When a friend of the family announced her engagement my mom remarked that the bride was ‘marrying well’. While I think ‘marrying well’ means different things to different people, (it would mean marrying someone extremely compatible to me), my mom meant that the bride was marrying a man from a very wealthy family.
As my mom and I talked about the engagement I began to wonder how many women still strive to marry a man with money. After all, in this day and age where a woman can make just as much, if not more than her husband, how important is it for the man to come from an affluent family or have a high income job?
As I was talking to my mom I realized that most of her friends and her friend’s children, (now young adults), have married men that earn much more than they do. In fact, many of the women quit their jobs immediately after getting married in order to stay at home and have children.
My mom says it’s not the amount of money that makes a difference in a marriage, but rather the ideas the husband and wife hold about how that money will be earned and spent. My mom didn’t marry for money, but like many of her friends she did want to marry a man who would be willing to support her while she stayed at home to care for her children.
My dad provided the means for my mom to stay at home with my brother and I, but he set ground rules for their finances. He told my mom he’d purchase a modest home, with a relatively small mortgage that would enable them to raise a family, but not live beyond their means. If my mom wanted to stay home with us she would have to spend mindfully and make certain not to extend their budget. My mom was more than happy to forgo shopping trips and other expenses for the pleasure of being a full time stay-at-home mom.
Of course, I think things are a little different now then they were when my mom was married in the early 70s. These days women can make more than then their husbands, less than their husbands or stay-at-home and not make any money at all. There are so many options available to women these days, but I do wonder if marrying for money remains one of the goals.
While women may not strive to marry a wealthy man, do they strive to marry a man that makes more than they do? Are the stereotypical, bread-winning roles of men important to women? If women want children do they want a man who makes enough money to provide them the option of staying-at-home?