Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church says there are 4 kinds of people:
- Righteous Rich
- Righteous Poor
- Unrighteous Rich
- Unrighteous Poor
Make sure you’re righteous – whatever income you have. The Bible says we should want to have just enough. You need to be able to provide for your needs. If you can afford some wants in there too, great! It’s okay to not have a vacation every year or a fully funded 401(k) or to wear hand-me-downs. You (likely) will struggle financially, especially at first. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat. It means that you’ll have the opportunity to lean into each other, trust God for His provision and see some miracles in your checkbook!
The fact is that it is much harder to be financially independent than it was for our parents when they were our age. It can be done, but it is harder. Houses are more expensive. Student loans are much higher. Incomes are lower. Expected standard of living is higher. It is tough. It will take both of you to make this lifestyle happen – without a doubt. It can be done, but please don’t make it any harder on yourselves.
My final advice:
Consider these things. Be open to God’s priorities, not the world’s. Don’t think your value to anyone (God, your family, your friends, anyone) is the money you’re able to make. It’s not. You are not defined by your income, however high or low it is. Know that being a stay-at-home wife/mom is a financial decision. It’s an emotional decision. It’s a spiritual decision. Take Laura’s advice: “Live as if you are never going to get married, just don’t spend your money that way.”
May God give us His wisdom and discernment as we navigate all of these tricky waters!