In response to one of my latest blog posts, STAGES OF TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC COURTSHIP, I had my inbox flooded with a lot of men sending me emails, expressing anxiety at the content of the post, especially the financial aspect.
I see this as a good thing because men have been emasculated for so long that a lot of them have forgotten how to be men, how to be ambitious in providing for their families, how to lead and protect their families, and how to learn to be the main income earner of the house.
Families traditionally function best when the man is the primary income earner and the woman is the primary homemaker, staying home to take care of the children and to support her husband.
This has been God’s design since the beginning.
In the Old Testament, Adam was given the task of being a provider and Eve was given the task of bearing and nurturing children.
This design is also echoed in the New Testament – Joseph was diligent in fulfilling his role as worker, protector, and provider for his family, and Mary bore and nurtured Our Lord.
Husbands who have a homely atmosphere to return to after a hard day’s work, with home-cooked food waiting for them, and the mother of his children taking care of the kids, and maintaining the house, statistically do better in their careers and jobs because the wife, being the primary homemaker, is able to nurture and care for him, fulfill his physical needs and be an oasis of sweetness and warmth for him.
Her feminine energy fuels his masculine energy and makes him do better at work, earning more and even a having a better mental clarity to seek higher income jobs, careers or even to start his own business.
Unfortunately, the modern family unit has disintegrated due to our greedy consumerism, trying to keep up with the Joneses’ and our women being conditioned for decades that if they do not go out to work, just like their husbands, they are failures and cannot have a good standard of living – all lies!
The enemy knows that the family is a unit of society, and if he can destroy the family, the collapse of society would follow; he is right!
Among the many emails I have received from my male readers, several of them thanking me for opening their eyes to how they can treat women better, a particular email caught my eye.
I informed this reader that I would like to share his email on my blog, and he was embarrassed at the prospect of the public knowing that he, a man, does not make a lot of money to be able to provide, but he gave me the go-ahead to share the email, which is below:
Hello. As you can probably tell by the name, I’m a guy but I do like this blog a lot and as a confused guy I guess I figured this was as good a place as any to seek advice.
I was wondering how a man knows when he’s ready to court women and do well by them by not wasting their time. As far as money and spiritual maturity go, I mean. For example, I’m not a deadbeat, I keep myself employed no matter what, but I generally work manual labor and I make more than enough to live but not the high-life by any means. If I was married with kids I would probably have to work multiple jobs (which is acceptable to me) and finances would be tight, but I think doable. Maybe most women wouldn’t want that kind of life, but does that mean I should just completely give up on courting for the forseable future? That seems harsh obviously but I would say its better to face harsh realities than run away from them, but I’m confused about it. Basically, if I knew that finances would be tough for a future wife should I protect her from even making that decision and take myself entirely out of the game or is it okay to be honest about it and let her make that choice?
It seems strange the idea that only “rich” or middle class men can get married and have families, but that seems to be what Fr. Wolfe was saying when he gave the Holy Families Don’t Just Happen. Is that really true? Are poor men called to forget the idea of marriage? A very heavy cross, though I suppose it is worth bearing if it truly is that way. Would it be spiritually immature for a man to keep trying to court women if he is poor?
I feel like I know the answer to this but I’m sometimes prone to pessimism so I figured it’s best to get advice from other sources. Don’t be afriad to be brutally honest in your reply. I don’t know if you usually publish these questions or whatever but if you do could you please withhold my name? This might itself be a sign of spiritual immaturity but I’m a very private person and also I have been talking to a few girls very casually who may or may not read this blog and if I did end up breaking off contact with them I would prefer to do it on my own terms. Of course maybe they write for this site and I just outed myself haha, that would be just my luck. Well I’m rambling so I better just stop.
God bless and if you dont find time to respond I’ll understand so don’t feel bad for ignoring this haha.
First of all, I find it utterly admirable that as a man, he is able to admit he has a problem. Men are biologically programmed to be providers and it is a huge dent to their sense of self-worth if they are not able to exclusively do so.
Second of all, I respect him for having the willingness to do something about the situation, so that he does not waste a woman’s time.
My answer to you, dear reader, is that No, you do not have to be rich or on a high income to court and marry.
Firstly, if a man is unemployed, then he has no business courting or getting married.
However, if he is earning an income, even if it is a low income or income from a manual job, it is still an income and he can work with what he has.
There is an African saying that goes: “Cut your coat according to your size”, which basically means learn to live within your means.
I would even go further to say learn to live BELOW your means.
If you are on a low-income, it will be difficult, but it will not be impossible.
Here are my recommendations for low-income Catholic men who wish to court and marry.
Have A Clear Plan For The Future
Your primary function as a husband is to provide for and protect your family.
You need to make a 5-year plan for your career or job; a plan detailing what you want to be doing or earning 5 years from getting married.
Work backwards from that date, detailing the steps you will need to take to meet this goal. These steps might include taking a side job, taking on a course or upgrading your skills in some way, so that you can get a pay rise (if you work for an employer ) or charge more for your services (if you choose to be self-employed).
Once you reach that 5-year goal, then you make another 5-year plan for the next 5 years.
If you are unsure on how to make a 5-Year Plan, then this can help.
Choose A Mate That Is Compatible With You
If you, as a low-income earner marries a highly educated, high-flying career woman, it is inevitable that she will be supporting you.
Money is one of the biggest causes of marriage failure, which is why a high number of marriages where the wife is the main income earner tend to either fail or be rather unhappy.
It goes against God’s design and man’s natural biology to be financially supported by his wife and it changes the dynamic within the marriage, leading to disrespect from the wife, and resentment and a feeling of emasculation from the husband.
So, part of the compatibility test you should take in the early stages of courtship will be to make sure that you are compatible on income, career, and education level. Go for a woman on a similar level to yours or lower.
In addition, if you are a low-income earner and you go for a woman on the same level or lower as you are, there is a higher chance that she will be a very frugal person.
This means that she would be able to manage the household finances efficiently, even if your earnings are low. Whereas, a woman with a very high income will be more prone to spending money lavishly.
Consider changing jobs and moving house
If you are in a position to do so, change jobs and try to get a job within a company that offers opportunities for internal career progression.
You should also consider moving house. A family on a low income will find it difficult to survive on one income, or even two incomes, in a major city like New York or London. Moving further out can mean you get more house for your money and lower living expenses.
Consider being self-employed
Thankfully, we live in an age where it is relatively easy to be self-employed or to have your own business.
Even if you have very little education, you do have a skill or service that you can offer.
Thanks to lots of information online and internet resources, you can learn how to market yourself, how to budget and how to be self-employed.
Self-employment can give you financial freedom and your business, when properly run, would grow as your family grows.
Your wife may have to work
Now, this does not mean that she should be working full time outside of the house, but she may have to take a part-time job a few hours a week.
However, this still takes her out of the house and will disrupt her duties as home-maker.
Ideally, the best situation would be if she had a job that she can do from home, fitting in the hours around her daily schedule, and giving her the freedom to take care of the children, be a homemaker and be a wife, attending to the family’s needs.
There are lots of companies that offer home-based work. She can even choose to be self-employed, selling her services or products from home.
Ideas for home-based self-employment include: teaching a musical instrument, tutoring in a particular subject, selling products such as handmade items, selling services such as accounting, virtual assistant and so on.
The internet is full of resources and ideas for home-based work that a woman can fit around her duties as a mother and wife.
I am a big advocate of living below your means.
Living on one income is a good way to hone those financial management, saving, homemaking and budgeting skills. There is no shame in being frugal.
We don’t need a majority of the things and possessions that we think we need.
There is a huge difference between our WANTS and our NEEDS.
Being frugal makes complete financial sense and it will strengthen your bond as a family, as you and your wife will be cooperating work together on the family finances, both for the present and the future.
Skip The Big Wedding
It honestly makes no sense starting married life in debt.
Aim to keep costs down as much as possible.
Set up a wedding registry with practical household items that you will need as a newly married couple
Be Frugal, But Not Cheap, While Courting
As a man, you will spend a bit on your intended during the courtship period. This is yet another motivating factor why you should keep the courtship period short and not date for years – lol!
Be a gentleman; do not ask her to pay when you take her out on a date.
When buying her gifts, don’t be too extravagant. Get creative on date ideas that do not cost a ton.
If you realize that a particular woman is not the one you wish to marry, save your wallet and save her time by ending it quickly.
The most important item you will buy will be the engagement ring, so you do not want to disappoint in this area.
By being frugal during the courtship, you will be able to afford to spend a bit more on the engagement ring.
Once again, if you choose someone on your level or below, she will be very understanding of your frugal dates, whereas, a woman who is used to a higher income may not enjoy or appreciate your frugal dates.
Dear reader, I hope that these brief tips have given you ideas on courting and getting married, whilst on a low income.
Be sure to also look out for comments from other readers who may share their own tips as well.
ad Jesum per Mariam