Jobs, Finances and Dating


#1

I have seen many threads on here with young people in high school in college that are contemplating marriage. Some have jobs, some do not. Some have a good financial situation and some have a lot of debt.

I see some people that say you need to be established before considering marriage and dating. Otherz disagree and say it is better to start early.

None of these addresses something I think is critical and that is the attraction part.

We all know that a huge part of marriage is finances. I see that many claim that finances are a big factor behind divorces.

In my life, I know women that have left wealthy men for poor men. I know women that have left poor men for a rich man.

From readng these forums, I see women that complain about their man not having a job or fearing that they will have to be the primary money maker. I have seen some men worried about marrying a girl with high debt.

With finances being so important, why are things like finances and a job not one of the primary things to look for in a spouse? Shouldnt a job and steady finances make one more attractive than other qualities?

One of the things that Islam promotes is how a marriage is beneficial to both spouses because it is more rational than Western romantic love. The idea being that marriage is just as much a business transaction as it is a union of two people.

Prior to the 20th century, Christian marriages were largely financial or for status. Royal and noble families as well as well to do families used marriage as a way to maintain their status and to increase their power and wealth. Marriage was a necessity for the poorer classes and many used it as a way to move up the social ladder.

The marriages were largely successful and there were fewer divorces. Today, we find that romantic love blinds us to many problems. Divorce rates are very high now.

I am not a proponent of arranged marriages. However, does anyone agree with me that we need to introduce more rationality into marriage and less emotion? Is it really a healthy thing when we let our emotions and physical attraction overule our sense of rationality and making prudent decisions in life?

I know of one girl that is neglecting her studies because she has a new boyfriend. She is having her brother do all her work for her. I know another girl that worked three jobs to pay off her and her fiancee’s, who didnt work, student loans only to be dumped by the guy.

To me, it seems that marriages would be stronger if people tried to make better decisions even if it means some short term pain. Many overlook the long term for the short term and find that they madr big mistakes as time goes on.


#2

But we're in love!

...

And thus your whole argument falls apart. Sorry, but the reproductive system overpowers the mere reasoning of men, no matter how powerful.

But it would be nice.


#3

i think the truest words (about dating) is this....."LOVE IS BLIND"


#4

I met my wife when we were both 15. We were high-school sweethearts. Neither of us has ever dated anyone else.

We married when we were 20. I was making $250 a week as a draftsman, and we both worked weekends in minimum-wage jobs. We had a tiny, one-bedroom garage apartment; it was all we could afford, especially considering that we were both still in college. Times were tough, but we never took a dime from anybody.

That was more than 25 years ago. And, if I had it to do over again, I still would not have waited another day to make her my wife.


#5

I would rather be poor with my husband than rich without him. It's he who warms my heart and puts a smile on my face when I see him every day, not my material goods. I was going to say "not my..." and list some expensive items I own but I realized I don't have any, lol! We make good money (he's a computer programmer) but we don't spend it on a fancy lifestyle like others at his office. It's just not a priority for us.

However, I do understand what you're saying. With finances having such a huge impact on relationship satisfaction, it's important to have your eyes wide open about your future spouse's situation before you commit. It's equally important, and maybe even more so, to look at the other person's spending habits. Grocery store tabloids are always covered in headlines of millionaire celebrities who decalare bankruptcy because they squandered away their money. You'd be better off marrying a lower-income person who spent wisely than deal with the financial and emotional train wreck a freespending spouse can cause.

But, marriage is not a business transaction and never should be. A loveless marriage where money was a big factor in the decision to join together makes for a miserable and wasted life, even if it comes with a comfortable lifestyle. I believe the lower divorce rates of the past had much to do with the fact that divorce used to be social suicide, and that we'd still have the same low rate if we had the same pressure to stay together no matter what.

When you find the right woman you will understand, trust me! I've seen your posts before and you have a lot to say about women and relationships, but believe me, falling in love and getting married are positive things if you both enter the sacrament with a willingness to love and self-sacrifice.


#6

I am not opposed to arranged marriages -- provided they occur within cultures that truly foster successful arranged marriages. In a lot of countries where arranged marriages are successful, the roles of the man and the woman are culturally clear. In our culture, we have a million different ideas, many of which are valid and could work. The problem is that for a marriage to work, the husband and wife have to approach marriage with matching values and approaches that they can agree upon for their marriage to work.

Today's world, the problem if divorce or even not marrying is much larger. Most couples are petrified of marrying the wrong person and inevitably ending up divorced. They think they need to try things out and overall they see marriage as a formality. The wedding is more of an affirmation and celebration of what they believe already exists between them at that point than a commitment and covenant they will strive to make work. As such, most don't value the traditional marriage commitments and you can see it in the wedding vows they write to each other (rather than the traditional vows of generations past).

That said, I don't think marriage is merely about financial gain or a business decision. It is about relationships and so even great marriages may not appear to have been the best business decisions. My parents have been married for 31 years. They met when they were just out of highschool, engaged three months later and married close to their 1 year anniversary of meeting each other. Neither one had college degrees, and they were absolutely broke. When they had me, I still got spoiled with toys and cloths because my grandparents and extended family kept sending gifts. Since they were young, they made some poor financial decisions as well, eventually got themselves out of debt as they learned, had four children and by the time I was in highschool, my family had jumped to the other extreeme of being overly affluent. They're much more balanced in their approach to money, and their faith in God providing was enough for them to do the crazy thing of paying for two weddings within two months even though my Dad got laid off and was searching for work during my sister's and I's engagement. Honestly, the cost of our weddings combined was on the low side of what most couples or families tend to spend on a wedding and we still had beautiful weddings. Meanwhile my parents did not go into debt to pay for our weddings.

The way I look at it is that the reason dating/courting makes sense is because our hearts have no brains, but that doesn't mean that they're not important. You really have to train your heart like a seeing eye dog is trained. Your brain needs to put your heart on a leash. You need to see if this person you're interested in is a person of good character. I'd be much more concerned about a man who was an impulsive buyer, who didn't live on a budget and who had no career ambitions, than I would be of a man who was acquiring student loans at a good University, had a sound financial approach to paying off those loans and a good attitude toward money in general. Moreover, making financial mistakes is simply something most couples are going to go through.

Starting out your married life without a lot of money does not necessarly put you in the path of divorce. In fact, I'd say the majority of secular couples who get married (and later divorce) are waiting for the ideal financial situation. They're also waiting to have children for the ideal fnancial situation and then go overboard with buying the best things for the few children they have. Wealth does not secure the stability of their relationships. In fact, I'd say its the hard times and struggles that a couple goes through that potentially makes that couple stronger. There are a million and one lessons to be learned through those struggles. Being financially protected from those struggles makes it much more difficult for their love to mature because they're not being challenged enough to mature.


#7

[quote="mjs1987, post:1, topic:223834"]

I am not a proponent of arranged marriages. However, does anyone agree with me that we need to introduce more rationality into marriage and less emotion? Is it really a healthy thing when we let our emotions and physical attraction overule our sense of rationality and making prudent decisions in life?

[/quote]

I think a lot of this has to do with culture more than anything. Our culture-- more specifically (just in case everyone here doesn't share it) American culture does not value pragmatism in marriage or friendship-based love as highly as romantic love and sexual attraction.

I was raised by immigrant parents who come from a culture where arranged marriages are the norm, and it didn't matter what religion you were. Arranged marriages were considered on very practical traits-- the type of family, the individuals involved, the potential benefits to the family alliances, etc. Arranged marriages are still common however, the people getting married have more of a say in what happens, but the pragmatism is still part of the process. I was raised with this pragmatism, so I personally would be okay with an arranged marriage that I could be involved in the process of, but I didn't get married that way. I was still very practical-- my husband and I had to share the same life goals, personal characteristics, values, etc. Was I in love? Of course! But I also realized that my endocrine system could only take me so far if there weren't practicalities involved. I was always told I was crazy because I had to have certain practical qualities fulfilled over romantic love, physical attributes, etc. Having LOTS of money wasn't as important to me as knowing how to manage one's finances well, knowing how to financially plan, etc.

It's true that money is a top reason for why divorces occur, but it's the mismanagement of money that is the driver behind divorces. Our culture heavily emphasizes perfection, and if it's not achieved caution gets thrown to the wind and people throw their hands into the air and decry failure. People are getting divorced because they don't put the work into their marriages, see marriage as playing house instead of a lifelong commitment where there are trials to overcome (and rewards of course), and many people lack the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to be in a successful marriage. It's not so much about maturity, but more so having the capacity to be willing to endure some sacrifices and be selfless for someone else.

What should couples do? They need to realize there there has to be a plan or some method involved to working through whatever issues come up. If one person has lots of debt, there needs to be a plan on how to get it paid off. If one person doesn't work a great job and doesn't make a lot of money, there needs to be a plan on how to save wisely so there won't be undue hardship when a baby arrives. Debt should not be considered joint until marriage, so there shouldn't be any "paying off fiance's debt" business until after marriage.


#8

I think you have a point. The number one reason people divorce in the US is because of money.


#9

It is the reason most people give for why their marriages fail, but its not money itself that is the reason. Its how people use money to self medicate their issues, their insecurities, their lack of trust in a marriage.

Jobs can be fleeting, good fortunes can disappear overnight. One shouldn’t marry someone because they currently have a good job or they have a healthy bank account. One should look at a potential spouse in how they handle the money, how they handle adversity. Bad times will happen in any relationship or marriage, how does the person you are interested in handle their problems?

I think my husband’s integrity and his views that hard work pay off was just as attractive to me as the way he looked, the way he laughed, the color of his eyes. I think the essence of a man is very sexy, his fundamental views and beliefs that won’t evaporate when life hands you a bowl of lemons. How my husband treated people, how he approached his school work and his commitments as an ROTC cadet were very, very attractive and very romantic to me.

But making a decision about a marriage partner based on their income level or job status, to me is just as shallow as being attracted to someone based solely on their looks.


#10

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