My older daughter and I were driving somewhere last week when we started discussing her future career choice. (I haven’t blogged about her career choice yet, but will shortly.) On the heels of that discussion we started talking about marriage, specifically how she might meet a young man (someday) who would be worthy of marrying her. Suffice it to say her career choice may throw her in the path of young men who will be rich.
And I warned her against it. Not to paint too broad a brush on ALL rich people, but I told her wealth can sometimes be incompatible with the family values we cherish. Not always, but often. (Okay, I’ll stop with the codicils now. I’m sure there are exceptions everywhere.)
Then I said something that just sort of popped out of my mouth but, upon reflection, I realize is dead-on accurate. I said, “Look at your father. He’s never been rich, but he’s always provided for us, and he's been the best husband a woman could ever ask for, and the best father you girls could ever want.”
I would never claim that riches are incompatible with family harmony (something we’ve always had in abundance) but I believe our LACK of riches has meant we have become immeasurably rich in everything else. We have the richness of love. We have the richness of domestic harmony. We have the richness of wonderful teens. We have the richness of lots of time together as a family. We have the richness of a lack of stress (most of the time). These are things, literally, that money cannot buy.
Rich men can either be rich through inheritance or through hard work. I don’t begrudge either. In fact, I applaud both. Except… I’m not sure riches could ever translate into a man worthy of my daughter, because I would question whether his interest lies with his wealth (maintaining it and/or building more) or his family.
Yeah yeah, I know every parent wants the highest ideals for a potential son-in-law. But under most circumstances, in a heartbeat I would choose a man of modest means to marry my daughter, over a rich man.
If I were to pull together a bucket list for a son-in-law, money would NOT be on it. But these qualities would:
• A strong work ethic. A man should have the will and the ability to provide for my daughter and their future children.
• Kindness. My future son-in-law will know how to be the kind and loving head of his family. He will not use anger or fear to control either my daughter or their children.
• Religious strength. A man should be able to guide his children’s religious upbringing and provide a godly example of manliness to his family.
• Morals. My son-in-law should be a moral man who knows (and sticks to) his convictions.
• Honorable. This term can encompass a lot of ground, including keeping his word.
• Practical knowledge. My son-in-law should know how to do make, fix, repair, create, and build. There are a million and one things my husband can turn his hand to that makes our lives easier. I would wish the same abilities in my son-in-law.
• Adoration. My son-in-law will adore my daughter. She in turn will adore him back. This respect and adoration helps carry any couples through hard times.
As you can see, riches aren’t listed anywhere. And riches may even interfere with many of these ideals.
Here is a wonderful letter to Dr. Laura that says a lot about how a woman should treat her husband which would add immeasurably to marital harmony.
What are your thoughts?