The because the greater part of the population

The ethical dilemma of whether it
is acceptable to marry for money has been debated among people with conflicting
views through the ages. When discussing the issue, supporters of this argument
rely on logical reasoning, while adversaries depend on moral values. Whilst,
some people may consider it justifiable and others not, there is never a
correct answer to the question, but rather one’s opinion on it.

To understand the question that has
been put forward, one must know the answer to the following one; what does
marriage represent?  The meaning and
purpose of marriage have changed over time. In early history, money trumped
love as the motive, and marriage resembled a business arrangement with
obligations and responsibilities, excluding passion and intimacy. Beginning
from the 18th century, love began to grow in importance; however, the financial
position was still largely taken into consideration. Today, affection is the
main reason for marriage among many (“Marriage, a History”). When talking about
this issue, it is quite hard not to sound sexist, as the roles of men and women
in a union, through the ages, have been predetermined. Although, nowadays, conditions
are changing, the vast majority still live in families, where the men provide
for the family financially, and women are a mean of reproduction and emotional
support. It has always been the case, that those who did not follow the same
views and standards of the majority were considered abnormal and unacceptable
to the society. However, one must not “hop on the bandwagon,” meaning that one
must not follow a mainstream idea simply because the greater part of the
population does. This is not to say that love shouldn’t be the primary reason
for marriage and money ought to, but rather one must not use the majority’s
opinion as a basis for their decision-making.

In my opinion, it is not sensible
to consider money as the primary reason for marriage, but rather an affection
towards the partner and his or her virtues; although, it would be foolish to
marry without it.

In the past few years, many news
sources, such as CNN, The Nation, Psychology Today, and etc., are flooded with articles that argue
that marrying for money is not wrong, and on the contrary, is a good thing. In
2010, Forbes published an article, which included an extract from the book
“Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Are Getting Shafted by their Romantic
Expectations – And What They Can Do About It” by Elizabeth Ford and Daniela
Drake. The excerpt conveyed the idea that there is nothing wrong or immoral in
being a “gold-digger,” and that a smart girl should actually give more
significance to a man’s earning power, rather than to his virtues and character
(Ford and Drake). This article is one from many which support this idea;
however, it is dictionally incorrect and utterly fallacious. The adjectives
mercenary, deceptive, and cunning are more attributive to a woman who would
share this idea, rather than smart; basically, the female version of Mr.
Wickham. Nowadays, a smart woman would know how to earn her own money and
escape the route of tying the knot. Marrying for money basically means that a
woman or, generally, a person is confirming his or her greediness, and that
they value money more than their own happiness and years of life they are consciously
going to wastefully spend. It’s true that money can buy luxuries, which for
some may constitute happiness; however, it is short-lived. Moreover, besides condemning
themselves to long-lasting unhappiness, they are also immorally treating their partner
by deceiving them of their love.

Due to shifting labor demographics,
today many families are experiencing changes in roles; although conversations
surrounding this issue are still mostly targeted towards women, men should not be
excluded from adhering to the same moral standards. A great satirical example is
“Marry for Money,” a music video by Trace Adkins, which shows how a man preferred
marrying for money the second time around, and what consequences it led to. He
sings:

Cupid shot me

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .

But that match made in heaven

Went straight to hell

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .

And I learned a lesson I won’t be
forgetting  

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .

I’m gonna marry for money

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .

Find me a sweet sugar mama

With a whole lot of zeros and
commas

Don’t really care if she loves me  

She can even be ugly

I’m gonna marry for money. (5, 7-8,
11, 13, 16-20)

When
the song ends, there is a brief moment that shows how his wife, the old rich
lady, leaves him for her gardener and consequently abandons him on the street. Undoubtedly,
we shouldn’t consider Adkins’ ironic song as a moral authority; however, the
story still comes to prove the point that the issue is also relatable to men
and that sooner or later the negative outcomes of marrying for money will be unveiled.

A person’s virtues and affections
towards him or her should be more of an imperative to marriage. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice examines the social
conditions during the 19th century. However, Austen was significantly
ahead of her time, and her lessons give us an insight into what we can consider
right or wrong in our own time. In the novel, the main antagonist, Elizabeth, has
been portrayed as a very sensible woman, who has a more modernistic view of
life and marriage. She disregarded marrying for money and considered the
virtues of man more attractive than his wealth and social status. Early in the
novel, Elizabeth had been proposed by her father’s cousin, Mr. Collins, who thought
that she would agree due to his favorable position; however, she refused saying,
“You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in
the world who would make you so” (Austen). This statement implies the view
toward marriage, which Austen considers to be ideal, as love is the foundation of
a marriage. Another value one has to take into consideration is the virtues of
the person in question. Mr. Wickham is an ideal example of what a person should
not be, and how immoral behavior and ill qualities will lead to a negative end
result. Initially, Elizabeth was in love with Mr. Wickham; however, she changes
her attitude towards him, when she finds out about his true nature. “He is
charming and fascinating but lacks the understanding of what virtue is. He is a
deceitful, shallow-brained and dissolute man” (Gao 387). Although this isn’t
the best argument for this instance, as there was no financial appeal, it comes
to verify virtues being as important as love. One might argue that Mr. Wickham
did eventually end up having what he wanted, but at what cost? Now, he has to
spend his entire life under the torment of Lydia, the flirtatious and
empty-headed sister of Elizabeth. It is Mr. Darcy’s proposal that comes to
prove this argument, as he was very wealthy; however, for Elizabeth him being judgmental
and lacking the essential qualities a man needs for marriage, such as integrity
and kindness, trumped his favorable financial position. When the amiable and tender
side of Mr. Darcy and his true character comes into view Elizabeth changes her regard
and is more sympathetically inclined towards him, and he through this route he
wins her heart (Austen).

All the arguments that have been
set forth disprove taking money into consideration as a primary motive for
marriage as it is an immoral and wrong thing to do. However, there is an underlying
truth to Austen’s moral lessons. It is undeniable that wealth and social status
were a deciding factor when Elizabeth agreed to marry Mr. Darcy, and after all,
she was a sensible woman. After visiting Pemberley, Elizabeth’s opinion of Mr.
Darcy changed favorably (Austen); this is not to say that Elizabeth was a “gold-digger,”
but rather it wouldn’t be rational not to consider it at all. There is nothing
morally wrong with wanting financial stability, of course, if the latter is
given less significance compared to love and virtue.

In the light of previously
mentioned, the moral predicament of money being the primary motive for marriage
is a very arguable matter, and there is no correct answer to it but only one’s
judgment. My perspective is that marrying simply for financial means is immoral
and wrong; although, it would not be sensible to disregard it. The meaning of marriage
has changed throughout history, from being a business arrangement to a union of
affectionate people. Nowadays, many people share the idea that being a “gold-digger”
is not remotely close to being wrong. However, that opinion is completely fallacious,
as it a mercenary and deceptive act, and will never lead to a positive outcome.
Love and virtue deserve a higher position as a motive for marriage. “Marriage
is associated with property and social status, but it is not resolved by them”
(Gao 388). Through Pride and Prejudice,
three pillars of a marital decision-making emerge, from highest significance to
lowest: love, virtue, and wealth.

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