Reasons for marriage can be as varied as the number of people wishing to get married. And yet there are two priorities which seem more common than others - romantic love and related feelings like affection, desire for companionship, sexual attraction as well as money and associated priorities like financial stability, a comfortable lifestyle and so on. So which one is ideal, love and money? And considering the popular concept of ‘money can’t buy me love’, should you marry for money at all?
The easiest way to go about the right answer to this question may be by considering what marriage entails in the first place, especially as opposed to a casual relationship like dating. Marriage is a way of declaring love and commitment to a partner in a way that grants the relationship social and legal validity. Unlike dating, marriage requires the spouses to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities to each other along with enjoying certain rights in the relationship. As soon as two individuals have responsibilities to a relationship, they must have the resources to fulfill those too. It is here that money becomes important since a husband and wife need a level of financial resources to function as a socio-legal unit – they must have enough money for essentials like food, clothes, housing, healthcare and comforts too. For this reason, a marriage which lacks financial resources to meet necessities and common comforts is bound to flounder.
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Then again, “man does not live by bread alone”. In these times, one cannot have a good quality of life if only the basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and healthcare are met. Human beings must have access to recreational facilities and avenues which nurture and thrill the soul as well. Theater, music concerts, travel and fine dining all these activities which are a staple of dating activities and romantic outings cost money. So if a marriage has to survive and indeed thrive, couples need to have enough money to spend on recreational and romantic activities.
Above all priorities in life differ. For some having a large family and living on a farm may be the ideal kind of life while others may wish to be able to afford the best that the world has to offer – large houses, luxury vacations, extensive domestic staff and expensive shopping. One choice is not necessarily more immoral or ‘bad’ than the other. So if you wish to live life king-size but are unable to do it on your own resources, it should be perfectly alright if you wish to marry someone who can help you live the way you want to. As long as you not breaking any law or doing anything illegal, you are free to marry who you choose to.
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And yet marrying for money only has its own share of problems. The most evident disadvantage of a marital relationship that works as a purely financial contract is that you will be appreciated merely for the market value of the qualities which you are bringing into the relationship. These are usually good looks, a sexy figure, an ability to please your partner in bed but sometimes also social skills or intellectual compatibility. Once you begin to lose your special touch, like in any other contractual agreement, you could find yourself thrown out of work or as in your case out of the marriage. Indeed it may be only a matter of time before you are replaced by someone who is more skillful or has to offer additional qualities in return of the same level of compensation. On the other hand a marriage which is based primarily on love is more likely to survive the ups and downs of life – usually a spouse is not in danger of being abandoned if he/she slips up on a marital duty or is indisposed for a time. Since it is mainly love which brought two people together, the source of attraction lies in each other’s presence and not in something external like money. Thus they are more likely to forgive and forget mistakes and get on with the business of living and loving.
Also a marriage based only on financial compulsions may lack qualities like mutual respect and affection that are crucial for any long term relationship to survive. If you are marrying only for money, you are in a way entering into an employee-employer relationship where you will be rendering some service and as compensation receiving a healthy allowance which in turn will help you live your dream life. In such an understanding, there is little space for empathy, selflessness or genuine affection which does not seek anything in return – the very qualities which motivate a person to enter into a committed formalized relationship like marriage instead of continuing with dating or a relationship of convenience like a man and his mistress. When both partners know that the only impetus for the marriage is money, they are unlikely to respect each other as life partners, at the most only as business partners. A marriage based on love on the other hand is what sets it apart from business and professional contracts – here you love, respect and trust the person for who he/she is and not what how much money they can pour into the relationship. It is precisely because purely contractual arrangements cannot meet all the demands, whether physical, emotional and social, of a couple that marriage as an institution has continues to survive instead of being taken over by live-in relationships and those of convenience like mistress/paid companion.
Then again if you want to live the good life, it is far better to acquire the skills which will help you earn more money and be able to afford luxuries rather than depend on someone else to buy them for you. When you marry for money you're going to be dependent on your spouse for the money and it's much better to have money and independence both instead by having a successful career.
As in most cases, it is finally the golden mean which offers the right answer. Just like love, respect and shared values are important to pull along together, so are financial comfort and stability. One is meaningless without the other and every marriage needs both emotional and material sustenance to become a success.