A recent Atlanta Post article, Six Reasons He Won’t Marry You … Financially, on love and money provoked lots of comments from offended readers and sparked debate among the Black Enterprise editors about the importance of financial compatibility in a relationship.
The premise of the article is relevant and engaging: Yes, finances play a major role in a couple’s compatibility and relationship success, especially when it comes to marriage. But, in error, the author leads one to believe that someone–particularly women–should be financially fit just so a man will want to marry them, and that the burden of proving financial “fine-ness” lies solely on the woman.
Here’s one excerpt I read with a raised eyebrow:
… Five years later, you’re still here and unmarried. You’re [sic] good woman. You’d make a great wife…What’s wrong? It’s You. Often, the most beautiful and intelligent women miss the aisle because they lack financial ‘fine-ness’…Often, the commitment you seek is farther than the road you’re blocking from his financial freedom.
(Blocking a man from his road to financial freedom? Are you serious? Brother, give me a break.)
Building wealth and managing money is something you and your potential partner must do together. This writer’s take on the subject is very reactive, singular, and self-centered when it should be advocating proactivity, teamwork, and compromise.
Take this notion:
“… In order to survive and be successful, our self-confidence must always remain in tact… We’ll push you away if you make us feel smaller than our vision of ourselves. … Succeed; but never flaunt your financial prowess.”
(So, not only are women supposed to pat a mate on the back whether they’re successful or had a setback; we must also downplay our own successes or else get the boot?)
Let’s look at our priorities here. How about focusing on empowering ourselves, whether male or female, to build financially fit lifestyles, thus making it easier for us to focus on things that should complement–not supplement–one’s life, such as marriage?
On Blackenterprise.com, we regularly feature stories about relationships and money management (See Love & Money), and the common thread is this: two people working together toward a common goal with open and honest communication. If a person is in a serious relationship and has not talked about their financial history, spending habits, and outlook on money from the start– that’s the real problem.
Though healthy money management can contribute to relationship success (that is, if success to some, means marriage), it is only part of the full picture. A mate’s compatibility and so-called “worth” is far more than contributing to someone’s bottom line.
Let’s rethink our priorities and motives for the way in which we live, and stop using insulting finger-pointing and stereotypical assumptions. Let’s take the strategic steps in striving to improve and build a clear path toward wealth for life, thus leading to fulfillment in any partnership, whether it’s in career, entrepreneurship, business, or love.