• Thu, Jul 8 2010

What Does “Marrying For Money” Mean To You?

Jessica Wakeman over at the Frisky just wrote a piece where she questioned whether marrying for money is really such a bad thing. She notes:

Take me, for instance. I’m afraid I’m going to get tarred and feathered as a “bad feminist” for admitting this, but yeah, I do want to marry someone who can financially support both me and our kids.

I’m not ashamed to want to “marry for money,” if that’s what would you can even call it, because I don’t fundamentally believe it is the “man’s role” to provide for women. My actual motivations, as I see them, are pure enough. I know of great guys out there—journalists, teachers, non-profit dudes—who will probably make great dads. But I personally wouldn’t pair up with them because, realistically, our two salaries together just wouldn’t be enough to cut it for what I want out of life. But, but, but, “Bank accounts shouldn’t matter at all!” And while I agree with that in theory, sorry, a man who can provide for me and our children is just much more attractive to me.

As you might imagine, some of the commenters are very, very angry.

However, to my mind, this isn’t called “marrying for money” so much as it’s called “a situation where different human beings have different preferences that dictate their romantic decisions” (Jeez, the second one is so much longer).

If you’re someone who really likes the idea of being a stay-at-home mom who keeps the household running smoothly, then, yeah, of course you should marry a man who can provide for you and your family. Cool. I bet you can find a guy who’s into that. If you’re someone who wants to run a Fortune 500 Company then maybe you’d be better off pairing off with a stay-at-home dad. Equally cool. I bet you can find a guy who is into that.

On just the same note – you want 10 kids, your boyfriend never wants any? Maybe not the best relationship to stay in. He wants to live in the country, you’re Zsa Zsa Gabor? Fail. Because I always thought Green Acres seemed like a hell-nightmare from Zsa Zsa’s perspective.

There are tons of things that influence whether a relationship has any long term potential, though I think there’s always an inclination to jump at any woman who suggests that she’d like to be with a financially stable man. To my mind, the fact that Jessica wants to doesn’t mean that she’s “marrying for money” it just means that there are certain attributes she wants in a partner. It’s not as though she’s trying to trick a rich man she doesn’t care for into marrying her just so she can use him as an ATM. She’s pretty open about her own needs. I generally think of marrying for money as being a good deal more duplicitous – and almost never worth it (because really, there would be no loneliness like the loneliness of waking up every day next to someone you didn’t love). If you want to find someone you love who happens to be financially successful, is it really that bad?

But then, hey, I’m just a little girl from Little Rock. What are your thoughts?

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  • Corporate Tool

    I think that it is foolish to ignore finances when making life decisions, and that includes finding a partner. I say this as someone who happens to out-earn my partner significantly. I am fortunate enough to have a job which I enjoy/find fulfilling, which is also well-compensated. The upside of this is that we can have a comfortable, middle-class life, while my partner can pursue a career that is satisfying, yet would not support such a lifestyle.

    It’s unfortunate that the writer is a woman, as the gender dynamics are blinding many commenters to a fiscal reality.

  • Jessica Pauline Ogilvie

    Yup, I totally agree with you, Jennifer. This doesn’t sound to me like marrying for money either. This sounds like marrying, and having money as a couple. I also think that a guy working hard to have a career that pays well (enough) is indicative of a certain value system — just like a guy moving to Japan and teaching English for ten years is indicative of a value system — and they’re both perfectly fine, just different. I say kudos to her for knowing herself well enough to know what she wants.

  • Foush

    I don’t know, something about the article really left a bad taste in my mouth. Its not the wanting someone who is financially stable, which is fine. It’s the feeling of rampant entitlement. She wants to live in the city, keep her job, provide for her kids, etc etc. Guess what, everyone wants that dream, but the reality is that most people have to make compromises, ie live in the suburbs. Again, financial stability and compatibility is super important in a relationship, but excluding guys who would make awesome fathers seems really stupid.

    When I was growing up money was really tight in our house. I never got the cool toys or the lavish birthday parties. But you know what I remember? My dad always being there. Being loved. Always having support. You know, the important things you actually need to contribute to society. Maybe even (like me) have the means to financially support yourself and not need a man.

    Looking at her somewhat spoiled perspective, I would hazard a guess that maybe her own parents while providing many frills failed to impart any substance.