Money Reasons just posted an article on the Power of Spousal Teamwork that made me think of one of my favorite Babci quotes, but first a little backstory. For those who aren’t long time readers and haven’t read the stories of my mom’s crappy arranged marriage, I’ll summarize for you. My dad was an hot tempered alcoholic. He was verbally abusive (which doesn’t leave visible marks), smoked and gambled. He was out of work for months at a time and spent a good part of our family income on his various vices. Not only did he expect her to work 50 hours a week, but he did not lift a finger around the house to cook, clean or do laundry. He didn’t allow my mother to get her license as a sort of power thing over her. Sometimes as she was walking home from a hard day’s work and often with a bag of groceries in her hands, he’d drive by and not even stop to pick her up and take her home. Those kinds of random acts of cruelty were a regular occurrence in our lives and had a lasting impact.
When I got old enough to get married Babci never, ever pressured me to get married to produce grandchildren. Her biggest fear was that I would end up marrying a similar loser who’d make my life as miserable as hers. She literally prayed to god that I would not end up with someone like my father. She wrote her own happiness off in the hopes that I would be spared.
You can imagine, as a result, the advice she dispensed was not what you’d typically hear from a person. Here are my favorite Babci Lines about Marriage.
“I waited 40 years to get married and I still married a loser.”
“Don’t get married only to end up being someone’s personal slave.”
“It’s better to be alone and in control of your life than with someone who makes you miserable.”
and my most favorite of all, which I think goes well with how shared responsibility for personal finances should work in relationships is:
“It’s so much more efficient to have two mules pulling a cart forward instead of one mule pulling forward and the second mule pulling you in the opposite direction.”
For a long time, I thought I would never get married and have kids. I knew too many people from broken homes and even many of the couples that were still married were miserable. I thought I’d just skip that step and not succumb to the peer pressure of marriage.
Well, I know it’s old fashioned, but in the end I did decide I wanted to get married to someone. Luckily I’m married to that mule that is pulling the cart in much the same direction as I am, thank god. My mom is always talking about what a golden husband I have. He is awesome really, but admittedly, her bar is set very low. In the end, I really don’t know why I didn’t continue the same pattern that my mom did. I think some statistic somewhere say that my odds of following in the same pattern of abuse are pretty high.
So if you’re not married yet, take a good hard look at your significant other and figure out what kind of mule they are. Will they be pulling the cart with you, in the opposite direction, or will they jump in the cart and expect you to pull them along for the ride. Getting through life’s challenges can be tough and having a partner where you can work as a team is invaluable. Don’t be fooled in thinking that being in love is enough. When you’re the one who ends up doing everything to keep the house and your lives afloat, no amount of love will give you that kind of stamina. Plus, I’m sure you won’t feel very loved when the other person is wreaking havoc on your life and finances.
I’ll end with a saying that my godmother told me on marriage.
“Don’t try to find a person that’s perfect because you’ll always be disappointed. Don’t settle either, but do your best to find a person who has flaws you can live with.”
I’m afraid my family doesn’t have too many hopeless romantics. Do you have any favorite marriage quotes?