So many good answers, and I agree with all of them so far.
My husband and I have been married for 32 years, and we dated for 6 years before we got married.
I would say that something that really helps keep a marriage healthy is when at least one of the spouses is able to earn an adequate living.
I know that some couples have marriages that survive and even thrive under constant grinding poverty, overdue bills, bad credit, living in a hovel, not having a car or owning a lemon that is held together with duct tape and Elmer’s glue, never having enough money to even go to McDonalds, being on food stamps and other public aid–
–but many many marriages crack under this kind of life. It’s really really hard to be poor in the U.S.
So I would say to make SURE that at least one spouse is fairly certain to be able to land a good job and keep that job and support the other spouse plus children with that job.
I realize that there is no one who is completely safe in their job; even nurses get let go at times depending on how the hospital or clinic is doing.
But there are certain careers, professions, and trades that are fairly safe and usually have a lot of openings and pay a fairly good wage. Almost any of the health careers are in this group at this time in history, and probably will be for many years.
(If the President’s health care plan remains in effect, then there may some changes and I’m not sure what those will be. The problem is that health care is already short-staffed, and when we add 150 million people to the roster of insured, who on earth is going to take care of all those people?!!! I predict that we will have to hire people with less “education,” e.g., high school graduates, and these people will be paid less than their peers with a higher education. But I think they’ll still be paid well.)
My brother is a welder at a scrap metal factory, and he works double shifts (8 hours of time and a half!) because there is so much work and so few certified welders. Good trade, and he doesn’t have to join a gym to stay in shape.
And there are certain professions and trades that are very risky and don’t pay squat unless you’re really lucky. E.g., writers and actors. Not good careers to make an adequate wage.
It sounds mercenary . So many of the love songs imply that a couple can live on love and that they don’t need filthy money. Well, maybe, but my husband and I need enough filthy money to buy groceries, pay our mortgage on a modest home, keep our cars running well, and make sure we are adequately insured. Plus we spend a whole chunk of money on figure skating!