SINGLE MEN, STOP TRYING TO BE RICH
“I’ll get rich first. Then I’ll court and marry.”
This is the common statement I hear among single (Christian) men. When they say they want to get rich first, they mean a fool-proof financial stability. Well, I do not agree with the statement above. And I have a few reasons for it.
First, there is no such thing as a fool-proof financial stability. I do affirm that an aspiring husband should prepare to financially provide for his future spouse. But this does not mean he has to achieve a fool-proof financial stability. He only needs to have an acceptable level of financial stability (this depends from couple to couple).
Second, financial stability is not the primary indicator for a man to pursue a woman. It is indeed an indicator, but not the most important.
Lastly (and this is related to the previous point), commitment, along with many others, matters more than financial stability. I often ask my female friends, “Who would you choose? A man who’s financially stable but can’t commit to you? Or a man who’s struggling yet striving for financial stability but is very much willing to commit to you?” I submit to you that they would rather choose the second man. After all, a man who commits to a woman will work hard towards financial stability. His commitment is his motivation.
– FINANCIAL STABILITY IS EASIER TO ACHIEVE IN MARRIAGE
Some single men could be thinking that financial stability is easier achieved during their single years. This could be the reason they “want to get rich first.” But they better think twice.
In his excellent book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller discusses about studies that point to what have been called “The Surprising Economic Benefits of Marriage.”
A 1992 study of retirement data shows that individuals who were continuously married had 75 percent more wealth at retirement than those who never married or who divorced and did not remarry. Even more remarkably, married men have been shown to earn 10-40 percent more than do single men with similar education and job histories.
Why would this be? Some of this is because married people experience greater physical and mental health. Also, marriage provides a profound “shock absorber” that helps you navigate disappointments, illnesses, and other difficulties. You recover your equilibrium faster. But the increased earnings probably also come from what scholars call “marital social norms.” Studies show that spouses hold one another to greater levels of personal responsibility and self-discipline than friends or other family members can. Just to give one example, single people can spend money unwisely and self-indulgently without anyone to hold them accountable. But married people make each other practice saving, investment, and delayed gratification.1
So single men, think twice!
– A DEEPER ISSUE
There could be deep underlying issues why single men want to get rich first. I offer you two.
The first issue is identity. Many single men would want to have a fat bank account so that they have something to show and prove to the woman, her father, and her family. They do it to impress. But if we take a closer look, these men are finding their identity in their savings, not really in Christ. So if we take away their money, we’ve also taken away their courage and confidence to court a woman.
The second issue is faith. Again, many single men work towards a high financial stability so that they’ll be secured in the future. While I’ve already mentioned that there’s no such thing as a fool-proof financial stability (in other words, absolute security), I’d like to believe that this could also be an “O-you-of-little-faith” issue. Single men try to be rich, thinking that they should provide for the woman they wish to pursue. And they should!
However, they should realize that they could only provide so long as God provides. Thus, God is the real Provider. The Bible exhorts everyone, including single men who are aspiring husbands, to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” And what happens if we do? “All these things will be added to [us]” (Matthew 6:33).
AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO SINGLE MEN
I challenge single men who are aspiring husbands (so I’m also issuing a challenge to myself), to find their identity in Christ, not in their bank accounts. Also, I urge them to work hard (I’m never against working hard and pursuing a financial stability), thinking that they could only provide because God ultimately provides.
So with an identity founded in Jesus and with faith in the heavenly Father who is the real provider, may single men “stop trying to be rich,” and learn to commit to the woman they wish to pursue.
— Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (New York, NY: Dutton, 2011), 24.Writer’s Bio: Enzo Cortes is a youth ministry leader, speaking, writing, and sharing about the Gospel in various campuses, church plants, and ministries across the Metro.This article was originally from the author’s blog at enzocortes.com