13 October 2010

Putting My Husband Through School

Five years ago, I was nearing the end of my college degree, and my husband was still in the middle of his undergraduate program. We'd lived simply and frugally for a couple of newlywed years. Now we had a choice in front of us: I could finish school and continue working to pay our living expenses and my husband's tuition, or I could have a baby, come home, and let my husband go to school and take the financial responsibility for our growing family.

Does this one sound like a no-brainer? We had many friends in our situation. The wife graduated first, found full-time employment (with lots of benefits) and worked to put her husband through school. When he finished, he found the full-time job so she could stay home and become Mom.

That scenario sounded great, but it wasn't right for us. We skipped the money and security and instead decided to invite children into our family.

You don't have to think I'm right. Feel free to call me stupid and irresponsible. Trust me, I have days when I say those things to myself. But most days I remember that we did what we felt God wanted us to do. He wanted to send some of His children to us sooner rather than later. So we accepted them with the faith that if we did our best God would provide us with whatever we needed.

And guess what! He has provided everything we've needed! As we've trusted in Him, our needs have been met. And not just money or other temporal needs, but blessings of time, energy, wisdom and health. We're not a perfect family, but we are surviving. We feel His love and help every day.

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if we'd just waited to have kids until we finished school. In some ways life would certainly be easier. I imagine we'd have all sorts of luxuries, like two cars, a big bank account, gym memberships, cell phone plans, weekend getaways, nice wardrobes, no student loans, and even a subscription to Netflix! But I'd sure be lonely without these two little ones to keep me company all day.

And although I'm not contributing a steady salary with a dental and vision package, I'd like to think that I am doing other things to put my husband through school. I can cook a dinner for him to come home to (with lots of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch). I can keep his shirts clean. I can keep myself from complaining about fill-in-the-blank that's hard about our current student life (this one is still hard for me). I can do a multitude of small things every day that stretch our income and resources.

Things are challenging at times, but so much easier when I remember that the Lord is on my side (Psalms 118:6).


  1. I concur that children are a blessing, even when resources are tight. We also decided to have me be the stay-at-home parent while my husband studies and works to support the family. We are also hoping to emerge from these years debt-free (aside from our mortgage). It's a seemingly impossible goal, but keeps us aware of our need to trust God!

    I'm glad to hear that you understand that you are making valuable contributions to your family goals. Our culture doesn't usually affirm that, but it's nevertheless true!

  2. You're definitely putting your husband through school! Your boys look so cute in that picture!

  3. Love this post! I love when people take the attitude that children are a BLESSING, not an expensive inconvenience that should only come along when we're "ready" (and really, are any of us ever really "ready"?). God really does provide when we trust Him and His will for our lives instead of trying to implement our own will!

  4. Thank you for sharing your (beautiful) heart, Joanna! Your decision sounds wise and wonderful and perfect for your family.

    Children add so much joy and meaning to life, don't they? I can't imagine my life without my two girls.


  5. I am in a similar situation. My husband and I got married, and really felt like we were supposed to start trying to have kids right away. I had a full time job with benefits, and he was in school. One year later we had our son, and I quit work and he started an intense one year accelerated nursing program. God has provided for us the entire way. It has been amazing to watch His provision as we follow His peace. My husband just graduated last Friday, and I just gave birth to twin girls three weeks ago!

  6. i hear you! it can be so tough... but then just one look at my kids and it's all worth it. :)
    i'm so thankful everyday that God not only gave me two beautiful children, but also provides so I can stay home with them even during this time while my husband is studying!

  7. I'm so glad to find this blog. My husband is a PhD student, I'm in school for Nursing now that our daughter (8 yrs)is in school. I gave up my job so I could focus on studying. We depend on student loans, but we figure that we don't have time to waste going to school part time because we are in our 30's. The sooner we can get it done the sooner we can get jobs that pay a family wage. I really feel isolated in our choices, but reading your blog lets me know that we aren't the only ones. Thanks! and congrats on the new baby!