This is an email I received in response to my blog on “Princeton Mom” the other day. I wanted to share it and my response to her because many people do not understand the difference between finding a husband, and being open to the Lord’s will for your life. I hope I clarify my position. For what its worth, I agree with much of what “Mom of Seven” says below, and admire her for doing what is best for her family despite the economic impact.
(Disclaimer: Email below has been edited for privacy)
“… She does not at all say that the purpose of college for a woman is to find a husband. She merely points out that during your college years, you are surrounded by eligible young men and she doesn’t say, but should, that you also have more free time than you ever will after graduation. It behooves a young women (sic) to not squander that opportunity. After graduation, typically, a new grad finds employment with multiple age groups. She might not even work with many adults, or with eligible bachelors. So her time in which to find a man to marry is now restricted to those hours that she isn’t working. If finding a husband is truly important, it needs to be at the top of your priority list. I am not saying that you need to be married by 22 or 23 or risk spinsterhood. I am saying that the success of achieving one’s life goals is maximized when one takes advantage of the available resources.
When I was in college, the great lie was that a woman could have it all – career AND motherhood. I did date my future husband all through college, and we married when I was 24. I earned an engineering degree and had a very nice career. I earned even more money than my husband. I didn’t want to wait until I was 30 to have children, but we were in debt, having gone to expensive private schools. I had my first child, and returned to work. I hated it. We worked so hard for the next 2 years to pay off the school loans so I could stay home when my 2nd child was born. We weren’t quite there, but I did stop working, and we lost half our income. Money was tight for many years, but it was worth it to be home. I learned that we can’t have it all.
It is easy to think when you are young that finding a good husband won’t take much effort. It is easy to think when you are young that men will always find you attractive. The older you get, the greater the chances that the men who are available have already had sex, and may have already been married, and may even have children. You may even find men who fail to mention the reality of still being married while beginning a relationship with you. This is just life in the big bad world.
I have 3 daughters. I also have 4 sons. They are all under the age of 18. I stress that right now is the time to focus on your education and sports and other recreational pursuits. We do not permit dating before adulthood. But I will tell them all, when they head off to college, that although an education is the primary reason to go to college, they need to keep their eyes open for a special someone. Would I want my 20 yo getting married? Probably not. But I will not lie to my girls and encourage them to pursue a career first and a husband second. I don’t use that engineering degree much, and probably never will again. But I use my brain daily in the management of my home, I have several small business endeavors, and I have plenty of ideas about what to do when I really grow up and have no children to tend. Careers can be pursued at any age. But a woman can only bear children during a particular window of her lifetime.
-Mom of Seven
I completely agree with your position, except for the phrase “find a husband”. I made this clear in the following quote from my blog, “What I am NOT all for, however, is the phrase “finding a husband”.’ This is what I took contest with when I read about “Princeton Mom”.
I am so blessed to be a Christian, to experience the peace of a life that is found with Jesus Christ. I thank my parents for raising me with these values. As a Christian woman, I know that I do not need to find a husband. If I want to get married, I can certainly place myself in the position of meeting men, be open to men my friends recommend for me, and I can live a healthy lifestyle to ensure that I am at the peak of my attractiveness, but most importantly I need to cultivate a relationship with the Lord and trust in him to send a man my way, and I need to be open to receive him.
I did not, “find” my boyfriend Michael, a good friend introduced him to me. I have set friends up over the years. This is usually how these things go. I am certain you did not “find” your husband, I am sure the good Lord placed him in your path at the opportune time, you both felt attraction, and things blossomed from there, and the only thing you had to do was be open to the Lord’s will!
I am certainly not of the camp that believes you need to have a career and travel and buy a house before you get married… However, the mindset of having to “find” a husband is similar to the mindset of having to “build” a career and a life before you get married. Both involve having a timeline for our lives that is man made, not God made. Yes, I agree that college is a unique time where we are surrounded by people of our age, but it is also apt to remember that a significant portion of the population has only recently started attending college immediately after high school. Somehow, all those generations before us managed to get married, and far more successfully, as the current, dismal divorce rates would suggest.
I am glad you do not let your children date before adulthood. I also like the phrase you used in closing, “Keep their eyes open for that special someone”. I feel this is much closer to the Christian worldview. Keep your eyes open, but also, “… do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6: 31-33)
I hope this helps clarify my opinion, thank you for writing!
Readers, please feel free to comment with your thoughts below!