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Friday, January 2, 2015

Advice from a Married Man

Dear Bro. Jo,

My wife and I recently celebrated our tenth anniversary.

It has been a bit of a whirlwind, but since these things are fresh in my my mind I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts for the Young Men that may read your column.

Feel free to abridge this however you would like, or use just parts of it.

Being choosy about who you date.

My advice is to ignore any physical imperfections that you think are deal killers.

The real deal killers lie within the priorities of the person to be dated (and your priorities).

Before I was married and was in the dating scene, there were two young ladies whom I met at the same time. I found one of them more attractive than the other.

As I got to know them and their priorities, the one I did not find as attractive initially became more and more attractive to me physically.

The other young lady became less attractive physically as I got to know her and her priorities because it became apparent that she was vain and selfish. It was a strange phenomenon.

In the end, I didn't marry either of them, but the more I get to know my wife the more beautiful she becomes.

Being a tight-wad.

For the young men out there that are tight-wads like me, this is a good thing.

The bad part is that when dating the thought of springing for two milkshakes and loaded burgers seems a bit daunting at $15.

This is good practice however because in a few short years taking the whole family out for the same thing will cost three or four times that.

It's like proving that you will be willing to pay for a family in advance.

I was at a walk-in clinic recently with a sick child. While there I recognized a young mother there with a child in a similar situation to mine. It became apparent that their insurance was not being recognized at the clinic.

The distraught mother then left the clinic. I observed her going back to her husband, whom I also knew.

She then came back to inform the clinic that she would not be coming back.

Her daughter had an ear infection, and I knew that this required a doctor to prescribe antibiotics before the child would get better.

I also knew that in that circumstance anyone can come up with the $100 necessary to get the clinic visit.

Her husband balked, but you should not.

I do not mean this to be self-serving, but I jumped in at this moment and pulled what cash I had out of my wallet and gave it to her for her daughter.

I generally don't carry more than $10 in my wallet at any time, but at an ATM earlier that month I accidentally withdrew more than the $20 I normally withdraw.

It covered the doctors visit for that child.

Providing like a man.

If you think taking a family of six out to dinner at the local fast-food joint is a big hole in your wallet, then you will pass-out at providing 24/7 for the family.

We can start with food at $600+/month and car maintenance and insurance at $300/month.

You will have to have a car large enough to haul everyone at once.

You no longer get the nice $200/month rent with roommates that you get now too.

Let's not forget health insurance and a perfunctory 3 times a year you get to go to the ER.

All told, you will need to be making roughly $65k+/year just to get by.

Real men don't make their wife pitch in half either.

Remember that bit about paying for both at your date with the milkshakes?

Your wife has a full-time job at this point taking care of kids.

This means you need to plan ahead to get to a point where you will eventually be making this kind of money.

It won't be right away, but you must have some kind of plan and you need to stick to it.

Don't be scared of what I am saying.

It is hard, but well worth it.

As I have told my parents, “You do not know life nor death until you have children.”

Just to give you an idea, we have spent the better portion of the last ten years in school.

It was all part of the plan with 4 ½ years in a bachelors program and 4 ½ years in graduate school.

It hasn't been without heartache and problems.

In that time we have given birth to five children, been in long-term hospital care twice, been to the hospital dozens of times, had two vehicles self-destruct during road trips, etc.

I will tell you now that it is all worth it.

If you have the right attitude and go into this with a plan, you will realize what a life worth living means, and what life is all about.


- Happily Married

Dear Happily,

Sound advice.

And congratulations!

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

And how do YOU go about making over 65k, OP? Nowadays a Bachelor's Degree gets you a $12-17/hr job as opposed to a grown-up job that you used to get with a high school diploma. And who are you to say what "real men" do and don't do? Sounds a little sexist towards today's women...

Bro Jo said...

Well . . . I don't know about "sexist towards today's women" . . . that kind of response often sounds to me like the justification of a lazy man.

I think the writer fairly clearly illustrates what he did, and recommends as a possible path, towards providing for a family.

And while I readily acknowledge that economies vary by region, I know many hardworking people around the US who make well over $17 / hour with no degree, more with a Bachelor's.

Perhaps a career change is in order?

As one of the characters we recently saw at a Florida theme park said:

"Don't be intimidated; be inspired!"

Or, as Sister Jo says: "it's not easy, but it is worth it".


- Bro Jo

PS: I hope y'all realize that one of the reasons I posted this letter is that it conquers with the counsel that our leadership, the men AND the women, have given us.

Anonymous said...

He seems to be counselling delaying marriage until the prospective husband has graduated and earning, if not $65k, then something close to it.

Bro Jo said...

Not at all.

Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

My mom, who has 7 kids and has stayed home my whole life (kid 2) has as many stories of how tough it is to run a house on what Dad makes as he does of how tough it looks to live on what he makes.

But here's the thing: when you get married, and you have the best plan you can come up with, and then you follow the prophet (not delaying kids, raising them in light and truth, who tries to work and who tries not to, etc.) that is exercising great faith, and you're binding the Lord to help you out. There is no way on paper that almost any family can make it with supporting a family, but the Lord can't show you the miracles and make it happen the best way if you're not willing to go ahead and get some kind of job to start with, have the family and be serious about taking care of it.

But if you do all that, then just watch Him take over. I'm only one of the kids in the family as yet, but even I can see them.