Seeing the blogs still abuzz about the Porsha and Kordell Stewart divorce prompted me to reflect once more on money and marriage. The trajectory of their divorce is one we see often with high profile divorces. Many women and men upon marrying someone of substantial means think they have attained “forever-after” courtesy of their wealthy knight in shinning armor.
I think that in marriage the last person you’d need to be worried about is yourself, simply because you would be your spouse’s biggest priority and they yours. Based on situations that I’ve observed, I need to reshape my thoughts. Now, it seems not looking out for yourself is a cardinal sin of marriage. Seems counterintuitive to the principles of marriage, doesn’t it?
Consider the countless people who’ve allowed the promise of, ”what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine” to cloud their better judgment. The prospect of falling in love with the person of their dreams, building a life together, and ultimately forging onward in happiness, stands in the way of a very real reality—Love is not enough.
No matter how attractive your significant others resources seem it is prudent that you keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.. How many times have we seen someone find them-self in a world of trouble because they entrusted someone with their entire financial livelihood?
Its been established time and again that, what often starts as a fairytale lifestyle can, and often does, turn into a complete nightmare. And, often these nightmares are practically impossible to awake from. As it pertains to women, there seems to be a school of thought that a woman should not maintain a certain measure of independence within the context of a marriage.
Commitment is and should be as much about selflessness as it is common sense. Nowadays, in this age of impermanence, common sense dictates that each party in a relationship protect their own current and future interests. Self-earned, self-managed income is your best friend. A productive successful partnership is founded on mutual investment in the relationship. Even if there is a great disparity in incomes, the mere fact that you have some income does afford you some protection.
Granted, both parties contribute to a relationship in different capacities, but each person must have a degree of financial autonomy. This is the only way to ensure both parties have a voice as well as some semblance of stability long-term, no matter how the relationship plays out. This comes down to the really simple but critical logos of controlling your own destiny and holding steadfast to your peace of mind. Money by itself does not give you peace of mind, but peace of mind is also impossible in its absence.
Too often, well-intentioned people enter into lopsided relationships with others who use their money as leverage to control, manipulate, and in the worst cases, destroy the happiness of the person they claim to love. This is by no means what love looks like, nor is it what love is. Do not get married or enter into a relationship without a plan to support yourself. If you make your own money and build a nest-egg for yourself, you may never need it, but your chances of being blind sided will be far less.
No-one wants to think of relationships turning ugly while entrenched in the depths of love, but the likelihood of spending the next 30-plus years in wedded bliss is 50-50 at best. Don’t think the man who rode into town on a white horse would ever manipulate you and leave you desolate and penniless ? Think again.
The point isn’t to approach relationships pessimistically, but it is naïve to think the person you’ve entrusted with your heart is also the best person to advocate for your financial future during a time of conflict. It’s a bet that far too many people make and lose. As you embark on your love journey, I encourage you to do so fearlessly and wisely. Cover your bases, plan for the worst and hope for the best. A potential partner, who has a problem with that, might not have your best interest at heart.