I am twenty‑seven years old. I got married when I was sixteen. I have three children, and feel desperate because after eleven years in a happy marriage, I now feel frustrated. My plans were to go to college and get a doctorate. I think I still have time to reach my goal and, even though I have a good, faithful, and respectful husband, and I know that he loves me, he has never been supportive with regard to the things that I want.

Now I would really like to go on to college, but that implies that I would have to choose between two things, because I would have to leave the city and my family. But I don’t intend to leave my family. I feel that in the end my sacrifice will be rewarded, because I feel like I am a woman who is blessed by God.

I have a friend who tells me that the most important thing is taking care of yourself, and accomplishing what you want in life. Please, I need help! I don’t know what to do. I love my family, but my desire to be seen as someone important in society is very strong.

Dear Friend,

We are very glad that you have written to ask about this dilemma. We want to congratulate you for thinking ahead and considering all the possible ramifications of this decision. You are not being impulsive, as many people are, doing what seems right at the present time without considering what it will mean in the future.

How wonderful that you realize that you are blessed by God! For many women, to have a happy marriage to a good and faithful man who loves and respects you would be a dream come true. And to be further blessed with three children is enough to make your life complete.

Think back to the time before you were married. What you wanted most was to be that man’s wife and stay by his side forever. At that point you made a choice that cannot now be changed. You made a commitment to him then, and after eleven years your promise to him cannot be taken back just because you are having second thoughts.

Yes, education is important. But teaching and being an example and a loving support for your three children is also important. Those children do not deserve to be abandoned or relegated to third place in your life just because you’re feeling restless. By getting pregnant and then giving birth to each one, you made an unspoken commitment to love, nurture, and guide that child to adulthood. That is impossible to do from far away.

Very frequently in these cases a family is divided because of work, school, or immigration issues. We strongly recommend that couples do not do this to themselves or to their children. It almost never turns out well. Couples who do not live together are more likely not to remain emotionally together either. They gradually grow apart until they are not really a couple anymore. No financial or educational benefit is worth the loss of that one you promised to love forever.

You say that your friend is telling you that accomplishing what you want in life is more important than anything else. We’re curious. Does that friend have a happy marriage and beautiful children to nurture and support? Whether she does or not, she certainly doesn’t understand the value of a loving husband and the value of children who grow up with a supportive, loving mom. In fact, her values are completely self‑centered. You would do well to turn a deaf ear to any further advice from that friend.

The patriarch Job in the Bible was a man who had unwise friends. They gave him advice during the worst times of his life, but he was smart enough to ignore them completely. We should never allow friends to influence us to make choices that we suspect are wrong.

How can you fight the frustration you feel? Make a list of all your blessings. Meditate on that list every day. And thank God for all He has given you.

Put all your efforts into making a wonderful home for your children and your husband. No degree that you could ever earn would ever come close to having the value of a loving, nurturing, peaceful home.

We wish you well,

Linda and Charles