How To Marry Your Equal

When I wrote What I Wish I Knew About Life and Finances in My 20s, one of my readers, American Debt Project, asked me what exactly I meant when I wrote “if you want to marry wisely, marry your equal.”

I emphasized that when I say about marrying your equal, I do not refer to a social status or a paycheck. Equal to me means anything but status. Money, a big house, a sporty car, a big savings account does not make you equal.

When I met Beaker, he was a broke warehouse worker, and I was starting my career in finance. I was making more, I could afford more than him. But it did not matter to me because the first time we had a conversation, I got interested. He made me laugh, he made me a cup of great coffee, and he knew stuff I never heard about. Oh, and he wore glasses. I have to admit that I like men in glasses. Even though Beaker was not wearing glasses from, his still looked decent.

My friends were telling me that I was lowering my standards going out with a guy who worked in a warehouse. In their minds, independent women need to be with guys who can “provide.”

With age people tend to look at relationships differently. My own views on men definitely evolved. A paycheck never mattered to me. I could “provide” for myself. I wanted an equal partner who could share my life and dreams, who wanted the same things.

When I was young and naive I chose guys with:

Good looks. Let’s be honest. Good looks mattered to me. I did not pay attention to short, fat, pimply or geeky looking guys. I, probably, missed out on some great guys because I used to judge men by their looks.

Confidence. I mistook arrogance for confidence. Quite a lot.

Laid back attitude. Relaxed and laid back is so opposite of me.

Sex appeal. So what if a guy could not keep up with a conversation about Dreiser?

Unpredictability. In other words, bad boys.

What an Equal Partner Means (for me)

I want to believe that with age we get wiser. If not wiser, at least a little bit more observant, analytical and logical. Maybe even pragmatic.

When I was dating, one of the things I used to asked myself was how I felt with him when we were sitting in silence? Did I feel uncomfortable because a feeling of ambiguity was hovering over us? Did I try to fill in the silence with nonessential words, empty phrases because our silence was deafening? Or did I feel content, calm and relaxed? Silence with the right person is liberating not constricting.

Your equal partner is someone who:

  1. Has same values, same goals, shares with you same plans and dreams.
  2. Knows things that you don’t.
  3. Is confident in his/her own skin.
  4. Has better qualities than yours.
  5. Doesn’t care who makes more money in the relationship.
  6. Makes you laugh hard because he/she is funny and not stupid.
  7. Knows what communication really means.
  8. Lets you be yourself and does not attempt to change you. Even a little.
  9. Can have long conversations with you, and neither of you get bored.
  10. Never plans for divorce.
  11. Passes the silence test with flying colors.

I can go on and on, but I will stop here.

What does an equal partner mean to you?


17 thoughts on “How To Marry Your Equal”

  1. Sounds like you chose wisely, Aloysa. I have a question, too! What’s the silence test? Do you pass it by being silent but not being awkward somehow? Or do you pass it by talking a lot and not ever letting there be a silent moment? 🙂

    1. You pass when you have those moments of silence that happen during a drive, eating out, just sitting on a bench, during the walk in a park… There is always a pause in conversation and you should listen to yourself and see how you feel. Makes sense? Silence can be very uncomfortable with some people.

  2. If that’s the checklist then I might not ever find my equal. I’ve never met anyone with better qualities than myself (and that’s not my ego talking!!). Perhaps the standards I live by are too high. “Knows what communication really means” – not the guys I meet!

  3. Nice list, but I wouldn’t qualify in my early 20s. People needs time to mature. I was a jerk when I was young and Mrs. RB40 wasn’t much better. We matured and grew closer together. It’s not really fair to expect young people to have all those qualities. 🙂

  4. It is interesting because when I look at your checklist those are the things I was looking for in a mate. I actually found one too. My hubby and I work really hard to be a team and treat each other as equals and I think it is why we have such a healthy relationship. It took some life experience and maturity on both of our parts to get to that point though.

  5. I really like this list but it also makes me realize I have a long way to go in my relationship…on my end. I know I am the more selfish one in the relationship. But I am also 4 years younger than him :). I like your take on all of it and I would just add being excited to see each other at the end of the day or after a week apart, just to sit and catch up. My boyfriend is my best friend, he makes me laugh so hard when I least expect it…I know we have a lot to accomplish but sometimes I forget to just sit and be appreciative of the person that he is.

  6. I love your list. The only thing I’d add about what makes Mr. PoP perfect for me is this:
    “Cares more about your own happiness than you do”

    I have this horrible tendency to let myself be unhappy in the service of others, and Mr. PoP helps me keep that in check by making sure I am doing things that make me happy, too!

  7. I like your list. I’m pretty certain C and I meet all of your requirements. For me, though, more important than anything else, is be friends first. I know some people’s whose marriages aren’t that way, and I’m not dissing them, but the most important thing in my relationship with C is our friendship. (Even in our wedding vows, we promised to be friends first.)

  8. I love the silence test. It’s really important to me as I’m not a extrovert and have to push that side of me out. Most people I’m friends with (let alone my fiance) know this and the silences are beautiful things not awkard horrible things.

    My one thing might be that my fiance knows when to push me to do something when I’m trying to back down from it because I’m scared (and no other reason). He was one of the key people to push me into applying for my current job. He listened to my fears, and talked me into it.

  9. I don’t think it it easy to get someone who has all the qualities listed and others. A relationship is supposed to grow and therefore it is okay to love someone who may have some attributes that you don’t like. Nobody’s perfect.

  10. Not gonna lie, Alyosa – when I first saw this post I was like oh no, I definitely disagree with having to marry your equal, but as I read on I realized you weren’t talking about what I thought you were going to write about. A common theme with society and sometimes the older generation, is to marry rich (especially if you’re a woman), because that’s just old school thinking. I definitely do not agree with that. I love my BF for who he is, the way he makes me feel, and not his bank account (or lack of a big one LOL). I agree with your list wholeheartedly, and I would have to add — plans for the future WITH you.. I love planning ahead with my BF and it just makes life easier!

  11. Pingback: What I’m Reading: Azeroth has Reclaimed Me Edition | The Dog Ate My Wallet

  12. Excellent article. I wish I knew about this list before I got married. It’s good to clearly set these standards at this point. Things don’t usually happen as exactly described. Equality also follows if you both accept each other’s infirmities, not just perfect attributes.

  13. You are definitely right. It’s like Alanis M. wrote her song “Unsent” with me in mind. LOL. I used to choose men because of sex appeal, looks, brains, and interests. But with my beau now I am feeling what I have never felt with my former paramours (regardless of the intensity of the emotion I felt for them) and that is stability. Not just financial but a holistic stability. I love the feeling of being certain that someone who I love has got my back all the time.

Comments are closed.