By the ripe old age of 23, I had effectively dated every doctor in the tri-state area. Why? Because my mother had convinced me that it was my destiny to marry a doctor– and why I believed her I’m still not completely sure- but I guess it was because I wanted to please her. My mother had married my dad at the age of 18, and I guess never felt completely at ease with the fact that neither one of them got their college degrees. SO she made it her mission to assure that each and every one of her kids would “marry” better.
Looking back now I realize how flawed and misguided her thinking was and how I wish she would’ve pushed me to attain a higher level of education, beyond my college degree, but I guess being of a different generation, where men brought home the bacon and women cooked it up- she must have believed my best bet at securing my financial future was to marry someone with money (as opposed to encouraging me to make my own). And as a young impressionable 18 year old, I so desperately wanted her seal of approval and so I specifically sought out suitors who would measure up to her version of what an ideal husband for me should be.
My mother convinced me marrying a medical doctor would guarantee me a life of luxury, and security, she scoffed at the D.O. (the osteopath I once dated, claiming he WASN’T a REAL M.D.) And for several years I dated with this singular mission. But here’s the thing about marrying someone who is established and has money– after all is said and done– that money is theirs and nothing in this world is free. Doctors are also a whole different breed of man– imagine going to school for another good ten years after college, having to work for so long to achieve that title- it’s takes a certain kind of personality to sustain that kind of pressure and singular focus. Still I kept my focus and I dated many doctors who wore their MD’s like badges of honor, drove expensive cars and were incredibly enamored with themselves and their titles and sense of power. Of course, those relationships never ended all that well. And then I met my husband, who was THE ANTI-DOCTOR. aka he’s like that Doctor in the Seinfeld episode who DOESN’T want anyone to know he’s a doctor.
Fast forward 13 years of marriage and here is ONE THING I KNOW FOR SURE. The success of any marriage is about communication and honesty. In my marriage my husband came into the relationship with far more than I did and I have always tried to be sensitive to that- and not assume anything-but I do have to admit that after all these years together our attitudes about money have come full circle and how our money is spent is a decision we make as a team. But I also truly believe that the issue of money is more about communication than the actual money itself. Learning to have honest discussions about what you need and what your partner needs TRICKLES down into every aspect of your marriage and relationship whether it comes to finances, your kids, your house and well- you get the gist… as I allude to in this Huffpost Live chat I took part in For Debtor Or For Worse.
There have been instances where issues surrounding money have nearly broken our marriage ( as it can wreak havoc on so many relationships) but I think what has sustained us is that through these issues of financial crisis we have always remained open and honest and have kept those lines of communication burning up (often times me more than him).
As I mention in the Huff Post live chat-two people will never enter a marriage completely on equal footing in regards to finances- and throughout the course of a relationship financial circumstances will ebb and flow- the important thing is to keep talking and sharing and remembering that money and how you handle it- and whose responsibility it is all comes down to how you talk to one another–it is NOT about the money itself–do you agree?