This is the second part to this post. The first is available here
It annoys me when someone drives up in a big car, and expects me to automatically equate that with “excellence”. Immediately the question arises – how did he get the money? Did he cheat, steal, lie to get it? Is he involved in a job that involves exploitation, directly or indirectly? Sometimes there will be a profession that is highly regarded, even within the (Black) church, for instance, that for me is devoid of integrity. I would prefer not to name examples, but from my cynical perspective to progress in these professions you essentially have to throw away your conscience. I have personally walked away quite firmly from many of these professions, and the financial opportunities they would bring. I want a husband who has similarly asked himself these hard questions, and opted for integrity (and continues to ask these questions, and continues to opt for integrity), even if it means not seeming to “make progress” as fast as his peers. This is the kind of husband I want, because this is the kind of wife he would get.
When I say “excellence”, this is what I mean. Excellence in character. Excellence in discipline. Excellence in pursuit of Christ-likeness. Christ loved the poor when He walked on earth. How can it be consistent with His character to work in an industry that exploits the poor? In fact, Jesus loved all people. God tells us to look after the earth. How can it be consistent with our faith to establish factories which pollute the drinking water of defenceless villagers in distant countries to satisfy our lust for unnecessary items? These are very broad examples, and sometimes arguments need to be explored in more detail. For instance, a company which does have polluting practices might also be establishing a “green” unit or policy – or an industry which is largely dirty might have a few “clean” businesses – so issues are rarely “black and white”. However, I want someone who thinks through these questions, rather than just dismissing them. I want someone who takes appropriate and laudable action, rather than just holding onto flimsy excuses.
These are some of the reasons why I would not reject someone because of his financial status – or lack of. If the reason that someone does not have a job, or is in a lower-paying job, is because of his commitment to ethical principles, then this is a good thing. This would be a good husband. This is not an excuse for laziness, and I hope no-one would try to use this to excuse their laziness. The way to evaluate this is as follows: Apart from the money thing, does he clearly strive for excellence in everything else? Does he pursue God wholeheartedly? Does he make it his business to know the Bible and live the Bible? Does Bible truth as well as plain common-sense, emanate from his mouth? Does he pursue integrity in everything else? These ethical issues need to be totally consistent with his character, with what he cultivates for himself.
Reasons to be wary of someone with money
I don’t want someone who is married to his job. If you make financial prosperity a central factor in your marital decision, and you get someone who is married to his job, then why would you expect him to suddenly stop being married to his job just because he has also married you? After all, his job is his first wife – why would he leave her because of you?! In practice, this is what this looks like. When you are dating, he lets his wallet do the talking. And why wouldn’t he? He wants to impress you! He showers you with costly gifts. He ticks all the boxes several times over. And yet, many women happily go ahead and get married, then suddenly expect this situation to metamorphose into a soul-mate thing. They expect Mr Husband to suddenly start coming home early from work – perhaps to take days off so that they would have lots of time together talking, holding hands, doing fun things, being best friends as well as passionate lovers. And yet, it took a certain dedication to his work to get to that financial level where you as a woman were completely won over by his ability to take care of you – will that dedication simply disappear overnight? One of my big nightmares about marriage is that all the romantic, cute things happen before marriage. I am studiously avoiding this possibility, not least because I really don’t believe in pre-marital dating, (otherwise I would not have romance either before or after the wedding!) I want the soul-mate thing, which is yet another reason why I am refusing to listen to anyone’s wallet before marriage, but I plan instead to listen to his mouth, his heart, his actions.
While there is nothing wrong with costly gifts for other women maybe, this is simply not the love language that I speak, I would much prefer someone who knows that his time, and his presence (and his hugs!) are much much more valuable to me not only before marriage, but also afterwards, and who is prepared to give me that time both before and after marriage. I would rather have a simpler lifestyle so I could spend more time with my husband and family. This is why I would much prefer it that any potential husband held back on the gifts and baubles and trinkets in trying to woo me. I would rather that he saved that money towards any future we might have together, than have to spend long hours working away to earn it, hours which we could otherwise be spending together. I am not saying that I am looking for someone cheap. I am looking for someone who like me invests in quality. It’s just that I put a far higher premium on his time than his money – it’s more valuable to me. Actually, the thought of being given expensive gifts by a suitor also makes me feel weird. I do not go out of my way to buy expensive things just because they are expensive, and the thought of someone doing this to try to impress me is silly, as I consider this a wasteful attitude towards money.
Finally, I want to have the same relationship with my husband no matter how much money we have – or don’t have. It’s like this. I am working very hard to be successful. If, and hopefully when, this success manifests itself I want to have the same attitude, talk about EXACTLY the same “down-to-earth” things with my husband, joke, laugh, remain approachable, listen to other people, be real etc – as before. Sometimes in observing couples I can’t help thinking that their financial status plays a very big part in the way they interact with themselves – almost like a third party to the marriage (or fourth after God). When I talk to my husband, I always want to talk to him – not to a multi-millionaire, or to a broke kid, but rather to my husband. This is the analogy that I like to use in my mind – if we had “everything” financially – then we lost it all – or we gave it all away – would we still be able to talk in the same way? Laugh, discuss about life, the universe etc? Or would it feel as if a crucial aspect of our relationship had been wiped away, and that we would not know how to relate with one another any longer?
So these are a few reasons why honestly, money is something I am very wary of concerning future husbands. I cannot speak for all women, but if you have been assuming otherwise, then at least concerning me, please adjust your assumptions! 😉
16 A gracious woman retains honor,
But ruthless men retain riches.
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul,
But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
18 The wicked man does deceptive work,
But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.
4 Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.
Photo of Wallet by Hans on Pixabay