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Money Matters, But More Than Love?

Yesterday, the Business section of the New York Times had an article addressing the significance of financial compatibility in marriage, likening its seriousness in making or breaking a marriage to that of sex and children. And, of course, it has me thinking about what it takes to make a successful long-term partnership beyond love. The article notes:

Marrying for love is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, marriages were arranged affairs, aligning families for economic or political purposes or simply pooling the resources of those scraping by. Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union.

I know we're all grateful that we live in a time when love is valued, so it's somewhat disconcerting to think of a life-long partnership in business-related terms, like "financial union." If you're in love, it can be difficult to separate your intense emotions from the practicalities that go into making something work for the long haul, but sometimes you have to — financial strain can be a huge burden.

What do you think? Are you good at considering your relationships from a more pragmatic point of view? And if so, which elements of compatibility matter most to you outside of a shared love?


Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I can definitely think of it from this point of view. Just because love is there doesn't mean that it's practical to get married. It helps a lot it if you have the same send/save personality. If one likes to save and one likes to spend you are going to have problems.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 8 years
I think no matter how in love you might be, in the end, after years of being finanically f*cked, its just too depressing and it takes such a toll that eventually the love will just deteriorate into misery over bills, eating shitty food, and staying home all the time to watch tv. Money just makes it easier to stay happy over prolonged periods of time and to have fun. Yeah everyone is gonna have their good and bad days whether they are rich or poor, but if you're goin on life's journey with your lover without the proper resources, its just too hard to conquer all y'alls future battles on love alone.
bibliophile bibliophile 8 years
I've just finishied reading a couple books of historical fiction where all the marriages were based on economic and political reasons rather than love. It's interesting how we romanticize the past when it seems as though people were much more practical back then! Still, I think love is a crucial ingredient to having a happy and long-lasting marriage, but so is having a shared viewpoint regarding finances.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
You have to have both in a serious, long-term relationship. Obviously the love has to be there, but you also have to be able to work together pragmatically to ensure your shared financial stability. Both elements are necessary in a partnership.
austerity austerity 8 years
I think I am good at both, but I've found that whenever I catch myself thinking about a relationship pragmatically, something tells me that I'm doing something 'wrong' and that any consideration for someone as a partner should come purely from romantic feelings and passion. I think our society is conditioned to think that way; if you do not want to rush into his arms madly and he does not bring immediate butterflies to your stomach, then you shouldn't marry him.' One of the reasons we have so many divorces! I think pragmatic issues are more important to most of us than we'd like to admit.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
Matamoros, two people marry for a reason. A woman cannot force a man to marry her. If a man feels pressured, and because of that pressure, jumps into marriage, he is at fault for his action, not the woman. Women get screwed. I am not saying that because I am a woman, but because of what I have seen happen. My dad married my mom, my dad, 15 years into their marriage,LEFT US one Sunday morning. I didn't see him for a year. He cheated on my mother with random people. I have incidentally, met all of them, as he invited them to stay at our household (with my mom still there). He came back after a year, and after he was through "cheating". He then divorced my mom after 19 years of marriage. Since their divorce, I have only seen my dad TWO f*cking times in THREE f*cking years. In case you didn't know, if you think the child support money is nearly enough to support a child, you are 100% wrong. My parents have two kids, me, I am 21, and a younger brother who is not yet an adult. In the state, what is considered enough to support a kid his age is 1,000 dollars. You know how much my mom gets per month? 142. Men screw women over. I am not saying it doesn't happen the other way around, but men are looking to give the woman a hard time...wanting them to have the responsibility of a child and other crap, but no way to do it. Screw all of the men who think the way you do, and think that the women are not the victims. They fight for what they need, and don't even get THAT much.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Matamoros, I'd like to address you, but I don't think I could speak in simple enough words to do so. Anyhow, I went to college and law school so I could always support myself and marry someone I loved. Done and done :)
MeggyPoodles MeggyPoodles 8 years
snakes** LOL it is too early for this
MeggyPoodles MeggyPoodles 8 years
Matamoros - I truly believe you are just saying things to get a rise out of people, cause that statement was JUST SO DUMB. Women TRICK men into marrying them? What a bunch of sneaky snames we are . . . ps. your profile says YOU are married. Guess someone crazy wench duped you as well!
chocolatine chocolatine 8 years
Matamoros, it's a fact that a woman's standard of living falls dramatically after a divorce, especially if children are involved, so your claims are false. Most mothers get custody of the children because fathers don't want it. Many divorced fathers can't even be bothered to spend two weekends a month with their children, let alone raise them. The court-mandated child support payments are not nearly enough to raise a child on, and most payments are never collected because the father refuses to pay and the mother can't afford a lawyer to enforce the payment. As a result, single mothers usually have to work full time AND support their families on one person's salary. In mature, committed relationships, nobody "tricks" anyone into signing anything, and the vast majority of marriages are still proposed by men. And last but not least, in case you haven't noticed, this is a women's forum, so nobody here has any use for your "advice". Go troll somewhere else.
Matamoros Matamoros 8 years
Divorce laws are designed to separate men from their money. So men should be very careful when and with whom they tie the knot. You never hear of deadbeat moms, right? Why is that? Well, that's because they have nothing to run away from in a divorce, as all the laws favor them. They get the kids, house, cars, money and the poor man has to pay them while they resume their old dating habits and sleep around town. When the man gets fed up living in a small rented apartment and living off of starvation wages while his ex is out partying and sleeping around, he packs up and leaves. Marriage is a CONTRACT. A legal contract which women trick men into signing that gives away all of a man's property and future earnings if something goes wrong - and it does in nearly 50% of all cases. Not only that, but the courts nearly always give custody of the children to the woman. So women all want to be equal, that is, right up until the day when they step into divorce court. Think carefully before you sign any contract, but the one contract which has ruined the lives of more men has been a wedding contract. You will be obligated to pay for her laziness for a long time after you have gotten sick of seeing her.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
I am very very very very very (times infinity) good at looking at a relationship from a pragmatic point of a fault. Love is still very important to me too though. So I'm kind of just s.o.l. because I'm to much of a perfectionist, lol lol. What's important to me, other than the love of course, is: -How they handle their money (not how much they make) -how they handle other people, including me (this means things like manners/conversation skills/arguing skills/and just friendliness in general) -religion, I am atheist (very strongly) and while I respect others views, I don't quite understand I couldn't live with someone with very different views on this topic. I think those are the most important things to me.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I don't think about finances - I guess I should. It's important to me that a man has a job, one that pays the rent, and preferably one that he loves - and he should want to improve himself. But not necessarily monetarily - creatively or career-wise. I'm of the belief that if you work hard and love it, no matter what the field, you'll make it and do fine financially... my last boyfriend did a lot of financial "growing up" during our relationship and it was very hard. My values outside of love are that the person is intellectually curious and willing to pursue what he loves.
gLam-shortie gLam-shortie 8 years
I agree with jacrabbit84. I am going to college now so I can be financially responsible and secure in the futre...and i would hate to be with a person who doesn't work hard for his money. I am in a relationship with a boyfriend of a little over a year, and he comes from a very poor family...and I come from a upper-middle class. It's hard to relate sometimes, when it comes down to going on vacations, buying groceries and budgeting, but it think when it comes down to it... You have to be responsible for youself and just work out the differences. Love is important, but I don't this that itself can withstand a life long marriage.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I went to college and I've always worked hard so that I COULD marry for love and wouldn't have to worry about having enough money. I wouldn't have married someone who is financially IRRESPONSIBLE, but just having money wasn't in my criteria.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Yes, I consider myself pragmatic (and romantic) when it comes to my marriage. Financially (and personally), my husband and I are compatible. We're pretty much on the same page. When it comes to marriage, love is important, and so is the economics of it. Thankfully, a couple can be compatible in BOTH ways, not just one or the other.
sonya-ina sonya-ina 8 years
I think shared values are really important. If you can't agree on anything, then problems are surely to arise. I don't think the amount of money you have really matters though, at least on an individual to individual basis. However, I can see problems arise if one person comes from a super well-to-do family, and the other one comes from a lower-middle class family. I feel like the families themselves can easily cause unnecessary drama -- they want their new in-law's to measure up, or are just a tad insecure.
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