Money and Marriage

Although money isn’t evil, the love of money is. I’ve interpreted the bible verse as a warning: don’t work too hard, don’t hoard money when others are in need, and don’t cherish your bank account above all else. But “money” is in the top three causes for divorce with “kids” and “sex” the other two.

 I am often asked a question by my blog readers, “I’m a 55’ish professional woman and live comfortably on my income and the money I’ve saved. I just met a man who is recently divorced, renting an apartment, owes alimony and child support and doesn’t have any “assets” other than his car and clothes. He has a good job and I’m interested in him, but I’m concerned that we are “unequally yoked” in the money department. Should I consider a romantic relationship with him, or avoid getting involved?”

The question is more basic: “Is it mercenary to look at a credit score when dating?”

I’m not an advice columnist, but I do have some personal experiences to share.  

My second husband was in the same situation when we met. He’d been divorced for 3 years, didn’t own his own home and was paying alimony and child support. He made more money than I did at his job, but I owned a house and was otherwise debt-free. We’d been dating awhile when he lost his job and was living off the small amount he’d saved. We got married (“to save on expenses”), and pooled our monetary resources. He finally found a lower-paying job after a year, and I was proud that we never missed a child support or private school tuition payment. We paid for colleges and a wedding even though we weren’t legally obligated. His ex-wife didn’t work and didn’t have the ability to help.

I believe that I was called to help him and his children financially and have no regrets.  But when we divorced after 13 years of marriage, I was the one who had to write a check to buy out the equity in the house and split our assets 50/50. It took me several years to recover financially from the divorce.

I recalled my story to a girlfriend who asked this past week, “I’ve met a man with a good job, but he owes years of alimony and child support. Should I not get involved?”

Another friend chimed in, “It’s not about who pays for what, but whether God has called you to share God’s kingdom together and help each other in your ministries.”

Well, that sounds like great advice, but by the time we reach 50, we’ve established patterns of failure or success, and whether we are good or bad stewards of God’s resources, including money, time and talent.

Do you have advice for this real world dilemma?  What does a 50-60’ish man or woman do who has worked all their life and lives comfortably financially, but then is attracted to someone with no assets and significant legal financial obligations?

Please share this post and your advice on my blog, or my social media sites. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.