To all the single Catholic men out there, you don’t need to be rich/well-off to date and discern marriage. As a young woman, I’ve had young men tell me “dating is expensive” or “girls want rich guys” or “no girl wants to date a guy who’s in debt.”
I think our parents’ generation (Baby Boomers) instilled a great sense of practicality in us. But by the same token, I think it has scared some of us into thinking we have to have “everything together” financially before we make some big life decisions. Much of our grandparents’ generation got married when they were young and poor. They made it work. You can, too!
If there’s one thing you should take away, it’s this:
A truly holy woman will look at you as a whole person, not a bank account. A woman who looks at you as the sum of your assets is not striving for the same things in life as you.
The Church, the world, everyone – we need good, holy men to become husbands and fathers! I’m going to make an assumption here that you’re a practicing Catholic guy looking to date and eventually marry a faithful Catholic woman. (If not, most of this post won’t apply to you.) I certainly don’t speak for ALL Catholic women, but here’s some insight into how we think.
Don’t worry about trying to impress a woman with your money on the first date. You don’t need to take her to an upscale steakhouse. Why? This is a woman you could potentially marry. If she’s also approaching dating as a way find a spouse, then eating at a fancy shmancy restaurant isn’t going to move the needle if she feels like you’re not a potentially good husband or father.
The kind of woman you want to marry isn’t going to tell her girlfriend after a date, “Well, he’s rude, lazy, and self-absorbed, but he can afford nice restaurants, so I’m going to keep seeing him.” Do you want to be with a woman who wants money over respect? A fancy life over a holy one?
You really need to get it out of your head that money makes you a better man. It doesn’t. Now, some women will absolutely think you’re a better catch if you’re rich, but remember that marriage is “for richer, for poorer,” so it’s not going to feel great to vow your life to someone who you think will leave if you suddenly lost all your money.
Money might make you more materially wealthy, but it doesn’t make you holy.
By the same token, you can be both wealthy and holy. In fact, we need people who are wealthy to help fund many of the projects and good works that the Church does, but we don’t need to be wealthy to get married.
(Side note: Being poor doesn’t make you holy, either. In his homily, a priest once said, it doesn’t matter if you’re poor or wealthy; it’s about your attachment to money. You could be poor and attached to money, or rich and attached to money, or poor and unattached, or rich and unattached.)
So if you can fundamentally disassociate the idea of your worth and dignity being tied to your income/savings/investments and attach yourself to your identity as a son of Christ, you will be happier. I know it’s easier said than done. The woman you marry will be grateful for it because she’ll know that you understand the inherent worth in every person.
Be creative! I think it’s safe to say most women will appreciate creativity. Here’s some ideas:
- take your dogs on walk together
- home-cooked meal you make together or homemade fondue (cheese then chocolate)
- free museum visits
- apple picking
- free outdoor movies
Yes, there are women who expect men to have money and offer them nice vacations, a big house, and a lot of disposable income. But these are not the women you’re looking to marry. Wanting a nice vacation or a nice house isn’t bad in and of itself; it’s a problem when that’s the idol and the expectation.
I think most faithful, holy young women would rather marry a lower middle class guy who listens to them and is seeking to do God’s will than a wealthy man who doesn’t care about what she thinks and moans when she goes to Mass. Yes, you can be wealthy and holy. But if I had to choose only ONE of those qualities in a man, I’d go for HOLY!
Being a Provider
I personally LOVE that men want to be financial providers. But you don’t need to be able to provide for a family of four or five or ten on your first date. What’s important is that you know you want to provide and you’re actively doing things to get there. Are you walking towards financial stability or away from it?
To find out, be honest with yourself:
- Do you want to be the sole financial provider, allowing your wife to be a stay-at-home mom full time? (Note: This doesn’t need to be your goal, but if it is, be honest with the women you’re dating.)
- Are you looking for a wife who can supplement with income?
- If you can’t provide for a family right this second, what can you do within the next few years to change that?
- Are you anticipating a promotion or a raise?
- Are you expecting to pay off debt?
- Could you be saving more now to make your goals a reality in a few years?
- If you’re working part-time and have no impediments to working full-time, why aren’t you taking advantage of that?
If you’re in college or in grad school and have debt, so what? You can pay it off. Worried that your career path isn’t lucrative? You’ll just have to be smarter with your budget or get a side job. Don’t miss out on finding a life partner and receiving the graces of the sacrament of marriage because of these things!
I don’t buy into the idea of delaying dating or marriage for the sake of money. For starters, when you and your spouse move in together after the wedding, you’re going to have one rent payment, one utility bill, one internet bill, etc between the two of you instead of two of everything. Sure you might get a bigger place together and buy more food, but paying for 2 one-bedroom apartments is more expensive than paying for 1 two-bedroom apartment.
This is not to mention that married men generally earn more than their single peers. I wouldn’t use this as a motivation to run out and get married ASAP, but I encourage you to challenge your mindset about delaying marriage because you don’t think you make enough money.
- You’re trying to get to know each other as people, not dollar amounts.
- You don’t need money to be chivalrous – hold a door open, pull a lady’s chair out for her.
- Money doesn’t make up for virtue you lack, like kindness, honesty, or loyalty.
- A woman who starts a relationship thinking only about what she can get out of it is not a relationship headed for love. As Matt Fradd says, “Love people, use things.”
- Pretty much all financial faux-pas can be remedied. You can pay off debt, earn more money, learn how to budget, etc.
- If you want the woman to give you the benefit of the doubt about your financial situation, do the same for her.
You will build a life together
God made men and women to be dependent on not only on Him, but on each other (our species would fail to exist if men and women didn’t depend on one another!). We have to lean on each other. It’s not a weakness; it’s a necessity. You’re going to build a life with your spouse. It’s not all on you; it’s give and take.
Finally, it’s possible that after reading this, you’re realizing that maybe there’s more to the reason you’re not dating. Are you using money as an excuse not to date, when it’s really about a deeper issue?
God Bless you all!