PerkStreet: State of the Union – The Royal Wedding and Love and Marriage
As Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange wedding vows this Friday (6 am ET, 3 am PT for those planning to tune in…), it will mark the climax of the incessant media frenzy that has surrounded the event since the two announced their engagement last November. While royal weddings have always generated a good deal of fanfare and hoopla, in the past they tended to be more merger than marriage. As any history buff (or frequent watcher of historical dramas like The Tudors or The Borgias) might tell you, royal marriages were often arrangements to forge alliances, augment political power and/or increase material assets.
Unlike Will and Kate, they seldom had anything to do with love. And as with Prince William and his soon-to-be bride Kate, research shows most Americans don’t get married for material concerns, either.
…or if they do, at least they’re not admitting it. This week, the widely regarded Pew Research Center released some new analysis of a research report published at the end of last year. The new breakdown reveals that love, companionship and having kids are much more important than financial security to modern Americans considering marriage.
Pew Research conducted a massive examination of marriage in America, which they released last November — but new analysis posted to their Databank blog demonstrates that Americans value love over money when considering marriage.
“To hear the public tell it, financial security isn’t all that important to marriage,” note the authors of Databank. “Asked to evaluate the reasons they got married, married respondents place the greatest value on love (93% say this is a very important reason), followed by making a lifelong commitment (87%), companionship (81%), having children (59%), and, at the bottom of the list, financial stability (31%).”
Unmarried survey participants also ranked these reasons in the same order.
If financial stability is no longer a main reason for marriage, being honest with your potential partner about your financial situation should be a little easier — especially if you’re in serious debt. Anyway, your debt may not be that unusual. In America today, some 37% of people owe more than $10,000 in debt.
We all know that money is a significant point of contention for many married couples, but talking openly about your money from the get-go is one way to make sure there are no surprise hard feelings down the road. If you’re just entering a serious relationship, do not set yourself up for a disaster by putting off the fact that you have poor credit, a mountain of debt or another financial problem weighing down your ability to be a true partner in the game of life. If your significant other is truly in love with you, this may not matter. It could even bring you closer if it becomes something the two of you can tackle together.
By the same token, hiding money you do have from your spouse or significant other is another way to vault your relationship into immediate strain. At its base, a solid relationship is built on trust and honesty. Hoarding money your significant other is unaware of or taking a portion of your income and spending it on something for yourself is sneaky and outright dishonest. In the United States, there are laws to prevent your spouse from being forced to testify against you. So even in the event of a criminal investigation, the government respects your right to talk openly with your spouse. Take advantage of that right and keep your relationship in good standing by being open about money always.
Anyway, hiding debt or money from your significant other shouldn’t really be a priority. Let’s not forget that for generations, financial stability was a major factor in considering marriage. Working together as a cohesive financial unit can make both of you more economically efficient.
If you’re like most Americans, love is much more important to your relationship than money is. (This very data supports that fact.) So remember to always put your love for your significant other first. In the end, you’ll both end up feeling more prosperous as a result, because you’ll have something that money can never buy: Love.
Kyle Psaty is the editor of the PerkStreet Blog, which offers daily tips and tricks for saving money and budgeting better. His company, PerkStreet Financial, is committed to fixing banking one customer at a time with products like their Unlimited 2% Cash Back Debit Card!