Why I Want My First Marriage To Be Money And My Second To Be For Love
"Sometimes, I think I’m just destined to be married twice... like Angelina Jolie or Alec Baldwin,” I said flippantly, over wine and Trader Joe’s dip.
My friends knew better than to bait me, lest they listen to more outlandish chatter. But I continued anyway:
“Think about Olivia Wilde. She married Tao Ruspoli when she was 19 years old, came out rich and famous, and is now in love, making happy funny babies with Jason Sudeikis.
Sounds pretty sweet to me,” I reasoned into a bite of carrot, prouder that I could swing a half-convincing argument to my friends than the actual argument itself.
“The Second Wives Club,” my girlfriend laughed.
With enough wine, anything can seem reasonable.
I’ve always taken a rather cynical view of love, preferring to side with the Miranda Hobbes’ and the Joan Rivers’ of the romantic world.
I usually assume he’s just not that into me; I too easily believe I will be cheated on and broken up with at any moment, and after one too many glasses of that wine, I’m starting to convince myself there is a practical approach to marriage.
According to The Atlantic, the mean age for a woman's first marriage is 27.
While this may seem older, especially in comparison to the mean age of 23 in the 90s, as an aspiring professional woman with higher achievement goals, this feels pretty young in context of long-term career paths.
And thus, if we’re viewing betrothal from an occupational standpoint, a first marriage is really just another job contract in which you stand to gain returns and dividends on your investment.
At 27, when our twenties are really starting to pay off, why not view marriage as a career?
I’m not suggesting this takes place in a vacuum; there is such a thing as true love and marrying for it instead.
But at 27, an age when we’re still developing and we don’t know what we want or are just starting out, perhaps it’s wiser to marry first strategically and then eventually again later, for everlasting love. The latter can change over time; the former is a sure thing.
Sometimes I really believe I’m being logical. I’ve watched way too many friends and family members end up burned by first marriages or left with nothing after devoting years of their lives to someone else.
Growing up in a Yiddish-loving household, I was familiarized with the term “knippel,” which means “knot” or a knotted handkerchief for a woman to store her money.
A woman must build and save her knippel, to ensure that she is taken care of if anything should happen to her relationship. In my future Jewish marriage, I wouldn’t care about cooking the kosher breast meat, I would make sure I had big knippels.
Marriage, in a sense, is kind of like your career. You stay late, put in the time and work and hope to get something out of it in the end.
You can quit anytime you want, but the longer you stay and the higher you climb, the harder it is to leave. If you’re going to f*ck around, do it while you’re young. Warning: You may fall in love with your job.
Perhaps we should take the same approach to marriage as we would any other business. Put in the dedication and commitment and achieve the long-term rewards.
Remain loyal and help steer the ship toward something greater. Reap the benefits young when you still have time to enjoy them. It doesn’t have to end badly if you know and believe in what you are doing.
Perhaps we should then marry for love when we’re both in good places. When we both can support our decisions from grown-up places and make financially-sound choices.
When we’ve both reached our more pressing goals. When we are ready and can financially build a family.
We’ve had that first marriage to teach us what it’s really all about -- what it really takes to make it work and what to expect.
We’ve had that first marriage to open our eyes to an adult relationship, to make the mistakes and to be better people for the next one.
It’s like having the lucrative -- but short-lived -- investment banking job and then moving on to finishing your passion piece.
“Goodluck finding a man who will be willing to agree to that,” snorted the Real One.
“They don’t call it a job hunt for nothing," I replied. "You have to train the right candidate."