Although money is not able to make a person truly happy, we must never underestimate the power invested in each of us to use money for enormous good in a world where much good is undoubtedly needed. While we are correct to believe that money can be a pivotal enabler of positive works, we should caution against the damage that money (or the misuse thereof) can cause, particularly in the sphere of human relationships. After decades of fighting for their rights and to be recognised as equal to men, why is it that there are so many women out there whose primary interest when searching for a suitable life partner is defined by the question, “But, is he rich?”
This particular blog may be deemed somewhat controversial but, in a world where too many blindly idolise money and material belongings to the detriment of meaningful human relationships, I do believe it’s not completely out of place. Of all the qualities that an intelligent, educated and independent woman should be looking for in her future husband or partner, his bank balance should most certainly not be one of them. (And you’ll be surprised how many women out there genuinely regard financial wealth as being a critical attribute!). Money, in and of itself, is far from being a worthy measure neither of character nor of a man’s honest intention to provide for his wife and family. Selecting financial wealth as a criterion for any possible future relationship is loaded with obvious danger. But, shallowness aside, prioritising a man’s wealth as a must-have attribute for a potential life partner does more damage that merely setting one up for future marital failure. Let’s have a look at some of the problems associated with this mentality.
- Firstly, it makes the overriding assumption that society believes the man should be the primary breadwinner and puts unnecessary pressure on men. The reality of our economic times and the cost of living is that most families survive by means of a joint income. Regardless of whether one or both partners generate an income, we cannot assume that the responsibility for financial wealth lies within the domain of men, to be supplemented by us as and when we feel the urge to work!
- Secondly, this archaic mentality undermines and diminishes the role of the many, many women who fought so hard for gender equality. Now, I’m by no means a feminist, but I do believe in the biblical truth that men and women are equal before the eyes of God. After decades of fighting for the right to be considered intellectually equal and worthy of income parity, why on earth are there still women out there who are anxious to hand back the baton of equality to men with a “not for me, thank you”?
- Another matter worth considering is the effect that this mentality has on the opposite sex and the role that it plays in robbing men of their confidence to provide adequately for their families. If we insist on holding financial wealth up as a sought-after criteria for partnership, we run the risk of not seeking a far more essential character ingredient – the desire that a man has to provide (possibly jointly) sufficiently for his wife and children. Money doesn’t last for ever and can be lost in swift movement of slot-machine arm. The enduring quality of a man who believes his role is to be a provider (or co-provider) is far more worthy of searching for.
- Seeking financial wealth in a potential partner can only serve to diminish the men’s self-belief that they can be worthy partners and providers. The intense focus on money reduces the importance that one should rather be placing on other criteria such as whether his career is an honourable and worthy one, his personal ambitions and goals, his ability to work hard and his commitment to his job or business. These are far more valuable and lasting qualities.
- If we accept the underlying truth that a husband and wife are equal (albeit different) partners in a marriage, then this mentality surely has no place in an equal partnership at all. Insisting that financial wealth is a compulsory characteristic adds a new dimension of inequality to a relationship that favours the woman and unduly pressurises the man. The result is a completely distorted view of what was intended to be an equal partnership.
- By creating inequality in the relationship, this attitude also serves to diminish the very nature of the relationship. Regardless of whether both partners earn an income, or whether it’s been agreed that one person should stay at home, the reality is that the relationship should consist of two people working together towards a common goal of providing for the home and family. Making monetary demands or having financial expectations beyond what ones partner is capable of earning can create enormous anxiety and stress within a relationship.
- Apart from the relational damage that this self-seeking mentality is capable of causing, women who seek financial wealth in their male partners are unwittingly setting themselves up for gender discrimination. They also run the risk of devaluing the reputations of the millions of hard-working, educated and intelligent women out there who know and understand the value of financial independence.
- Lastly, and I think this point is significant, this kind of behaviour only serves to confuse men in terms of how we, as women, wish to be treated. We cannot possibly insist on gender equality on all levels whilst at the same time demanding that excessive wealth be a cornerstone of any potential relationship. If we want to be treated and regarded as equals then we have an obligation to return the favour to men.
We have a responsibility to raise our daughters to be valuable, honourable and equal members of our society, and to teach them to recognise essential qualities that are worth seeking in a life partner. Instead of asking the inane and discriminatory question “Is he rich?”, perhaps some questions one should ask about a future partner are:
- Does he desire to be a good provider (or co-provider) for you, regardless of what his earning potential is?
- Does he value your intelligence, recognise you as his intellectual equal and respect your opinion, even it’s different to his?
- Does he recognise your qualifications as valuable, regardless of what you’ve chosen to study?
- Does he respect your personal ambitions, career dreams and goals?
- Does he believe in you and want you to succeed?
- Do you trust him financially?
- Does he value your income, regardless of what it is in relation to his?
- Does he honour your need to have some financial independence of your own?
- Does he value you as a joint-decision maker in the relationship?
- If he had no money at all, would he still make you happy?
Using money as a measure of character is a worthless and incalculable waste of time. Money is nothing but an inanimate commodity incapable giving, loving, feeling or caring. We need to teach our children to know and understand the value of true character, ambition, hard work, commitment, loyalty and honesty, and to put into practice the knowledge that all men and women are equal and deserve to be treated as such.
Have a blessed weekend!