So you know how people ask you not to marry down? Or maybe you have a friend who is dating someone they don’t quite feel ‘equal to’? Usually, it is about money, or class, or some vague social divide. Recently, I found myself thinking: Does ‘marrying down’ really matter? And does it pose a threat to the success of relationships and marriages? Like seriously, what does it even mean to marry down?!
I know it typically much means marrying someone who has a lower socioeconomic status than you. This can also apply when your partner’s thought process or mindset is not on the same level as yours or not as progressive as yours. Personally, I do not feel comfortable with the whole idea of ‘marrying down’ as people say. After all, marriage is not a status. However, I understand the importance of compatibility in your relationship. Especially when it comes to money. Money fights are said to be the second leading cause of divorce after infidelity. So again, it is not about marrying down per se, but ensuring that your partner shares similar life views as you.
Below are three angles to consider.
This thing called potential can be dicey because sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Your partner may not be where you would prefer financially and this happens. But are they working hard to improve that status and to grow? Are they ambitious, not by mouth but by their actions? Are they going for job interviews, networking, putting themselves out there? If they truly are, potential will eventually become reality. So, watch their actions. And yes, sometimes people need some encouragement here and there but you cannot be their main driving force while they make little to no effort. You will burn out and grow to resent them. Don’t use potential to overlook laziness, make sure their actions match their words.
When it comes to spending money, one person may be more disciplined than the other. In cases like this, it makes more sense for the less disciplined person to be fully accountable to their more disciplined partner. It’s generally easier if both of you are on the same page financially and have some sort of financial education. Does he or she know how to cut back on frivolities when it’s needed? Are their financial priorities the same as yours? These things are important and should be defined or discussed in detail and checked along the way, to avoid any surprises and so that you are both working towards the same goals.
Savings and Investments
This is where financial education and having similar mindsets is important. Some people feel investments are a waste of time and they’re always making excuses on why they can’t save, while some don’t have a clue on the opportunities out there. It’s really all about priorities. The ability to double down, cut back on excesses and do whatever else it takes to be able to put money aside, by way of investments or savings, for a rainy day or a future dream is a great quality to have in a partner. Delayed gratification is not that easy to come by these days, as we tend to want what we want and want it now. It takes wisdom to know that little drops really do eventually make a mighty ocean.
Money is not everything, yes, but money management is. So, it’s not really about having an Arab prince for a partner, it’s more about how you and your partner manage the resources you have and how you maximize them, making sure you are both on the same page in terms of your financial goals.