A few people have asked me about my policy of preferring candidates for wife and mother who have earned STEM degree(s). In this post, I’ll explain 5 goals for my marriage. Then I’ll explain 6 reasons why a STEM degree helps me to execute that plan. Then I’ll answer 3 objections to the STEM degree requirement. Then I’ll explain the relevance of STEM for a woman’s marriage roles.
What is STEM?
So, to start, STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A STEM degree is a degree in a STEM field. This includes things like petroleum engineering, bioinformatics, and computer science. But it also includes things like economics, accounting and business. Basically, anything with math that involves solving problems in the real world. Anything that encourages logical reasoning and using evidence to sustain an argument.
My goals for marriage
So, here are my goals for marriage:
- influence the church with apologetics
- influence the university campus (students and professors) with apologetics
- be involved in politics, advocate for conservative policy
- open the house to students and neighbors to teach apologetics and demonstrate a loving marriage
- raise 3-4 financially independent and influential children
Everything I want in a wife is related to this plan. I evaluate women according to these goals, because I want my marriage to make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom. I’m flexible on plans and requirements, so long as the proposed changes result in a greater impact for Christ and His Kingdom.
How a STEM degree relates to marriage
The plan is for my wife to earn a STEM degree, marry me, and work full-time until the first child is born. Then, she stops working and becomes a stay at home mom. She could return to work after the each child reaches 5 years old. My preference is that she not return to work, but instead homeschool the children, or at least monitor their education in private evangelical Christian schools as a stay-at-home mother.
So, how does a woman’s having a STEM degree help me to achieve my marriage plan goals?
Here are 6 ways:
1. STEM equips her to homeschool influential and effective children. A wife who has completed high school and college courses in math, science, engineering and/or technology will know how to either homeschool our kids, or monitor their homework and grades so they achieve good academic results. Think of how Asian families raise high-performing children. I want that.
2. STEM teaches her to produce results in the real world, e.g. – working code that solves a problem, lab results, bridges that support a load, etc. In the lab, decisions cannot be made based on feelings or peer approval. The lab doesn’t respect horoscopes, devotions, romance novels, essentual oils, romantic comedies, “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction”.
3. STEM equips her to argue apologetics from her experience of using reason, evidence, reality-based testing. All Christians need to know how to defend their core beliefs (God exists, etc.) to non-Christians. That means doing what works. And what works is logical argumentation supported by evidence. The best kind of evidence is scientific evidence. Then historical evidence. Confidence comes from competence at practical, real-world disciplines.
4. STEM degrees are a path to high paying jobs. Women who are debt-free are better to marry, because they don’t delay the process of buying a house and having children. Any kind of debt has to be paid off first. I’m not looking for a big spender, I’m looking for someone who can earn and save. The more children we can afford to have, the bigger our influence will be. Also, women who choose STEM demonstrate that they can delay gratification, and not be a slave to FOMO, YOLO, “living in the moment”, etc.
5. STEM equips women to find work easily, so she doesn’t feel pressured to accept a bad marriage proposal. She can move out and start saving money. She can buy apologetics books, lectures and debates. She can buy books on economics, marriage and parenting. She can prepare herself to attract the right man, and she can evaluate men to see if they are prepared for marriage.
6. Both the STEM departments AND the STEM workplaces less likely to be woke than non-STEM departments and workplaces. She will be able to hold to her convictions more easily in an environment where results matter more than having the “right” (left) opinions.
Objections to preferring a wife with a STEM degree
1. A woman with a STEM degree will not want to quit her job and become a stay at home mom during the critical period from birth to age 2, or even better, age 5.
2. A woman who takes years off for child-bearing and early childhood years will not be able to resume her job at the same level of pay.
3. Even in STEM departments, a woman will be exposed to an environment with secular left indoctrination, drunkenness and promiscuity. She is unlikely to come out of college as a virgin.
Responses to objections to the STEM requirement
Points 1) and 2) apply to every kind of degree, not just STEM. Any woman who does 4 years of college in any field will be “wasting” it if she stops working. First, in my plan, her education is to equip her to educate her children, because I trust her more than any teacher or stranger to do that important job. Teachers are not paid to produce results – they are unionized, and not paid based on performance. Second, even women with STEM degrees would generally prefer to work part-time or not at all. They want to stay with their young children. Third, we don’t need the money. That’s why I suffered through my BS and MS to earn 6 figures and have a 7 figure net worth. We don’t need her to work.
For point 3), I’m not saying that EVERY woman who graduates with a STEM degree is perfect for marriage. I’m saying that a STEM degree helps to have a marriage that is influential for Christ and His Kingdom. I’m open to other majors, so long as they address the concerns and goals I specified. I’m even open to a different plan. But the overriding concern is that the marriage count for something for the Boss. Even with a STEM degree, the man still has to ask the woman questions about politics and parenting. He still has to evaluate her sobriety, chastity and frugality. A STEM degree is just a starting point.
The difference STEM makes for apologetics
I think it’s obvious that having a wife who has taken courses and even worked a few years before the first child arrives helps her to be able to educate her kids and / or monitor their performance. But it also allows her use apologetics more persuasively on the university campus, in the church, and if we open up the home to college students and neighbors for movies / meals / discussions.
For example, take the fine-tuning argument. A knowledge of physics and chemistry helps you to explain why changing the fundamental forces results in a universe that does not support complex, embodied life. A knowledge of probability theory (e.g. – product rule) helps you to argue for intelligent design in the origin of life. And what about logic? Even in computer science, we had to study symbolic logic, the rules of inference, conditional proofs, Bayes’ Theorem, etc.
My wife’s job is to make the big picture of education clear to the kids, so they know what they can do in the real-world with what they are learning. So many Christians underperformed in school because they didn’t know the relevance of what they were learning for the task of defending their Christian worldviews. My wife’s job is to know how the material being taught relates to real-world goals, like defending Christianity. This is how parents produce children who grow up to be William Lane Craig, Stephen C. Meyer, Luke Barnes or Michael Licona. Boldness comes from knowledge.
First, I hope this post convinces women to start planning for their marriages early. You need to know things that matter for two reasons: 1) to attract a quality man, 2) to evaluate men and filter out the good ones. That means you need to know things like apologetics, politics, etc. Having money helps to buy learning material.
Second, I hope this post convinces men to stop choosing women based on youth and beauty. Your choice of wife will have a huge effect on your influence. Choose a capable, competent partner who complements your strengths with different strengths. Men spend their days in the workplace, where we cannot say much about religion and politics. If you marry an intelligent conservative Christian woman, she can be your voice to the university, the church, and the public square. Not to mention raising effective children. Therefore, choose wisely.
My wise friend Laura helped me with this post. Please check out her 10-part series for women on how to choose a husband.
23 thoughts on “Should men prefer women who have earned STEM degrees?”
I would add Nursing to the list – to me, that is part of STEM.
And while I might not go quite as far as you, because I think that a lot of women would be better off without a degree, I would say that if a girl is going to go off to college for ANY degree, it needs to be STEM (including Nursing).
The reason for this is because if you send your Christian daughter off to school for a non-STEM degree, there is a good chance that she will come back an atheist and a Jezebel. Not just a good chance, but a very good chance. Exceptions might apply for some Christian colleges, but certainly not all of them.
What’s your opinion on a girl who excels in math and science in high school doing a degree in Christian Apologetics, if such exists, at a truly Christian college – of which there cannot be many left? Or maybe a double major in Mathematics and Christian Apologetics? To me, that would be pretty cool – given the arguments from math to God, and the ability to follow some of the great logical proofs over history for the existence of God, eg, Godel’s.
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Nursing is definitely part of STEM, its my favorite major for a wife candidate.
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“What’s your opinion on a girl who excels in math and science in high school doing a degree in Christian Apologetics, if such exists, at a truly Christian college – of which there cannot be many left? Or maybe a double major in Mathematics and Christian Apologetics?”
I think it would be good, I’d give her a shot. I explained what benefits the STEM degree brings, and I’d tell her, and she could tell me why she offers a better balance of skills and abilities.
Great post and I hope you get your hearts desire.
An issue, though, is maybe the person who doesn’t have a degree in any kind was because she was unable to go to school. Maybe God had her in HIS school of life and she learned various lessons through various trials.
I understand your point, but it seems very strict and kind of putting God in a box. Life happens and He works everything out for our good. A good wife is God made and not degree made. Just a different perspective.
But I’m sure wherever she is God is getting her ready for you as well and you’ll check all her boxes.
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Thank you for your opinion. In this meantime, I mentor young Christians and build them up.
OK Tasty Bite Aimee, I wanted to reply here and ask you this, so we get down to brass tacks.
My priority in life is not getting what I want for myself, e.g. – marriage. I’m more interested in shaping a marriage to achieve what God wants.
So, I identified 3 problems that I see in the world today that are challenges for my boss: atheism, feminism and socialism.
I listed out 4 goals in the main post, that I think attack those 3 enemies.
I was wondering if you think that men have a right to put God first, and make their marriages subordinate to that higher authority.
If so, then do you have a problem with the 3 enemies I identified?
If you think the 3 enemies are good enemies, then what’s wrong with my 4 goals?
If you think the 4 goals are good goals, then do you think that I should be looking for a woman who has developed the ability to achieve those 4 goals?
See, there is a chain between my Boss, my goals, my marriage plan, and what I am looking for in a woman.
I have sacrificed my own happiness in order to prepare for my roles in my marriage plan, which achieves the goals, for the customer (God). And I’m just wondering what your alternative is such that you think a Christian woman should be able to come in and take advantage of my preparations without having to care about my Boss, my goals, my plan, etc. I’ve yet to meet a young, unmarried Christian woman who had any notion of marriage that was God-centered, and who took responsibility to generate goals and achieve those goals in preparation for marriage.
The enemy is Satan who hates everything God does, and when I say God I mean the God of the Bible.
There is nothing wrong with having goals and plans. I am currently in my 30s and single because, like you, look around and do not see a suitable mate.
With that said, everything you have said is what ‘you’ have done and not what God has done. If you are looking for a godly wife then she will have prepared herself to be a wife and God will have been the one making her.
All of your plans are focused on you and your wants. It made me think of Corinthians or Ecclesiastes that if you do not do things in love then it was vanity. If you have mentored and done all you have mentioned, but God didn’t send you then it was for nothing.”
I can add that I too have my own standards and have been praying to be prepared for my future husband. But all of the things I have learned and the jobs I currently have are because God gave them to me. I did not look for them, but they were perfect to prepare me for the future knowing I was unable to go to school.
I understand preparing for the future, but none of what you has stated has given space for potential illness or disabilities that prayerfully never happen.
We do not know what God’s plans are for us or what our journey will be down the road. There are many people I know with handicapped children. Many couples I know who had everything going right career and schooling wise and there was sudden death.
I am thankful to be led by the Holy Spirit because everything “I” have done has failed. Everything HE has done has been fruitful.
I find your comments intriguing and valuable. I think it’s interesting that some of my favorite heroines of the Faith ended up unmarried even though they desired husbands. Harriet Tubman (she sort of had a husband for a short time), Corrie ten Boom, Gladys Aylward, and many others. They were clearly following God’s Voice even though He did not give them husbands as they wished.
Do you have any thoughts on that?
God had other plans for them.
The goal is to be made into the image of Christ and do whatever He calls us to do and go where He sends us. The goal is Christ and not a spouse.
I desire a husband, but if that’s not God’s plan for me then that’s not His plan for me.
Paul said it’s better to remain single because we can do more for the Kingdom. However, it is not a sin to desire marriage. Marriage was designed by God, but it’s not the ultimate life goal… serving God is.
Between what you want in a woman for a wife, and what Laura
thinks a woman should want in a man, there is going to be a lot of single people in the future!!!
Google the “Sheconomy” !
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Laura and I have been talking about the comments, and I wanted to add one more thing based on that.
Some men are saying that it’s a bad idea to have a plan, or to expect women to do things that they don’t feel like doing. Two of them married women for their youth and beauty, and they’re more concerned about justifying their prioritization of youth and beauty FOR THEMSELVES, than prioritizing achieving goals that are related to a Christian worldview. They chose youth and beauty because they thought marriage is for men, not for God.
One of them told me that it’s wrong to communicate a plan. He was concerned with constraining his wife with responsibilities and obligations. Women don’t like to be cogs in a machine, he said. But no one achieves anything in this world without having a plan, working hard and sacrificing their comfort. Not everything goes according to plan, but by thinking ahead about what to do, you will make good decisions when you improvise.
One of them told me that my plan was unrealistic. He thinks that organizing a Christian speaker on campus is too hard for a woman. He thinks that a woman can’t lead a study of an apologetics book in a church. He thinks that a woman cannot show a DVD of a debate, and then lead a discussion. He thinks that a woman cannot teach her children how to defend the Christian worldview. It’s too much to ask a woman to do.
If we treat women like children, then they won’t partner with men to achieve goals. And if the man doesn’t see her as a partner in achieving goals related to his Christian worldview, then he won’t love her as much. And we want men to love their wives as much as possible. That’s why we need to challenge them and invest in them to do more. And women love their husbands a whole lot more when their husbands equip them to partner with them on the things they care the most about.
Thanks for sharing your views WK. Always interesting to read your articles.
I’m a mid-30’s guy, with a STEM PhD + MBA background from top western universities. I’m Christian, but I don’t have the ambitious plans you have to spread the Word etc. My current goal is to have a family with children and bring them up properly, while building up enough savings so that my family can become financially independent for multiple generations. I’m now working in Asia, in a socially conservative and democratic country.
Just my personal opinion, but I decided on a partner with a degree in Early Childhood Education (with a business minor) instead of someone from STEM because I thought that it would be better to find a partner who could compliment me with a different skill set.
The advantage is that my partner teaches in a private preschool which allows her to register her children into the preschool at a discounted rate. So basically she can bring our young children to work and get paid for it. She’s also very good at caring for and teaching young children as that is basically what she has done all her life.
Do you think this could be a potential alternative to STEM?
This sounds very promising. I think the minor in business is pretty good, it has math and economics. Business majors are very conservative in general, compared to other majors.
Do you think that you would become more ambitious with your family as time goes on? Because you sound like a really successful man, and we sure could use your help.
I’m not sure if I’ll be more ambitious, my wife likes to serve though, she used to lead curriculum development for children’s church at her church before we got married. In my prior church, I used to speak in youth service and lead multi-day camps for youths and their non-christian friends to spread the gospel. We just joined a new church this year after getting married so we are still getting used to things here.
For the next 5-10 years, I just want to have a family. Unless I hear God calling me strongly to do something.
I love this post! So many men I’ve interacted with think women are only good for looking cute, cooking food, and putting out their slippers. They don’t think highly enough of women to see us as part of their ministry plan, to count on us to refute false ideas, to educate their children, and to impact the world for Christ. Either that or they don’t have the skills/wisdom to formulate a plan and consider how their wife could be an integral part of it. I, for one, want to be viewed as a valuable member of the team and a partner in ministry, and if I had the opportunity to go back to age 21, I wouldn’t settle for anything less, even if it resulted in lifelong singleness.
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I used to be shocked at the responses to your posts on topics like this one, and I admit that I have wondered at times whether you might have planted some of the comments in order to lend credibility to your arguments:) How else would you find women who, for example, begin by announcing they don’t have the qualifications you recommend, and then carry on with confused reasoning, unfounded (and usually false) assumptions, personal attacks, and repeated admissions of incompetence and passivity covered in religious language, with the occasional Bible verse taken completely out of its context in order to justify themselves?
Further, are we to believe there are Christian men who think so little of women that they wouldn’t dare wait for a wife who is capable enough to partner with them in the tasks which God has made clear are important to him and have been delegated to his ambassadors on earth? Are decent women really that impossible to find, or could it be that these Christian men couldn’t say no to a cute face and a nice pair of legs, and now they find themselves determined to justify their poor decision by telling others they can’t do any better? Given what I’ve seen lately, my guess is it’s probably both.
If the comments I’ve seen are, in fact, from real people, then I imagine you are thanking God right now that you didn’t settle for less than the standards you have laid out here and elsewhere, even if it means a lifetime of singleness. Beauty fades and charm is deceitful, but a woman’s complacency, passivity, and self-justified unwillingness to act according to God’s revealed will in the Scriptures are likely to remain for a lifetime.
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Wow, that’s pretty rough. I guess I want to be more positive and try to convince women like that to be more opposed to enemies like atheism, feminism and socialism, and that men prefer women who are prepared to help with that. I feel like I could build up any Christian girl, and that’s my goal. Although, if they are stubborn and content to not do anything, I can’t help. They have to have some interest in being God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), stewards of God’s truth (1 Corinthians 4:1-2), destroyers of speculations set up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5), and ready to answer questions from non-Christians (1 Peter 3:15).
“…wait for a wife who is capable enough to partner with them in the tasks which God has made clear are important to him and have been delegated to his ambassadors on earth?”
See, this is the problem. I look at the books that are popular in the Women’s Issues section of Amazon, and I see a lot of pious books, self-help books, romance novels, fiction, etc. I don’t see a lot of books on apologetics or economics. If you work backwards from “there are atheists in the university” or “there are atheists next door”, then it becomes pretty obvious that apologetics is the answer. So – why are women so disinterested in apologetics? And when you tell them that this is what it takes for a man to marry them, why do they try to escape the obligation to know how to be persuasive to non-Christians?
I do have to say, I’m not sure that I would want to get into a marriage with someone who negates my abilities (education, career, finances, chastity, sobriety) by saying that God is responsible for causing me to be like that. I feel like I would not get any respect as a leader, and the marriage would devolve into her taking the reins on the basis of her feelings – which she might think are God speaking to her. Whenever women talk about “the one”, I feel they do that because they think it’s God’s job to find them a husband, and God’s job to make the marriage work. So, they’re not going to be engaged in engineering a result. When someone says to me “God gave you your BS, MS, million dollars, and six figure salary, and God gave me my preference for romance novels and fiction” that seems to be a way of escaping from 1) having to give me respect, and 2) allowing me to lead her to be better. It’s equalizing things that are not equal, with respect to making a marriage work.
So, just in general, I would not be interested in being legally obligated to someone who isn’t respectful. I don’t think that the respect due to husbands in Ephesians 5 is unconditional. I think that men who want respect – and this is what we live and breathe – should choose a woman who will credit him for his achievements. His achievements are what allow her to have freedom, security and prosperity so she can excel at the roles of wife and mother. For example, a man with a good income and savings can afford a homeschooling wife, instead of secular public schools. If she credits God for a man’s achievements, then perhaps she should marry God?
Without picking on any particular woman (please!), why do you think that women have this view that they are qualified to be wives and mothers without having to impress men with their ability to DO SOMETHING about things that God doesn’t like, like atheism or feminism or socialism?
One last point: what do you think is responsible for the radical denial of free will, agency and personal responsibility in some people? I’ve noticed that people who have this “que sera, sera” view of life tend to not be very interested in making a difference, doing hard things, improving themselves, etc. It seems to cause a lot of passivity, and then when questioned, it’s covered up in piety. I don’t see this glorification of being (self-servingly) ineffective anywhere in the Bible.
With regard to your first question, my first thought is that this is what the culture tells them. Popular tv shows, romantic comedies, and modern music all give the message that women should be able to look cute, perhaps say something witty, and win over the man of their dreams. It is the man’s responsibility to have a good job, be in good shape, solve problems, plan fun dates, be funny and entertaining, carry the conversation, always be pursuing her, and always making her feel unique and special even if she does nothing to deserve it. It is the woman’s job to look cute and be entertained. It’s rare to hear this message disputed by pastors, parents, or professors, so a woman would need to take the initiative to read excellent books, which she isn’t likely to know she needs to do since no one else is doing that or telling her she needs to.
With regard to your second question, my guess is that it may be the same as my answer above. These are today’s American cultural values with a few Bible verses sprinkled on top to make Christians feel better about them. There is very little personal responsibility, very little initiative, and a lot of self-justification and blaming others. Many church-goers are no different.
Wow! I agree with you – that’s what I’m seeing. But I don’t really see these messages, probably because I don’t go to movies, read fiction, or listen to popular music. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, and the only pastors I like that the normal-voiced practical ones like Wayne Grudem.
So THAT’s where it’s all coming from? Society, parents and pastors? It’s so weird, because don’t people want women to get married?
How come nobody asks men what we want out of marriage, and how we understand Christianity as being more outward-focused and practical?
OK, so I’m just thinking now… you seem to have escaped all this brainwashing from Christian parents and churches. Did you also grow up in a non-Christian home?
Also, what kinds of things do you do as a Christian? I am so curious to see what you would say if I asked you why any Christian man ought to marry you.
Have you given any thought to the kinds of things I’m concerned about in the original post? Do you think those goals are dumb? Have you prepared to do anything along those lines? Do you think it’s asking a woman too much to ask her what she’s done to solve those problems?
Let’s see…you are correct that I grew up in a non-Christian home. I first heard the gospel when I was 21 years old, and from what I’ve seen of most church youth groups, I’m very grateful for that. After graduating from college, I spent a year taking classes in the Bible, worldview, theology, world religions, and parenting, while working with troubled teenagers. The work I’ve focused on since then includes interning as a lobbyist at a conservative non-profit where I met with Senators, Congressmen, and their staff to persuade them to support conservative values; mentoring college students and women in their 20s; speaking at campus ministry groups like Ratio Christi on topics such as Islam, abortion, the biblical basis for apologetics, etc; teaching apologetics in the local church and through a parachurch ministry; sharing the truth with Muslims in their homes and in mine; and teaching and mentoring kids in my neighborhood, both through my interactions with the kids and through recommending resources to their parents.
If a Christian man asked me why he should marry me, I would say that I am a well-trained, well-read, serious Christian who is concerned about the things that God is concerned about, and I know how to get results that he will want if he takes Christianity seriously as well. I am an influence for conservative and Christian values in the home, the neighborhood, the church, the community, and the world through my writing, speaking, and teaching ministries and through my everyday conversations, wherever I go. I pray humbly, knowing that God is sovereign and I am not, but I also think critically, read voraciously, consider issues carefully, and take action enthusiastically. I am content, capable, and productive on my own, but I would love a partner for life and ministry, and I have spent more than two decades intentionally preparing for that role.
I absolutely love your post, and I think your goals are excellent. I’ve spent the past 23 years prioritizing being an influence in those very areas and always learning more in order to be an even greater influence. I would be delighted for a man to ask me what I’ve done in those areas! That would show me that he is concerned about the things that God cares about, and that he values what I could bring to the marriage – skills which are well within my ability to develop regardless of my age, beauty, or other superficial characteristics.
I love that you have God-centered goals for your life and a plan for how to achieve them! Things don’t always work out exactly how we plan, but without a plan, very little of value is ever achieved. These are exactly the kinds of goals I counsel young women to look for in a potential spouse.
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Oh my goodness! You have literally put rounds on target for every single objective I have in life. So I am not being unreasonable in asking for these things after all. HA!
One thing I generally go back to is Genesis 2 (which I know is a favorite text for weddings — I had it read at my wedding).
The woman is created as a *suitable* helper from his side or from his rib — meaning she is his ontological equal and functional complement (she is to assist and to complete the man in doing their task of Genesis 1:28, multiplying, filling, guarding, having mastery over creation.
Of course God has granted every Christian different talents and desires and in trying to align these to build His kingdom, we have to all consider our part. And sometimes, “This is something only I can do.”
When I was a single man, I had much more time to pursue things like theological studies while working full-time. (Some people are often surprised to find out I was a church seminary intern, had a high tech job, and also had a 6-hour a week second job … that was mostly for fun and was trying to get very specific skills.)
When I got married and had kids, friends certainly encouraged me to curtail any major ministry involvement and responsibilities. Only I can be a good husband to my wife and only I can be the father of my kids.
(At the same time, having a wonderful wife who understands my ministry and its importance — she has made it possible such that every other year or so, I can be a speaker for some of the Christian groups on campus or do some of the other ministry that I do.)
Reflecting on Genesis 2, it’s important to find someone that you can find “your equal.” When I was a more idealistic, much younger man, like in my 20’s, I was open-minded to dating whomever — as long as she was a serious and devout Christian, right?
Some of my experiences and learning made me realize that being highly intelligent, driven, and very intellectual — not to be snobby, but I have seen at least descriptively that people who are too different in terms of intelligence/intellect don’t get along very well (e.g., significant differences in interests, abilities, sense of humor, vocabulary, logic, etc.) You can chalk that up to “chemistry” in common parlance.
Or put differently, “I have to be a different person around the average person.” (C. S. Lewis talked a bit about this in The Four Loves: that different people, different friends bring out different things, different aspects about us. We should find people who bring out our best — or in common parlance, “She makes me want to be a better man” or things like that, and not “She pushes my buttons.”)
I thought long and hard and as I mentioned in another comment, there were certain things that were very important and I prioritized those, and the small number of women who were my girlfriends including my wife were all STEM graduates, with higher education, very intelligent, strong and devout Christians, etc.
I do think every couple has to wrestle with what is the right balance for them. My wife took off three years which was great for our two oldest kids. Then she got a little stir-crazy only making babytalk or talking with moms with toddlers, so we’ve figured out a decent balance although we’re constantly adjusting with different things (including COVID). I think if she had her druthers, she would work per diem but whatever. We’re also trying to strategize to get her away from her current fields into more of an office job (i.e., out of retail pharmacy and into something like pharmaceutical informatics).