I am in a relationship with a woman who already has two children with a former boyfriend. I too have three daughters from my previous relationship. We want to get married and buy a house where only the two of us would live. The house where my daughters live belongs to their mother, and my girlfriend would leave her children with their grandmother, since they are opposed to their mother having an intimate relationship with any other man except their father.

My fiancée has a job, and so do I. However, I am not sure what she wants because, when I told her that if we got married we would buy the house on credit and we would each take on fifty percent of the debt, she didn’t like that at all. So now I’m in the dilemma of how things will be in our marriage.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for trying to make better decisions in the future than you have made in the past. It is very good that you plan to get married this time rather than to have another sexual relationship without the benefit of commitment. God’s plan for marriage is that “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband”.(1) When couples choose to overlook that plan, it frequently ends in unhappiness for them. This is true partially because the lack of commitment to one another makes it easier to break up and start over with someone else, rather than stay together and work on resolving conflicts.

We also congratulate you for trying to work out your financial differences before getting married. Many couples fail to discuss their expectations about money, debt, and work-related matters before the wedding, which is why money is one of the most frequent causes of conflict from the start in marriages. We suggest that you and your fiancée each write down all your income and debts to show to one another so that you can then make decisions about how the family money will be spent. If you cannot come to an agreement about future mortgage payments, it is likely that there are other financial issues that will also be difficult to resolve. It sounds like your fiancée believes that you should take care of her financially so that she can spend her money on other things. If you do not agree with her on this, it is better to know now so that you can both adjust your expectations.

The part of your story that is the most alarming is that your fiancée is willing to abandon her children. They should be her first responsibility. She is the one who should be taking care of them on a daily basis. And if she cannot work it out for them to live with the two of you in your new home, then you should not plan on marrying this woman.

How often do you see your daughters? Do you take care of them financially? Do you go to their sporting events and school activities? Do you show them how important they are to you? Those girls should be your first priority. They need their father.

Any future plans you make with your fiancée should first consider the welfare and financial needs of her two children and your three daughters. It would be both irresponsible and selfish of you and your fiancée to place a higher priority on your own desires than on the needs of those five little ones.

We wish you well,

1 1Co 7:2b