This is a big issue that needs to be discussed prior to marriage. Some women have big career aspirations, while others simply want to be homemakers. There is nothing shameful about wanting to stay home and care for your family. Society tends to look down on such arrangements, implying that women are giving up their talents and true selves to become slaves to thankless children. It’s no wonder that so many women feel compelled to be in the workforce – because they believe it is what they are supposed to do. America is success-obsessed. Success is a wonderful thing, but do we have the correct definition of success? If success means giving up time with family and friends to climb higher and higher up a corporate ladder, then what kind of success is that? There is nothing wrong with being successful in business. In fact, it’s a wonderful thing… as long as priorities are balanced and people come before acquiring things that will ultimately burn.
Why does this need to be discussed before marriage? This issue can rip a marriage apart if not clearly communicated up front. If a woman wants to stay home with her kids, but does not discuss this with her potential spouse before marriage, there will likely be an unnecessary fight on the horizon. What if your man is picturing a mansion on a lake and sporting a successful career woman on his arm? Whether or not you think of that scenario as a noble aspiration, if this is not in your life’s plan, he should know early that you do not intend to be such a wife. This is an area which may be worth breaking up a dating, or courting, relationship. Many women are stuck in jobs they hate, desperately wanting to be at home raising their children, but cannot do so because of the lifestyle the husband desires or upon which they both may have previously agreed.
However, the aforementioned scenario is not always the case – some husbands want their wives to stay home, raise children, and take care of their home. If you are planning to be a career woman and have no intention of staying home with kids, your potential spouse needs to know this. This one decision will affect your finances, the state of your home, your style of living, and with whom you and your kids will spend the majority of their time. Future husbands and wives need to be in agreement on this important area.
As a teenager, I was in a dating relationship and I mentioned one night on a date that I wanted to stay home with my kids when God blessed me with them someday. He became angry and yelled, “What?!?! You’re going to have to help me!” The thought that crossed my mind is, “No, I won’t have to help you, because there is no way I’d marry you.” My husband and I discussed this issue in detail before we married and we agreed that we wanted our kids to have a mother at home. Because we discussed this thoroughly before marriage, and I realized how much it meant to my husband, I entered into our marriage with a peace knowing that he would make sure we were taken care of when our children arrive.
Sometimes plans change… and career women later realize that they want to stay home with their babies. All marriages are prone to change and those changes have to be dealt with using clear communication and loads of active, mature dialogue (not immature monologue). This is an area married couples may need to work through if not discussed before marriage. Some married couples do not ever come to an agreement on this issue and one spouse is forced into an arrangement he or she does not prefer. This one decision will greatly affect your marriage and your future children. There is no reason to not discuss it before engagement. You will only remain happy in a marriage with someone who truly shares your values – for either path that is taken – in this area.