I checked in with my husband.
"Honey, did you ever consider how much money your future wife would make as part of the criteria for finding the right one?"
His face contorted.
"What?" he asked, as if I had just asked him if he had ever considered marrying a Martian.
"No," he answered definitively.
I explained why I was asking, and he too was surprised. "I never heard of that," he replied, shaking his head in disbelief. He didn't say it, but I could tell he was thinking, "he needs to man up".
The next day I heard about a son-in-law who left his wife every time they had a new baby or made an expensive purchase like a car. He has a fear of responsibility. Maybe that's what is at the heart of the problem with the other guy.
I didn't need another reason to appreciate my husband, but these stories did cause exactly that reaction.
I'm not so sheltered that I am unaware that the majority of married households are made up of two wage earners. It's just the idea of a man who already earns an income that is more than enough to support a wife and family comfortably, screening potential spouses based on income-producing ability, never occurred to me. What a complete inversion of the traditional household economy!
The traditional Catholic world is steeped in its own controversies regarding women and careers. I know plenty of trads who vehemently disagree with the idea of a woman attending college. They are mostly single young men, insisting that women should stay home and learn domestic skills until marriage. I also know others, mostly worried parents, who insist that women need to prepare to support themselves for life, to not expect that they will ever find anyone to marry. I know wonderful, pious young ladies in both situations. I spoke with a lovely young Catholic woman recently who told me that her traditional Catholic parents had witnessed so much divorce within their own Catholic families, that they advised their girls, growing up in the 1980s-90s, to become self-sufficient and not to become attached to the idea of marrying.
Me? I think college today is grossly overrated as a means to a career, and I dislike it in general because it is so flagrantly anti-Catholic and ridiculously expensive. I would prefer women find other ways to support themselves. I know that not every home situation is ideal for a woman to remain in until marriage and that it is often the case that she has already learned all that she needs to know about keeping house. I do think that something is lost when a woman becomes financially independent that will make it more of a struggle to let her husband lead the household if and when she is able to marry. I also think that her husband, knowing that she is capable of earning a good salary, could be tempted to take advantage of this when things get tough, instead of, as my husband says, "manning up" and doing what's necessary to support the family. Yes, I know that there are situations where the wife works, and she and her husband have worked everything out where it does not cause a strain on the marriage. I'm just speaking in generalities and with the idea that we're talking about traditional Catholic homes with several/many young children.
Life is full of struggles, isn't it?
What times we live in.
On a lighter note, maybe the answer lies in promoting participation in wife-carrying contests like this one in Houston. Enjoy!