for love or money

In my musings by Antwuan Malone2 Comments

for love or money

since when did marriage become a business deal

 

this post may get me into some trouble. but, hey.  what’s life without a little risk.  so here goes.

i bet you think i’m in it for the money.

it, being, my relationship with my girlfriend.  most of you who are reading this don’t know me or lisa.  some of you only know lisa (and you think you know me). so you must be asking… why are you accusing me?

well let’s catch you up. I drive a ’97 honda accord (with a smirk dent on the side above the wheel), and i have three children. my girlfriend, lisa, is slightly older than me, drives a much nicer car, and has one child. she is, of course, absolutely adorable, and I… well, I’m just me.

now. you’re all caught up. because that’s  just about all everyone else knows too!

from those meager details, most people would surmise i am in the relationship for the money. if you’re honest with yourself, the thought has probably crossed (or is crossing) your mind too. in fact, in a rather awkward game of family feud at my sister’s house on this past 4th of july, the DVD game posed the teams the question, “what is the reason most men date older women?”

survey says! (talk about awkward)

now, i’m not naive. i realize that for many, money is quite the motivator for love and relationships (well, maybe not love). i’ll even grant that the family feud stat is probably correct in saying money is the top reason fellas date older.

but that doesn’t take away the sting. when you find someone you love, you want those closest to you to celebrate it with you. to see that you are happy, and to be happy with you, for you.  and yet, i fear that lisa, if not now, will at some point miss out on sharing how great our relationship is. because, for some reason, marriage has become a business deal. it may be that those closest to her — her friends and loved ones– don’t see me as good for her… as worthy of her. and that’s a shame. because it’s proof that despite our understanding of Jesus and his relationship to the church as his bride, marriage and the relationship it’s meant to celebrate often boils down to who makes the most money. to, who’s going to “take care” of who. like the american church, marriage has become a caricature of what God intended it to be because it has overprioritized mone, and financial comfort. in fact, some marriages barely qualify as a loving relationship because of it.  roommates with cars, credit cars and children — that’s the picture of many an american “marriage” (along with the periodic “benefit”.)

if i can be flat honest here, let me just say that i am sick of the sideways glances i receive from so-called christians who have already decided that i don’t earn enough money to love who i love.  if i can indulge this very rare moment of emotional fidelity, i’d go on to say that it’s frustrating that you, whomever you may be, have passed a judgment on my character and abilities as a future husband based on the car i drive, the clothes i wear, or the money (or lack thereof) you figure i have in my bank account.

if you know anything about me, you know that i rarely respond to what i hear. because most people play nice enough in the sandbox. they smile, they state their cordials, and they go about their way. but what they don’t realize is, in between the fake smiles and disingenious politeness (a politeness that is a lie) traces of truth can be seen. they don’t realize that i’ve seen fake smiles and shallow polite talk all my life, and that i sniff that out like a hound on the hunt. yes, i know you disapprove, and i don’t need anyone to tell me.

lisa will probably call me as soon as this is posted. she will have no idea where this has come from. and frankly, i won’t be able to tell her. all i’ll be able to say to her is that i was thinking about her and i today, and how much i love her. and i was thinking about the fact that we may have a chance to spend the rest of our lives together, and how great that would be. and i was thinking about, if we were to talk marriage, who she’d tell, and what opposition she’d meet. and grew sick at the thought the those oppositions would probably boil down to money.

in my eyes, lisa has so many reasons to run for the hills. i’m so glad she doesn’t. im so glad that we share a special something i’ve never felt before. no one knows how perfect she feels lying next to me. no one knows about how we spent an entire evening, holding on to each other because it felt too good to let go. no one sees how much her thoughts and feelings matter to me, how great it is to see her happy. how wrong it feels when she’s not there.

in the end, no one knows anything.  they just see a 97 honda, a shabby black guy, and his three children. and they assume i’m a shallow, opportunistic person, or that i simply am not good enough for someone with a luxury car and one kid. is that how we’ve come to judge couples. by cars and children?

fellow Christians, if no one else knows, we know that marriage is more than that. much, much more.

 

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Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.
2 comments
James
James

This is pretty funny. Up until fairly recently in history, marriages had a significant "business" component to them. Back in the days of arranged marriages, families tried to make the best match for the bride and groom based on a variety of factors including income. Of course, this was largely a matter of, could the young man support a family and the like. Only recently have we been expected to marry exclusively for love without considering income and material security (for better or for worse, in richer and in poorer). That doesn't mean historically that the bride was expected to leave her husband if he got laid off, but responsibilities and duties were more clearly defined between husband and wife. In Orthodox Jewish communities, a bride and groom still write and sign a ketubah outlining each person's marital duties (kind of like a pre-nup). As far as you and Lisa goes, she's the only one who really needs to know your motivation for being with her. If she's satisfied that you are with her because you love her, that's the most important thing. I don't mean to say that the opinions of others shouldn't bother you. Ideals aside, they almost always do. Bad attitudes are more bothersome when they come from Christians because we are supposed to live to a higher standard. Nice thought, but a lot of Christians don't put much effort into improving themselves and instead spend a lot of time telling others what they're doing wrong (Matthew 7:1-5), though I suppose I could also be accused of judging unfairly by saying this. Get married (I assume that's the goal of this relationship) and let time pass. Your lives will integrate, including your finances, and people will either deal with it or they won't.

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Thanks James... I have to be careful about these sort of emotional dumps. Then again, I suppose I need to practice what I preach when i say "candid" and talk about vulnerability and transparency. But you are right. She and I are the only ones that matter so that should be good enough.