I am thirty-three years old and up until a month ago I had an excellent job that enabled me to support my wife, my children, and my parents. But the downside of the job was that it was outside of the country and I had to go six months at a time without seeing my wife and children. That is why I decided to quit…. After having made the decision, my mother and my sister rub it in my face and say I shouldn’t have done it because my father is depressed and they were counting on the support that I gave him. But I need to be with my wife and children.

Dear Friend,

We are so sorry to hear about your situation! In these tough economic times, more and more people find themselves without work in their own cities and they are tempted to go and find work somewhere else. Your case demonstrates how difficult it is when families are broken apart for long periods of time. Not only did you miss your family, but they missed you as well. We don’t know how long you spent away from your family, but you may have well missed out on months of your children’s lives, and those months can never be regained.

Obviously you want to help your parents, as you have been able to do in the past. Your heart is in the right place. It is sad that your mother and sister are thinking only of what is best for them (and your father) and not what is best for you or your children.

There are two teachings of the Scriptures that seem to apply to your situation. First, Jesus Himself taught that when a man marries, he is to leave his father and mother and make a new family with his wife.(1) This clearly establishes that the wife becomes the man’s first priority. It makes it clear that he is to go away from his parents to live together with his wife. They are to become one unit, living and working side by side to raise a new family. By staying in your home with your wife and children, you are following this teaching of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul taught the other lesson that applies to your circumstances. He said that a man who doesn’t care for his relatives in need is worse than one who doesn’t believe in God.(2) But the implication is that the man he is referring to has enough money to care for the relatives. For if he doesn’t have money himself, then he obviously cannot financially help others. Should you rob a bank so that you can support your parents? Of course not! That would be wrong! But it is also wrong to abandon your wife and children.

Do your very best to help your parents with whatever money you have. Also look for other ways to assist them that don’t cost money. Show them that you love them, and ignore their disapproval of your decision. Sooner or later they will adjust to it.

We wish you well,

1 Mt 19:5
2 1Ti 5:8