February 19, 2021

Is it Wrong to Marry for Money? {Advice Column}


~ This is part of a column: Up All Night: the Sex Talk you Need to Read. Head to the author’s page to follow along. Do you have a question? Email Kate here.


Q: Can someone marry for love and money?

A: Love and money?! Well, yes, please!

Listen, there are a lot of reasons people get married. To start a family. Arranged marriages. Tax breaks. Health insurance. Sex. For love, and yes, for money.

Is it wrong?

Is it honest? That’s what I care about.

But, if you are head over heels in love, is money even an important factor?

Yes, it really is.

Financial imbalance is a major factor in many breakups and divorces. Let’s face it, in a capitalist society, money too often means power. Unless you get your values aligned early on, financial discrepancies can really wreck your relationship.

Let’s talk about who pays for what. First of all, do you share expenses? If so, which expenses? Sure, groceries, cable, rent, these are easy to split. How about gift buying? For others and for each other? Do you share a bank account and give each other an “allowance?”

(But don’t have one person controlling the money and one person on an allowance. Talk about a setup for inequality and resentment!)

I’m not a financial expert, so I’ll leave it there. You can see, from just a few examples, how things can get quickly complicated!

More than anything, what matters most in the success of a relationship is shared values.

Agree, from the beginning, who plays what role. Is the agreement to provide equally (financially) for each other? Maybe one partner works and the other stays home and has primary care of the kids. These agreements have equal legitimacy. The point is that you both agree on who will fill what position in the relationship.

(The dynamics change in relationships consisting of more than two people, and I’m not going to tackle that today. It is suffice to say, value alignment is a basic requirement of all relationship structures.)

Marry who you want to. Marry for the reason you think best. Maybe that’s money, maybe it’s love, maybe it’s to secure two countries’ physical and political boundaries.

As far as marrying for love and money goes, as my mother said, “It’s a nice perk—if it works out that way.”


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