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Marry for Money or Love

One of my best friends in high school married a man 40 years her senior. She was 25, a college graduate and good-looking. He was retired, divorced and moneyed.

Another friend married a classmate. The lovebirds had to elope twice before their parents consented to get them married. Both were 18 and college dropouts.

My first friend has been living in Texas happily, I presume - together with her husband and their two children for the last 20 years. My other friend got separated from her husband after 12 years of marriage and three children.

In a recent class discussion on the subject of love versus financial security in marriage, nobody among my fourth year high school students had wanted to bat for financial security.

“Love gives security,” one of the girls said. “When you are in love you feel secure.” “How can you make love when you don't love?” another girl asked. “I'd die if I were forced to marry someone I didn't love,” remarked another girl. “A man who truly loves will provide for his wife and children,” one of the boys said.

Everyone of them 110 16- to 17-year-olds thought that love was the greatest thing on earth.

And so did I. “Love with your head, but don't marry a man for his money,” I said as a conclusion.

Even my first friend had thought so. Maybe she still thinks so. Young people, girls especially, like the joke about wishing to be married to an old dying rich man but very few will actually, seriously consider it when faced with the prospect.

Sometime ago a 48-year-old Bolivian divorce, who was living in California as an immigrant, came to our school looking for a brand-new wife. He took a good look at our display of single lady teachers and decided that he liked Beth, our 26-year-old cashier. His proposal came in a rather attractive package: a fat bank account and an opportunity to live in the United States! Beth flatly refused him. Not because she wasn't interested in going to the “promised land,” and not because she was making enough money and didn't care about dollars, but because she didn't love him, couldn't possibly love him - period!

Even in this age of mail-to-order brides, love is still a very important commodity to the young; and they will often love to the point of self-destruction. Unless left without a choice they will marry for no other consideration but love their definition of love: walking on air, birds suddenly appearing, hearts going pitter-patter, and a pleasant ache in the chest. They marry for these reasons and are shocked to find out after the honeymoon that they had plummeted back to earth. The birds are gone, their hearts no longer go pitter-patter, and what had been a pleasant ache in the chest has become rather irritating.

My first friend didn't love her husband when she married him; she has grown to love him. My second friend and her husband were head over heels in love. That's why they got married. Both have fallen out of love for each other and in for other loves.

So - marriages between classmates are bound to fail and marriages between young girls and rich retirees are bound to succeed? Wrong. Then - marriages contracted in the name of love are bound to fail and marriages contracted for other reasons are bound to succeed? Wrong again. Marriages contracted in the name of love between classmates, and marriages contracted for other reasons between young girls and rich retirees have equal chances of success as well as failure.

The distinction between failure and success in marriage relies in part in the individual partner's meaning of love. If you fall in love, you are probably going to get up and realize that you have created a mistake. But if you grow in love, your union will grow so deeply ingrained that it will exist thru the trials of even a strong marital tremble.

Another factor that could spell the difference is the attitude each partner takes towards the relationship. If you enter a relationship expecting it to work for you, you are in for a disappointment. All marriages, regardless of brand or model, are not automatic, not self-adjusting or self-regulating; they are hand-operated. Both partners have to work hard, especially at the beginning, to make their marriage work. They will need to do a lot of tightening as well as loosening to get it going. They will also need to do some constant tightening as well as loosening to keep it going.

Adjustment problems are common to all marriages whether contracted in the name of love or for other reasons. Some couples do not give their marriages a chance. Besieged by adjustment problems they think that they have made a mistake, execute an about-face and walk away. They run away from the relationship as fast as they had plunged into it.

Marital adjustment is a task that will last all your life. It is impossible to have perfect marriages for the reason that there are no perfect man and woman. But two imperfect human beings can develop joyfully adjusted to one another so that they can relish the marriage relationship as God had planned and as long as the married couple shall live.

Marry for money? Never. Marry for love? But of course!

If you have created the error of falling in love with your spouse, do not get up. Instead, grow up!

Society | Relationships


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