When My Bank Account Dictates My Love Life
“When will you pursue her?” I usually ask my male friends. “Not now. I’ll focus on my studies first,” they usually answer, since we were still in college. Their answer seems sound.
Now that most of them are done with their studies, they answer the same question with: “Not now. I have to work first.”
I understand what they meant. I once shared their perspective. However, this made me think. I now ask myself: Is financial stability a crucial factor to consider before entering a relationship with a woman?
But before I attempt to answer the question, I will share some experiences first, so that you’ll have an idea where I am coming from.
Since I entered the youth ministry, I was trained to think that before entering into an exclusive relationship with a woman, I must first be prepared spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and financially. It makes sense to me, at least at the start. So I always thought that I wouldn’t court a girl unless I’m financially stable. So when I counsel others regarding relationships, I normally ask, “Are you prepared financially?” And when people ask me why I still don’t have a girlfriend, I reply, “I’m not financially stable yet.”
Then sometimes I bump into conversations with friends about wedding expenses. I usually debate with them with regards to the overall pricing of the wedding. Some of them claim that one must prepare at least a million for that special day (I wonder if it’s still considered special given one has to spend a million for just a single day). Another will be willing to spend more than P5 million (I think that’s crazy!). And while I want to keep my wedding day simple and low-cost, I’m tempted to increase my allowance for it, even up to a million pesos. I can’t help but reflect and ask, “Where will I get that amount of money?”
Also, there are lots of times I talk with my friends about their experiences with courtship and relationships. I remember a male friend telling me that a bank account with a decent amount of money is a plus towards a woman’s parents, especially the father. Honestly, this adds pressure to me.
So do you get where I am coming from? I was trained to think that financial stability is a must before courting a woman, was conditioned to think that I must spend extravagantly for my wedding day, and was pressured to have a good savings to please the parents of the girl. Let me add that my family isn’t really doing well, financially speaking, and as the eldest among the children and with a mom who is a widow, I must provide for them. Oh, the pressures!
I hate to admit this, but my financial situation and mental pre-conditioning will really hinder me from making a significant progress in my love life. It seems that my love life is enslaved to my financial standing. In other words, my bank account dictates my love life.
Financial Stability: A Measure of Marital Readiness?
Now, let’s answer the question. I bumped into a blog entitled How Do I Know if I’m Ready to Marry? by Glenn Stanton. He gives four factors to consider in assessing one’s readiness for marriage. But none of the four says something about financial stability. He writes:
Notice I’ve not said anything about completing college, establishing a career, saving a wad of money, buying a house or being able to afford a killer wedding. Far more people through the ages have married without any of these — and been wildly successful — than married with them. That is because they have nothing to do with whether or not you are ready for marriage. If not being able to have a big wedding is keeping you from marrying your beloved, you should ask if your dream wedding is more important than being one with this person. There is no connection whatsoever between a big to-do wedding and a happy, successful marriage.
I believe he’s right. Career, savings, and an expensive wedding have nothing to do with one’s preparedness for marriage. He adds:
The other things — college, career, savings, house — these just might make the process of marrying and starting a family easier, but they are not essential to marriage.
That’s it! Stanton just answered the question for us. Financial stability isn’t a crucial factor to consider before entering a relationship with a woman. It could lift a lot of burden in marrying and even starting a family, “but they are not essential to marriage.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in any way saying that one must cease to strive for financial stability before courting or marrying. My goal is to achieve stability as well. What I’m pointing out is that one must not be hindered by his financial situation in courting or marrying. Or: Someone’s bank account must not dictate his love life.
Though financial stability is a goal that is worthy to achieve, it shouldn’t be a primary consideration. It is just secondary. Maturity in spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational aspects still deserves the primary attention before entering a relationship.
What Matters is Commitment
Now, let me mention something briefly: Commitment matters! Imagine with me for a while. Think of a child who wants the latest robot toy in the store. However, it’s so expensive. But he was determined to have it. He was committed to get it by all means. So he gathers his money and puts them into his piggy bank. Also, he endures hunger just to save. And he does well in school, exerting effort that deserves the rewards of his parents. His commitment drives him to save enough money so he could buy the robot.
I believe it’s the same when one commits to pursue a woman. Even when someone isn’t financially stable yet, or doesn’t have a job yet, but is committed to pursue a woman, it follows that he will all the more strive for financial stability or land a decent job. Commitment is a great driver!
Finding the Right Woman
As I end, I want to make a further reflection. In my blog I Love the Ministry and She Must as Well, I mentioned that l desire to be a pastor. Realistically speaking, a pastor doesn’t earn as much as someone in the corporate world does (I know some of you are clever and would say that a pastor’s employer is God. True. But let’s be practical for now).
If the Lord makes me a pastor someday, then it follows that I won’t be earning as much as others do. Admittedly, this adds another pressure to me. How can I please the woman I adore if I’m not earning much and couldn’t give her the lifestyle that she so desires once we get married?
Thankfully, I ran into another blog. This time, it’s from Mark Driscoll. In his blog Finance before Romance? he writes:
If you meet a woman who will not be satisfied with the level of income and lifestyle that you can provide, then she’s probably not the woman for you. Since it’s your responsibility to provide for the material and financial needs of your family (1 Timothy 5:8), life is much easier when you’re married to a woman who is content with the lifestyle you are able to provide.
If you work hard, give generously, invest smartly, and save prudently, you shouldn’t feel guilty for not making the big bucks. You want a wife who appreciates how you can provide rather than one who is continually dissatisfied with what you provide.
Driscoll’s words are comforting. I must simply look for a woman “who appreciates how [I] can provide.” Thank you, Pastor Mark.
Rather than concerning myself of how I can please the woman with my financial stability, I must “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” God will take care of my finances, even as a pastor, for “all these things will be added to [me]” (Matthew 6:33).
I must live by faith on matter of finances. I don’t want to be rebuked by Jesus, “O you of little faith?” (v.30).
Once again, let me say: Do not let your bank account dictate your love life.
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