I was looking for another post and this one came up. I fixed an appalling number of typos in it. It reminds me of the irritation I have about people who have decided they know what a marriage should be and that everyone’s marriage should fit in that box. It is especially irritating when people who have never been married think they are qualified to tell someone what a marriage should be. Anyway, enjoy a corrected version of my post dissecting a quote about marriage.
I saw the following quote on Facebook this weekend. It was directed at Christian couples on the topic of “becoming one”:
“Separate bank accounts, individual political views, clashing parenting styles, and private friends is not “becoming one.”
I am going to make an effort to coherently give my opinion on each of these areas.
Separate Bank Accounts: I have mixed feelings on this one. I can see how separate bank accounts could be both good and bad for a marriage. It could be good in a case where the only major difference you have is on how you spend your money. In a perfect world, you would just say you could compromise and come closer in your ideas of how to spend your joint money. This is not a perfect world and we are not perfect people. If a separate bank account can help a couple get along better and avoid major money arguments I think it would be a good thing. The bad side is that a separate bank account could lead to suspicion and distrust, especially if it comes later in the marriage. It could lead someone to think there are nefarious reasons why their partner suddenly wants a private bank account. I think the bank account thing has to be a couple-by-couple decision. One size does not fit all.
Individual political views: This is an odd one. Are you saying that one person has to change their political beliefs to make a marriage work? I don’t think “becoming one” means giving up your personal beliefs. Are you saying that you should never marry someone who has different political views than you? I can see this in extreme cases. If you are strongly anti-gun you probably shouldn’t marry a gun-owning NRA member. If you feel so strongly about an issue that disagreement would be a deal-breaker hopefully you know where the other person stands before you marry them. In general, though, individual political views are not a bad thing. Becoming one does not mean you become less of a person. You should still be able to have opinions and views that are different from your partner’s.
Clashing parenting styles: I can mostly agree with this one. You have to agree on how you are going to raise your kids. You can’t have one parent undermining the other when it comes to raising and disciplining your kids. Again, this is something that should have been discussed before marriage. It shouldn’t be a surprise if your partner is for or against spanking. Again, though, there are going to be differences. Even if you agree on the basics of how to parent, you each are going to do it a little bit differently than the other. Even if you become one, you are still not going to be robots. There will be differences. I agree that the overall parenting style should be similar, but it can’t be exact.
Private friends: Again, it depends on what they mean by private friends. If the private friends and people who your partner doesn’t know about and you are spending time with them without their knowledge that is likely a red flag. Why would you keep that from your partner unless you are hiding something? If your partner doesn’t want you to ever meet their work friends, but they are going out with them regularly, there might be a reason for concern. If you’ve met these friends and your partner is going out with them alone because you don’t want to go, that is a different story. I think it is healthier to have some couple friends instead of each person having their individual friends. I have friends I spend time with regularly without my wife, but she has met all of them and knows when I am going out with them. This is normal behavior.
In general, I think it is not a good idea to try to fit each couple into a standard box. Everyone is different and every couple is different and what works for one won’t work for another. Also, unfortunately, there are churches out there that think women are not equal to men and a lot of this is a way to make sure they are kept in their place. Your marriage should be patterned in a way that works for both of you.