The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- How many marriages break up because of financial issues?
Financial issues are probably the leading cause of divorce. Money is never just about money; it is often also about ego and power.
Couples deciding whether or not to take a trip down the aisle must decide whether they really are in the marriage for the long run and "for richer or poorer."
Q: I'm a young woman working in finance and feel pretty secure in my position. My boyfriend, who has a similar position with another firm, does not feel as secure. Here is the problem: I know he has been thinking of proposing to me. However, I feel very certain that our present circumstance is threatening to delay him. He currently makes a little more than I do, but if he loses his job, that would obviously change things. I think this scares him, and he is worried what this would do to the relationship. I don't want him to do anything he is not comfortable with. That being said, how do I encourage him to feel confident in taking the next step?
First pose some uncomfortable internal gender role questions to yourself:
How would you feel temporarily financially supporting your fiancé-to-be?
Would you resent him?
Would you still be physically attracted to him?
Be honest with yourself. There are no wrong answers and no "politically correct" way you must think.
Now on to your question -- How do you encourage him to move forward with a proposal within the context of his financial fears?
Here are some ideas:
1. Create an open dialogue with him. Reveal the "financial elephant in the room."
2. Address his fears about being fired. Validate them as being completely rational.
3. Smart men marry women who make them feel safe. Tell him your love is unconditional.
4. Naturally, he feels competitive with you. You are both in the world of finance and are by nature "competitors." Make sure he understands that although you work in the same "world," it does not define your relationship.
5. Remind him of the physical and character attributes that you find attractive. Men love to be complimented -- they often just pretend not to care.
6. Explain to him that he is many things, not just a worker bee: a lover, a friend, maybe a sibling or son, a member of the community, etc. Show him that these roles are just as valuable to you as him being a provider.
7. Mention that one day, you could also be fearful of losing a job and you know he would be there for you.
He needs your help to boost his confidence. This will require a little hand-holding.
An everlasting loving union is sustained by mutual respect, strong interpersonal communication skills, physical and mental attraction, shared interests, familial bonds, spiritual commonalities, etc.
As my favorite playwright of all time, Henrik Ibsen said:
"Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness."
If you are really in love with him and want him -- now and forever -- rip the "money-talk band-aid" off and have an honest discussion. And if it's meant to be, let the joy of your life begin.
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