Living in Love Award: Can Money Buy Love?
As part of her prize, MDawson from Now is the Beginning has shared this post with us. It appears only on my blog, but her’s is definitely worth a visit! There is even a unique post of mine that appears there (also part of the prize for the Living in Love Award).
You know how some people (or most people) tell 18- and 19-year olds not to get married because they will change as they grow and reach that point in their early or mid-twenties and realize what they really want, etc.
Well, I got engaged at 19 and married at 21, and none of those “changes” have affected my marriage or my feelings for my husband. But, that’s not what I’m going to write about.
I’ve had a few “epiphanies” over the past year or so. I’ve realized a few things that have changed my outlook on life. One thing in particular I want to share with everyone because I think it’s something that requires attention is what I realized a few days ago.
I use StumbleUpon a lot because it helps inspire my creativity. I was using it a few days ago and I came across a page that asked what was most important: Money, love, friends, fame, and there was a fifth one but I forget what it was. I pondered this for a few moments. Money was good to have, but it wasn’t more important than love. Fame would be cool, but I’m more of an introvert so it kind of gave me an anxiety attack. Friends are good to have, but again, I prefer as few people in my life as possible. Love had to be first in my mind. Because I couldn’t imagine living without my husband and the bond that we share. I couldn’t imagine coming home to an empty house, not having someone to share good news with, not having someone to play video games with or watch our weekly television shows with.
Then something else hit me. We routinely play the Mega Millions and the Powerball in an attempt to become overnight millionaires. We write lists of what we’ll do with the money, carefully accounting for taxes and such. We planned out the new house that we would have built from the ground up, the amount of money we would spend lavishing our family members with brand new cars and paying off their mortgages. We plan how much will go into retirement, we plan how many CDs and savings accounts we’ll distribute the money into, and what charities we want to donate tons of money to. (He chose Deborah and I chose to help domestic violence victims and animals… in case anyone cares.)
But here’s one thing we didn’t think of. Is all this money going to make everyone happy? Sure, we will have a brand new house and brand new cars, but I’ll still be sick and have writer’s block. (I can’t really think of a reason he wouldn’t be happy, which is why I didn’t mention anything.)
My parents would have a new house and a new car, but she’ll still have trouble getting up, staying awake, and staying functional, and my father will still be unable to walk like he used to because of his recently injured knee.
My sister will have enough money to support her cat colony (’cause at this point, that’s precisely what it is) but she will still be in an unhappy marriage to a man who values his mother’s opinion over all else and she will still be mentally unhealthy and even with all the money she needs to see a doctor and get herself on the right meds, her anxiety will still prevent her from doing just that.
And my mother-in-law? She’ll have her house paid off. Her parents extensive medical bills will be paid. But she’ll still have a weak heart, she’ll still be unable to turn her neck all to one way because of an accident she had as an on-duty police officer years and years ago, and her parents will still be on death’s doorstep.
My brother-in-law will have whatever he wants, but he’ll still have to finish high school and figure out what the hell he’s going to do with the rest of his life. He’s thinking of going into the army, so the possibility of him dying sooner than he should still exists, even if he can afford everything he wants.
The house we were going to buy to rent out to a low-income family for $400 a month, maybe less, depending on their income, but no more than that, isn’t going to make their problems go away, whatever those problems are.
The charities we donate to–yeah, the money will help them a lot. A million dollars to each? They sure could do a shit ton with that. But you know what? At the end of the day, there are still going to be people dying of heart attacks, there will still be people who can’t pay for their surgeries, there will still be abused and neglected animals, and there will still be women out there who are afraid to tell anyone that their husband beats the shit out of them on a weekly basis for no reason at all.
Money doesn’t solve everything. Money won’t make me any less obsessive-compulsive, it won’t erase the schizophrenia diagnosis that litters my medical charts. It won’t make my mother’s tumor go away. It won’t make every battered woman covered in bruises magically married to a sweet, loving man like the one I am lucky to have. It certainly won’t make animals grow back their hair where they were burned with cigarettes or bitten by other animals in dog-fighting rings. It won’t give people healthy hearts. (Well, actually, it might do that, but only for those who have the money, which in and of itself is sad.)
Love can fix so much more. Love stops me from crying when I’ve had a bad day and my husband brings me chocolate because he understands that chocolate makes everything better.
Love can survive anything. If our apartment burned down tomorrow, we would lose all of our material possessions, but we wouldn’t lose our love for each other. My mother might die tomorrow, but I won’t lose the love she had for me and I will certainly not stop loving her. For three years we survived on the cheapest food we could find and the cheapest store, and there were nights I was hungry, but I was with my husband. And love made it easier to get through.
I don’t care if we ever become millionaires. I don’t care if we spend the rest of our lives struggling to pay bills. I don’t care if in another eight years we have to file for bankruptcy again. I don’t care if we live in an apartment for the rest of our lives because we can’t afford a house. We love each other. We have each other, and now I truly understand what it means to be the richest woman in the world.