Is it Wrong to Marry for Money?: Why Gold Digging Shouldn’t Get a Bad Rap

BY: - 27 Nov '12 | Marriage

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Years ago, I had a friend confess to me that she wasn’t looking for a soulmate in a husband. She dreamt of being a stay-at-home mom, home schooling her kids and traveling the world with them. While the rest of us in our 20s dreamt of finding one true love, she was looking for someone who would financially support the life she wanted to live.  Being in love, for her, was secondary.

In the words of Kanye West, I’m not saying she’s a gold digger….

But then again, what if she was?

These days, the term gold digger conjures up images of attention-seekers who would marry the Crypt-Keeper for a reality show and the latest Birkin bag.  Yet, until relatively recently in our history, marrying for money was far from a sin; it was the norm.

Up until the 20th Century, in many cultures marriage was more of a financial transaction than it was synonymous with love. Husbands were providers; wives were homemakers. Marriage provided a foundation on which to build and support families. Love was often a bonus.

With American women now able to financially support themselves without relying primarily on a husband for financial support, being in love isn’t just an option, it’s an expectation. But because society has turned away from the previous view of marriage, does it mean that those who still embrace it are wrong?

The traditional marriage vows include nothing about being “in love” with your partner, nor do the words “romance”, or “soul mate” appear. If the couple is committed to honoring their vows, I don’t know why acknowledging that financial stability, or even wealth, as part of the decision to marry is a problem.

Some say that the “wrongness” comes from the deception that often accompanies these types of arrangements. The belief is that the gold digger dupes her husband (or sometimes, his wife—men can be gold diggers too!) into believing that she is marrying for love. I wonder how often the deception truly exists. I’m not saying names, but to look at many of the wealthy athletes and entertainers model-esque wives, it has to have crossed these men’s minds that money may have been the teeniest little bit of a motivating factor in their wives’ decisions.

For me, I am blessed to have fallen head over heels and stayed there. I would choose love every time even if it meant forgoing some of the “finer” things and working a nine to five. But acknowledging that it isn’t something I would do doesn’t make it wrong, and I don’t believe that choosing a provider rather than a soulmate is always all bad.

What do you think? Is marrying for money wrong or does gold digging get a bad rap?

Follow Aja Jackson at Making Love in the Microwave on Facebook and Twitter.


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  • Superwife

    Sure – marrying for money is o.k. in theory, until the man with the money is your son, father, cousin, uncle….then reality kicks in and the realization that one person is using and taking advantage of another becomes crystal clear. And raising children within a loveless marriage – how will they learn what a true loving marriage is supposed to look like? And it is also wrong to assume the man is the one with all the cash – wealthy women can be sucked into this arrangement as well. It is wrong on so many levels…..I wouldn’t want my daughters or my sons in this situation. And with respect to how it used to be…well, it used to be that women couldn’t vote or work outside the home either – which explains why some married “up” to gain some small semblance of freedom from poverty and a life of harsh existence. Let’s not go backwards for a little cash, please.

  • Nita

    Great points @Superwife. The only thing I could add is as in all things, there needs to be a healthy balance. A man or woman may not contribute as much financially, but they may contribute significantly more in other areas of the relationship. I could not phathom being with a man I did not love and genuinely want to be with. It takes too much time and energy when you try to fake it.

  • Girlie Girl

    I see that cultural experience plays a role in how people view love & marriage. In our country we are trained to be obsessed with fairy tales ( the good ol’ Cinderella tale), whereas in most countries in Africa and Latin America, financial security is a priority (this not a secret or the plaque) and is typically why those men are usually hard workers (2 to 3 jobs at a time). They are raised to become providers ($$$) and protectors. In our country, especially in the black community, men with financial stability hold a negative connotation, which is where the term gold digger was born (I only hear this from black folks). Money is a bad word for black people and that, my friend, is a bad thing.

    It is always wrong and selfish for anyone to marry someone for the sole purpose of money– or religion, ethnicity, race, etc. However, I think we need to do a better job in teaching our children how to become quality mates and how seek quality mates. Successful relationships require giving and taking. Relationships that work are more complex than love and money but it does require both to work. Gold digging, in my opinion, is people deceive others for selfish gains but certainly should not be used to further celebrate the laziness and lack of personal responsibility that has somehow taken over our community. Men love physically attractive women and attractive women love men who can take good care of them. If a woman is willing to GIVE love, support and commitment to a man, she has every right to desire a man who will GIVE her exactly what she wants. And if it is financial security, nothing is wrong that.

    just my opinion

    • 76ski97x

      I really like your comment very intelligent.

    • Anonymous

      Great comment!!!

  • Mary

    I married a guy with nothing but great character. Now we have money because of living with no debt and with integrity. I stayed home and home schooled when we had not much money. Live with character and money will follow.

  • Tawana

    After not marrying for money, I would agree that it’s not a bad thing to marry for money. After all love don’t pay no bills. It is nice when you love the person and they just happen to have money.

  • BrothaTech

    In the end, I think you should search for somebody who compliments you. If you’re financially secure, you should find somebody equally secure. If you can’t rub two nickels together, look at it as an opportunity to build something awesome with another brokey.

    Ultimately, you shouldn’t expect somebody to provide a life for you that you can’t provide for yourself.

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