Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Marital Economics in ONE Lesson

In a recent article, Chuck Colson wrote, “You have to give the girl credit for honesty — if nothing else. On a website called Craig’s List, a young woman wrote: “I’m a spectacularly beautiful 25-year-old girl. I’m articulate and classy. I’m looking to [marry] a guy who makes at least half a million a year. Where do you single rich men hang out?”

“She also wanted to know how men decided between “marriage versus just a girlfriend. I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY,” she said.

“In response, a man who claimed to meet her financial requirements said that from his perspective, her offer was a lousy business deal. “What you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party, and I bring my money,” he wrote. “But here’s the rub: Your looks will fade and my money will continue to grow. So in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset.” (Ouch!)

“This is why," the man explained, “It doesn’t make good business sense to ‘buy you’ (which is what you’re asking), so I’d rather lease. So a deal that makes sense [to me] is dating, not marriage. If you want to enter into some sort of lease [agreement],” he finished up, “let me know.”

“Well, that was pretty harsh! But plenty of readers thought she deserved it. She was turning marriage into an economic transaction — reducing what should be a sacred relationship into nothing more than a contract — and that’s a dangerous mistake.”

In the article Colson goes on to lament that the “contractual language” in Marriage can undermine the sense of open sacrifice and the freely giving of one’s self.

That’s fine, but its also true that a Marriage is indeed a contractual agreement. One in which the terms, what each member is expected to bring to the table is changing along with the social roles of men and women. What this woman offered was, as the responding man noted, a rather poor deal for the current era. It amounted to pretty much a lose-lose for any would-be suitor for this woman.

In any kind of arrangement today, it’s best for both parties to bring something substantial to the table.

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