Earlier this week, I was called “marriage material.” Sure, I know I’m frickin’ amazing… but… who asked you?!
This stranger’s assessment was conveyed to me in a personal finance Facebook group of which I am a member. In the thread, the original poster (a woman) asked, “Is it possible to be financially independent and single? All the people that I know that are financially independent are married.”
I responded to the OP, saying: “I’m 35 and I started saving and investing late. In 2017, I healed from a surprise layoff and a short period of financial insecurity and saved aggressively to create the life that I wanted. I am now gainfully employed, happily single, never been married, and financially secure with zero debt, a 829 credit score, and a six-figure net worth.”
In short, ya’ll, I’m pretty proud of all the moves I took the past three years to be financially stable. I didn’t receive any inheritance or windfall, this was me, buckling down, putting aside a huge portion of my paycheck, hustling and renting out my house, and cutting back on extraneous spending and shopping.
Then some man I’ve never met replied to MY reply: “Hey Julie, you sound like marriage material.”
Internally: Cue the ‘Oh no he didn’t’ meme.
Externally, I politely replied: “I’m sure you mean well, but that isn’t a compliment nowadays. 🙃”
The damaging assumptions of the marriage material/wifey-material comment
If you’re very confused right now and thinking, why is that not a compliment? Ok, sure, it seems innocent on the surface. Even positive. But there’s meaning behind those words and they make several old fashioned, sexist, and damaging assumptions.
ONE – That women want to be married at all, or want anything other than our current circumstances. (Especially since I expressed in that very thread that I’m happily single / never been married.) Just a ‘lil sexist, pal. We don’t need a man to marry us to be happy and complete.
TWO – Marriage is not the be-all-end-all. If you’re not married, you’re not automatically aching or aspiring to be. Marriage is a choice that some of us choose NOT to make, or choose to END. UNMARRIED PEOPLE are not lacking in any way.
THREE – That any woman, to be accepted and wanted by a man, needs to have her own money and/or financial know-how. That she needs to “come to the table”… and offer or provide her husband something of financial tangibility. That her love and acceptance is not good enough.
FOUR – And subsequently, that the opposite of me: a woman who has debt, low credit, or a smaller bank account is NOT worthy of marriage? By the way, three years ago, I only had $1K in my checking account and I was receiving unemployment. So… are you saying then I was a 0, but now I’m a 10, and it’s ONLY because of the size of my wallet?!
FIVE – I know I’m an amazing catch for any worthy man (as are a multitude of other kick-ass single women out there). I know this — I don’t need external validation from anyone, especially some rando — I know my value, and it comes from within.
SIX – Being a wifey doesn’t mean a woman is automatically going to stay home, have babies, cook, clean or otherwise wait on her hubby hand and foot. It doesn’t mean she wants to. It doesn’t mean she should. She has a right to decide what’s right for her, and what’s right for the relationship, and hopefully her partner is under no illusions.
The bottom line? Don’t call a woman marriage material. Not one you don’t know. You’re only allowed to if you’re in love with her and pursuing a future with her and have had conversations about how life together will go.
As far as $$? I may be up right now, but I was down. And btw. We all know garbage people with a lot of money. And we know wonderful, generous, humble people with hardly any. Employment status and bank account balance do NOT make a person’s worth, value, or relationship-suitability.
Julie out. 🎤 drop.