Incoming Question

Today’s post is my attempt to answer a question posed by reader and occasional commenter Nathan. He left it in my Questions and Suggestions page, which is the perfect place to leave any questions you might have related to my blog or the topics I cover. Here is Nathan’s comment in full:

What is your best info and advice for men to pick and plan their personal missions in life, who are concerned about how the possibly low income and high expense of that mission lifestyle will effect and decrease their odds of marrying a truly godly woman? This seems like picking a mission without any hope for a wife OR picking a wife and trying to make a lot of money, but without any personal mission, and both of those options seem less than ideal.
I’m pissed off that nearly [every] example of married men in the bible is rich, mad that most Christian women are repelled by a lack of high income.
What to do?

Let me begin by noting that while Nathan asks only one question (in a short and long version), there are several possible topics to discuss besides just the question of “what to do?” As I see it, there are three major issues here (along with several sub-issues that I will only touch on):

  • How can a Christian man still marry if he is intent on pursuing a life-path/mission that not only doesn’t pay well, but is expensive at the same time?
  • What is the significance of the fact that nearly every married man in the bible is rich?
  • Why are most Christian women repelled by a lack of high income?

I am going to address the last question first, as I believe it will be relatively easy to cover. The second question is actually worth a post all of its own, as it will require some serious delving into scripture. So that will follow at some point in the future. The first question will be what I will finish with, and devote most of this post towards. I would ask that those who comment keep to the two points that this post covers. [Having finished the post now, I can say that it isn’t my best. But I wanted to respond to him as soon as possible, so I’m posting it right away rather than spend the time to try and smooth the edges. Keep this in mind as you read the rest.]

This brings me to the issue of why it seems that most Christian women are repelled by a lack of high income. The first thing I would like to do is point out that all women, not just Christian women, are attracted to a man with a high income. Money, of which income is a significant component, is one of the attributes that women use to measure the attractiveness of a man. As its position in the PSALM formula indicates, Money is the weakest of these attributes. But it is still something that women pay attention to, at least when high numbers are concerned.

Even with this in mind, a number of men around the sphere have argued for some time that most Christian women are even more materialistic than their secular sisters. Personally, I have no opinion on the matter. In my experience most women who profess to be Christian are no more concerned, and no less, than secular women when it comes to income and wealth in general. But for the sake of this post let us assume that their assessment is accurate. So why would Christian women be more insistent on a man having a higher income than secular women?

One reason that I can think of is the so-called “Prosperity Gospel.” Apparently this is quite prominent in a number of Protestant Christian circles. Since most of those men making these allegations/observations tend to be Protestant, I wonder if there might be a link between the two. Not being familiar with this particular theology, its adherents, or Protestant churches in general, I will leave it to my Protestant readers and commenters to offer their thoughts on this possible cause.

Another factor might be the rampant sense of entitlement that is fostered amongst many Christian women these days in the West, especially in the US. The title of EAP, or Entitled American Princess, is sometimes associated with “good church girls”, who are often called “Daughters of the King.” Given the rampant feminism in most Christian churches these days, it is only natural that unhealthy and unrealistic expectations will be developed in many young Christian women.

There might be other factors at play, but I can’t think of them at the moment. My readers are encouraged to off their own suggestions at what might be behind this.

Something I want to touch on real quickly is that women should be concerned about a man’s income, or his future ability to provide, when it comes to marriage. After all, he will need to provide for a family, especially while his wife is pregnant and they have children. A man who cannot provide for a family, now or in the future, needs to understand that his ability to marry will be severely limited. And there is nothing wrong with this- we men are called to a great responsibility as husbands and fathers, and need to live up to that. What I think that Nathan was getting at, though, is that many Christian women’s perceptions of what an appropriate income is to support a family are heavily skewed to the high end. As a result few men can hope to live up to these unrealistic, and unnecessary, expectations.

Finishing that, we return to the initial question of what a man can do about marrying when pursuing a low-income “mission.” As I just alluded to, men need to understand that they are primarily (but not solely) responsible for supporting their family. This isn’t something that can be escaped from just because a man is serving on “a mission from God.” Unless a man has some means of materially supporting his wife and children in the future, he needs to understand that a family is just not in the cards. It might be a necessary sacrifice (albeit a great one) in order to pursue his God-given mission. Is that a hard road to walk? Well, yes it is. But Jesus warned us as much:

29 And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.

(Matthew 19:29-30)

I think that part of the dilemma faced by Nathan is self-imposed, in the sense that he (perhaps without intending to) rejects a lifestyle that earns a high income as compatible with serving the Lord. While riches make entering heaven difficult, it is not impossible. After all, with God all things are possible. One doesn’t have to be poor to serve God. It just helps keep distractions out of your life.

In addition, our personal missions can be quite varied. For some Christians it might be actual missionary work in Africa or Asia. For others, it might be charity work closer to home. For others it might involve raising funds or foodstuffs or other necessities for those in need (something Saint Paul himself engaged in). For others it might be evangelization, or something as simple and yet as difficult as raising a family of saints. I could go on listing possible paths for a long time yet; there is no limit to the ways we can serve the Lord.

But if you feel called to a specific vocation (to use the Catholic parlance), it might be necessary to give up a wife and family. If you think this might be the case, then I recommend lots and lots of prayer. Combine this with discussions with wise and devout individuals in your life, to discern if that is truly your calling. If it is, understanding that you are giving up a lot in this life, in the hope to gain a hundred-fold in the next.

Another option worth mentioning is to pursue mission style work later in life. One doesn’t have to do it when young. In fact, there are many reasons to do it while older. A man can spend his young working hard, acquiring money, getting married and raising a family, and then once the children are grown up he and his wife can engage in that mission then. At that point in life mission work might be a nice break from what you did before, and you might be better prepared for it as well. You doesn’t have to serve God the same way your whole life- the way we can serve can adjust as we gain experience and wisdom.

A biblical example of a Christian married couple who might fit this bill would be Priscilla and Aquila. Scripture doesn’t mention that they had children with them, nor does it mention their age. But given the way that they moved freely with Paul, I suspect that they were probably without children at the time. This might have been because their children had already grown up and moved to their own household. It is also possible they were infertile and simply couldn’t have children. If the former, however, they provide an example of a married couple who served God in a powerful and memorable way.

My advice to any man is to first discern what vocation he is called towards. Is marriage part of his God-given mission? If so, then he needs to plan and act accordingly. That means being in a position to support a wife, and then later a family. If you feel called towards something else right away, then you need to accept the sacrifice that is asked of you, and make peace with that. Otherwise, you can still plan your mission after you have an empty nest, where you and your wife do the Lord’s work in the manner you are called to. Just be sure and discuss this with potential wife candidates, so that they understand the nature of the mission, and man, they are becoming joined with.

That completes my initial thoughts on the matter. I would encourage my readers to offer their own thoughts and advice to Nathan, and to anyone else contemplating the same situation.

Update: The Unreal Woman has expanded on her thoughts in the comments in a post over at her blog. I highly recommend it.

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30 Comments

Filed under APE, Attraction, Christianity, Churchianity, Courtship, God, LAMPS, Marriage, Men, Women

30 responses to “Incoming Question

  1. How can a Christian man still marry if he is intent on pursuing a life-path/mission that not only doesn’t pay well, but is expensive at the same time?

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6%3A25-34

    What is the significance of the fact that nearly every married man in the bible is rich?

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+19:16-24

    Additionally, those that are rich have more problems, and thus the availability of lessons we can learn from them. The “greater” you are, the more “responsibility” you have.

    Most stories in the Bible are about men who choose to do what is right, and those who choose to do what is wrong and the consequences that come with either. It’s not about wealth per se but those who pursue and don’t righteousness.

    Why are most Christian women repelled by a lack of high income?

    They aren’t focused on heavenly things.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matt+6:24

  2. “What is your best info and advice for men to pick and plan their personal missions in life, who are concerned about how the possibly low income and high expense of that mission lifestyle will effect and decrease their odds of marrying a truly godly woman? This seems like picking a mission without any hope for a wife OR picking a wife and trying to make a lot of money, but without any personal mission, and both of those options seem less than ideal.”

    Welcome to a fallen world, where your choices are between the bad and the likely impossible. I have no answers for you (aside from the obvious: get rich by feeding orphans. C’mon slacker, man up!), but I would urge anyone confronted by this formidable quandary to retain hope.

    “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

    I know, that’s not a solution to your problem. That’s because there is no solution to your problem. Women are attracted to wealth. It is very difficult to make a lot of money while doing good in the world. What you need, frankly, is a miracle.

    Fortunately, we have a God of miracles.

  3. Most of the patriarchs of theOld Testament were rich and had multiple wives.

    However, they were never rich when they first got married. Abraham was Abram, a wandering nomad with no children and an infertile wife. Moses was a slave and then a nomad. Isaac was poor and had to work years for his wife. Jacob also was poor. David was a poor shepherd, than a general, but then a rebel forced to hide in caves. Tobit and his son, also poor.

    They all met with prosperity, yes, but not until after they had married, and usually many years after their marriage. Usually it was finding favor in the eyes of the woman’s father. Sometimes it was impressing the wife by their devotion to God. At no point was wealth the cause for marriage.

    A man should pray and meditate upon what God calls him to do, and then do it. Women are attracted to passion and to strength. Let your passion be for God and your stength founded upon him.

    And, honestly, it takes less than most people think to raise a large family if you’re thrifty and don’t buy in to higher education scams. From what I’ve seen, most women just buy into the idea that their career (or dreams of a career) is their mission from God without any question. They worship a God of Possibilities. They realize that marriage means less possibilities in most cases, and are most attracted to a “sacrifice” that is either worthy of their god of possibilities or will actually bring more possibilities.

  4. I once was “living by faith” and after a number of years actually got to the point of looking forward to the end of the month to see how God would “pull it off” this month. It was a fun and exciting stuff.

    Then lift changed, I became “more successful”, I’ve got “stuff”, and while it’s different, it’s not nearly as “out there” as I was before when I didn’t know how things would work out, and yet they always did. Having “stuff” means more choices to make, you’re not “on the edge” dependent on God to pay the bills at the end of the month, and there’s always the question “what do I do with all of this?” with no clear answer. While $ will pay for more things and more experiences, it’s nothing like being clearly dependent on God for “what happens next.”

    How does this relate to picking a mission and finding a Godly wife to share that mission? If you want to do something mission-oriented with a non-profit, charitable, or church group – talk to couples who’re doing it already and see what their experience is. That’ll give you some ideas on what you’re in for, and how to conduct your search for a suitable partner.

    Assuming you’re called to walk a pathway of faith, I encourage you to keep track of how God works in your life to accomplish the goal you believe He has for you, then talk about it with the women you interact with. (Always give credit to God, because that’s where it belongs).

    This’ll make an excellent filter because most of the people you interact with will go “are you nuts?!? – and self-select themselves out of the picture. However, if a lady lights up with a “me too!” or “how can I do this?”, you’ve got a possibility on your hands.

  5. My advice and commentary mostly echoes what other people have said.

    Pray hard and discern what your mission is and whether a wife and children is compatible with it.

    If a woman is interested in you, find out if her vocation is the same as yours, or at least is highly compatible. If not, part ways asap. Marriages can be very stressed without a conflict in calling.

    Raising kids in the mission field is possible, it happens plenty. And large families can exist on a small income. I know a single income family with ten children. While I don’t know precisely what the father does, it is obvious he’s a general day laborer, not a doctor or something.

    If you avoid racking up debt and can cultivate a good credit history, you can buy things more easily and live on a smaller budget.

  6. mdavid

    This seems like picking a mission without any hope for a wife OR picking a wife and trying to make a lot of money, but without any personal mission, and both of those options seem less than ideal.

    I think my view is somewhat different than Donal’s and many others here, so I offer it as an alternate view.

    1. Today, marriage is simply not for everyone. There is a fierce shortage of attractive, moral women. Obesity, promiscuity, and family breakdown have taken their toll. Quality women have a selection of men who are good-looking, well-off, and fairly moral. Why exactly would (or should) she choose you? Plan on being single, settling, or going overseas.

    2. Money matters for traditional men. Period. Maybe not for a PUA getting a piece of immoral chick’s ass, but it matters a lot for traditional men. Women are pretty dumb at judging motives of men (as men are at judging women) so women rely heavily upon signals (like a man’s money, friends, girlfriends) to inform them of his status, quality, and mate potential. It’s not the money so much as the lifestyle and status he exudes. Let me put it this way: I never planned on marrying since I wouldn’t settle, but suddenly found myself married within a few years of getting a high-status job. I was the same guy, same education, same qualities, same everything. Hmmm…

    3. Marriage to me is a vocation in itself, not compatible with many religious vocations. It seems unfair to a woman (in my opinion) to demand both as a man. A family is a big moral responsibility, and if I were to have a religious mission-style vocation I just wouldn’t marry.

  7. Thanks for your contributions folks.

    @ Deep Strength

    Thanks for the scriptural support.

    @ Seriously

    Fortunately, we have a God of miracles.

    Indeed.

    @ Chad and Alla

    I agree that the amount of money to adequately raise a family isn’t that great, especially if you are thrifty. That is part of what I was getting at in this post, and what I think Nathan was getting at- that many people overestimate the amount of money required to support a family. Its not huge, especially if you avoid frivolous things.

    @ ANO

    Good points about talking to others in that life.

    This’ll make an excellent filter because most of the people you interact with will go “are you nuts?!? – and self-select themselves out of the picture. However, if a lady lights up with a “me too!” or “how can I do this?”, you’ve got a possibility on your hands.

    Agreed, it is an excellent filter. Of course, be prepared for few to pass it.

    @ mdavid

    Today, marriage is simply not for everyone. There is a fierce shortage of attractive, moral women. Obesity, promiscuity, and family breakdown have taken their toll. Quality women have a selection of men who are good-looking, well-off, and fairly moral. Why exactly would (or should) she choose you? Plan on being single, settling, or going overseas.

    Harsh, but undeniably true for many good men these days.

    Marriage to me is a vocation in itself, not compatible with many religious vocations. It seems unfair to a woman (in my opinion) to demand both as a man. A family is a big moral responsibility, and if I were to have a religious mission-style vocation I just wouldn’t marry.

    I tend to agree. My suspicion is that this is our Catholic background influencing us here.

  8. It costs a lot of money to (badly) compensate for the lack of relationships that even very poor people used to take for granted. It also takes a fair amount of money to compensate for the multi-decade assault on the domestic sphere.

    It used to be that a married household offered many things beyond provision for a wife and some children. It offered provision and employment for neighbors and/or relatives. This is no longer true as a default.

    The sense of entitlement in the idea that it’s ok to pursue an expensive but low-paying “mission” so long as you’re a man is not a bit better than a woman believing there is no other income bracket she deserves in marriage than the very highest one. That money has to come from people who do boring but higher-paying work and frankly there are already enough Christian men sidestepping their responsibilities by slumming it out of a confused belief that it’s a good thing to not be a hydrological engineer/accountant/etc and instead rack up 80k in debt for a divinity degree while subjecting a wife and children to an itinerant missions lifestyle.

  9. @ TUW

    The sense of entitlement in the idea that it’s ok to pursue an expensive but low-paying “mission” so long as you’re a man is not a bit better than a woman believing there is no other income bracket she deserves in marriage than the very highest one. That money has to come from people who do boring but higher-paying work and frankly there are already enough Christian men sidestepping their responsibilities by slumming it out of a confused belief that it’s a good thing to not be a hydrological engineer/accountant/etc and instead rack up 80k in debt for a divinity degree while subjecting a wife and children to an itinerant missions lifestyle.

    This makes no sense and is a classic missing the forest from the trees statement. Most men still go into STEM degrees or business. The amount of men going into divinity is relatively negligble comparitively, and it has Scriptural support anyway (Eph 4:11).

    If you want to talk about money going to useless places you should be talking about women studies and associated liberal arts degrees that mostly women are doing. When men marry these women they have to use the a large amount of finances to eradicate that debt.

  10. I am sorry you are unaware of the explosion in religious degree accreditations and men shelling out tens of thousands in student loans to acquire same and “callings” to live in the ghetto or hop on the missions merry go round with a wife and family to support. Sometimes there are multiple systemic failures. You can have more than one group of people making bad decisions regarding racking up college debt and misunderstanding the nature of vocations and callings. Or you can just blame women and ignore the men messing up for different reasons that still lead to the same debt-drowned, economically fragile place.

    The OP is confused and entitled in exactly the way I’m describing, except we don’t know if he’s going to wait until he has a wife to plump for that divinity certificate or if he’s already doing so. There’s a strain of idolizing poverty slumming among many devout Christians and it does involve men leaving their 50-150k jobs to go be poor for Jesus. A nondenominational example is all the guys quitting their decent-paying jobs to plant churches (while also getting an expensive religious degree). Since the men doing this are devout, it’s a bigger problem than when a culturally Christian woman majors in liberal arts.

    It’s too bad you blew off the beginning of my comment, which was quite important to the core of the OP’s beefing. Without real patriarchy, it’s expensive to be functional as a single-income family and that plays into the thinking of a lot of Christian women. It’s not all consumption obsession.

  11. @ TUW

    1. I do agree that there are multiple problems, and this could be one of them. However, I have yet to see any statistical evidence this is the case of excessive amounts of men taking on divinity degrees, so if you have some to bring up I’d be more than happy to acquiesce.

    2. Additionally, that’s a very lofty presumption that many of these men are idolizing poverty and are engaging in false humility. Do you have any evidence of this?

    3. Likewise, I fail to see evidence of men leaving 50-150k jobs. Right now the unemployment rate is high simply because there are too few jobs. If men were leaving their jobs they would be snapped up by the unemployed and there would be no net gain. The only issue here would be that men are taking on more debt, which those who are unemployed often go back to school anyway… which isn’t a net gain.

    4. I’m not sure how the OP is engaged in entitlement behavior considering he is weighing the costs here. I could potentially see the fact that he is complaining about women going after money, but the question is indeed a valid one if he is called to ministry regardless of whether he wants to be married or not.

  12. @ Deep Strength

    I was curious about the numbers for your #1. Here is a fact-sheet by Yale on the matter:

    http://oir.yale.edu/yale-factsheet

    Using those numbers, approximately 8.8% of their professional schools population is seeking a divinity degree. However, that doesn’t include engineering and applied sciences. individuals. Out of the total population it is 2.7%. Of course, that includes men and women, with a 54/46 split there.

    Frankly, given the nature of the degree, that seems high to me, but not by a terrible degree. Of course, this is Yale we are talking about. It could be much higher at other schools. And then there are schools devoted to just that.

  13. mdavid

    DG, …what I think Nathan was getting at…people overestimate the amount of money required to support a family.

    To clarify: I fully agree with this. Any worthy SAHM can raise a large family well below the poverty line (we live this way for spiritual reasons and it’s a nice life). Few women will wish to marry a man who sets this situation up deliberately, though. Unless he has some serious Alpha thing going on, to cue Roissy…

  14. femininebutnotfeminist

    A lot of good advice here, both in the post and in the comments. Even though some advice contradicts some others in a way, everything here could be valid, depending on Nathan’s (or any of us) situation. I think the first and most important thing for him to do is to pray some, and then listen a lot. Seek God’s Kingdom first, then do as He says. Maybe that includes being married and having a family, maybe it doesn’t. But either way, fulfilling your God given mission in life is more important than finding a husband/wife. Having said that, I do agree that marriage in and of itself can be a vocation/calling for many of us. I’m certain that I’m called to be a helpmeet, for example, considering it’s the absolute best way I could teach others about Him, given who He is molding me to be… there is SO MUCH that we can teach others about God by the way we live out our marriages. But if Nathan is called to something else, then he needs to go after that first. And who knows, maybe he will come across a woman who is called to the same mission that he is, and they could do it together. Hope is not lost.

    As for the “prosperity gospel”, that is very prevalent in a lot of Protestant cirles like you said. I’ve even heard it said that if you aren’t blessed with riches, then that means you aren’t right with God because you aren’t spiritual enough. And that you will always reap what you sow, meaning that if you sow in $hundreds then you will reap in more $hundreds, and sow in $thousands then you will reap in more $thousands. No joke, though I very much wish it was. So imagine what these idiot girls who don’t recognize heresy/false prophets when they see them start to believe ~ “if this guy isn’t increasingly wealthy then he’s not Godly enough to marry”. Just a theory. Though more than likely, it’s what DS said about not being focused on heavenly things.

  15. @ Donal

    I’m surprised to see the number of percentage of women that high with 46%. That’s pretty big considering that the Scriptures don’t permit women in teaching positions.

    Do you know the ratio of amount of priests in the Catholic Church to the total number in the congregation?

    Additionally, the numbers don’t consider the amount of those in ministry that are going out to other countries to plant churches. The number of people that come here to be educated and then go out (yes, even with divinity degrees) is a decent number.

    I wish there were more concrete data. Hmm.

  16. @ FBNF

    Your last paragraph made me think of this:

    3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

    (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

  17. @ Deep Strength

    I’m not surprised at all. The feminization of Christianity runs unabated. While I was searching for stats, I found another school where there were more women than men studying divinity. From what I recall the percentages were flipped from what Yale had.

    Of course, its not that women can’t and shouldn’t study the faith- but a divinity degree isn’t just about studying but teaching, and as you point out women aren’t to hold authority over men in spiritual matters. Now, if these were going to run convents that might be another matter, but I rather doubt that is what happening.

    I suppose it could be acceptable, on the other hand, if they were studying with their husbands as part of a husband and wife spiritual team. In that case they would be following in the foot-steps of Priscilla and Aquila.

    I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head about the number of priests, but I can tell you it is well below 1%. We actually have a seriously problem with a lack of priests here in the US. Not surprisingly to me that it is happening, but that is a topic for a different post.

    Good point about church planting. I believe the link I provided indicated the number of international students for that degree was low, however. But that is only for Yale.

  18. femininebutnotfeminist

    @ Donal,

    Yep, that verse is pretty spot on, I would say.

  19. Random Angeleno

    Them who are concerned about raising large families on a single income ought to check out Dave Ramsey. In addition, there are several secular blogs worth checking out when it comes to frugal living. Mr Money Moustache is one I can think of off the top of my head, but there are at least a dozen others worth taking a look at to see if they fit within what one’s objective is.

  20. Pingback: Poverty slumming and the devout Christian male’s failure to provide for a wife | The Practical Conservative

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  22. Gunner Q

    “What is your best info and advice for men to pick and plan their personal missions in life, who are concerned about how the possibly low income and high expense of that mission lifestyle will effect and decrease their odds of marrying a truly godly woman?”

    My advice to Nathan, in the absence of any divine guidance, is to focus on gaining whatever money and power he honorably can. God wants us to be productive (2 Thessalonians) and encourages us to find work we enjoy (Ecclesiastes). Note how Paul worked to support himself in Acts and didn’t hesitate to leverage his (prestigious) Roman citizenship. Note how you cannot be generous to those in need unless you have something to offer in the first place. Lastly, with the American Church in a steep decline, being self-supporting is a prudent idea.

    As an offhand suggestion, Nathan, what do you think about paramedic work? It’s adventurous and manly, it cannot be done by cheaper labor overseas, you won’t need a four-year degree and you’ll have stories to tell. With a little storytelling practice and a little Game, girls will be excited to hear about your heroic work. You’ll never be rich this way but putting on a uniform and getting blood on your hands will pull you some female interest. A future wife can brag about the lives you save and think of you every time she hears sirens.

    A side piece of advice: stay out of debt. Debt is slavery. Keep yourself free to serve God whenever He calls.

    “What is the significance of the fact that nearly every married man in the bible is rich?”

    Well, most of all the men in the Bible are married, whether rich or poor. Also, the Old Testament’s tribalism and Mosaic laws like marrying your brother’s widow promoted the development of strong extended families. If you were neither badly crippled nor an outcast then you always had an established family to fall back on.

    Here’s an interesting way to apply this, Nathan. If/when you find a suitable girl, be sure you get along very well with your future in-laws. This is a strong ward against divorce: Wife is unhappy at Husband, talks to Mother about divorcing, Mother tells Father, Father tells Wife she’d better appreciate the son-in-law he likes so much. Even if divorce does happen, being true family with your in-laws can save you from a lot of the attendant misery.

    “Why are most Christian women repelled by a lack of high income?”

    One, raising kids is always easier with high income… frankly, life in general is easier with high income, at least to a point. And two, why not? Give me the choice between a plain girl and a pretty one, I’ll choose pretty. The only sin is taking the preference to an extreme.

  23. Beedjian

    A man’s mission in life is his mission. His woman is not his mission. She is welcome to come along if she likes his mission, but he doesn’t change his mission for her. If his mission is to serve poor people on a small income, than that’s what he does.

  24. I agree with Beedjian. Elisabeth and Jim Elliot would be great examples of this. The temptation here would be to sacrifice a true call of God for the sake of a particular woman or to make it easier to find a wife.

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  26. Donal–I really enjoyed reading this. I may link back to it soon from the courtship pledge and add some thoughts.

    I wish the best for Nathan.

    I haven’t read through the comments yet, but I am wondering if anyone has engaged with the idea of marriage helping a man in the area of mission or vocation?

    I know in my own case, it wasn’t until after I was married that I felt the (acknowledged totally subjective) feeling of being a “man on a mission.”

    That is, my family IS my mission.

    Make sense?

  27. @ Scott

    I know in my own case, it wasn’t until after I was married that I felt the (acknowledged totally subjective) feeling of being a “man on a mission.”

    That is, my family IS my mission.

    Make sense?

    You bet it does. But then again, I’m Catholic. We recognize that marriage is a vocation, a divine calling and mission in and of itself. After all, someone needs to take up the arduous and often thankless task of rearing the next generation of the Faithful.

    Speaking only for myself, I know now that being a husband and father was always part of what I was supposed to do. I had always known that there was something important missing in my life, a sense of purpose that was unfulfilled. It took me years to figure it out, and that realization has left me in an… interesting place now that I fully understand my position.

  28. Forgive me, I should let you know that I am Catholic too (Byzantine). It is a fairly recent development, but since I was chrismated Serbian Orthodox, my path took me that direction. I finished the conversion (made confession) about 2 months ago. Its a long story. As a new Byzantine married to an RC, I am still going though a cathecizing phase, (because there is no such thing as RCIA for eastern Catholics) learning both the Orthodoxy (that I missed growing up) and western (Latin rite) theology. My kids are of course now being raised in a bi-ritual environment.

    What that means is, from a Catholic perspective, I did it backwards.

    SO I am with you, definitely. I am going to do a post tonight at the courtship pledge and link back to this as my starting point. I hope you will read it.

  29. Pingback: How should you handle a suitor who is still discerning his vocation — courtshippledge.com

  30. @ Scott

    Yeah, I will read it and respond when I get a chance.

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