The book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen reflect on the motivations and factors that differentiate successful marriages from mediocre marriages. People marry for a number of reasons, including financial gain, passion, and appreciation of the partner’s character. For eg, Mr. Collins desires to marry one of the Bennet family’s daughters because she is a patroness rather than out of passion. According to his reasoning, he would not marry for love. “My reasons for marrying are, first, that I believe it is the right thing for a clergyman in simple circumstances (like myself) to do.” (Austen, page 19) He claims that his advantages suit him for marriage. The question is whether people should marry for love or the privileges they expect from a union. Marriage is an agreement between two people who comes together to form a family expecting to live happily ever after. In the past women used to remain at home did household chores and took care of their children while their husbands went to work to provide necessities for the family. Parents also encouraged their daughters to get married to have someone that would care for their financial needs. However, things have changed and today parents are encouraging their daughters to earn their money and not depend on their husbands. They consider being self-sufficient as an important aspect of life since husbands should never play the role of a father to their wives. A home should have two people earning to enable sufficient income in case of a misfortune. Therefore, it is wrong for individuals to marry for money or other privileges as it happens with some characters in the novel, but instead, they should consider other important aspects such as companionship, love, and family establishment.
Love in the novel, Pride and Prejudice, is considered a reward for individuals considered as lucky and not a necessity in marriage. Some women are marrying to escape poverty such as in the case of Charlotte Lucas who makes a decision to get married to Mr. Collins because he has a lot of money (Austn 1). However, such a decision is not wise since she marries because she wants to benefit from the man wealth. When individuals decide to marry, they should do it for love and not money since love is the source of other commitments. However, it is not the case in the novel since marriage is considered a custom It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife (Austen 1). This reveals that men marry for reasons other than love. For instance, love can be considered luxury since when one marries for love; most of other needs in life are always met. For example, a husband that loves his wife will always ensure that she has food, clothing, shelter, warmth, and other personal needs. Marrying for financial gains may not be satisfying to the couple including the woman due to an inadequate commitment to issues related to love. The marriage between Charlotte and Mr. Collins may face issues due to lack of love and commitment. Although a husband should ensure that his family has enough financial resources, a woman should not consider money as the main factor to determine a marriage partner. Other psychological needs are achieved due to love that exists between the couple. Lack of love in a family union leads to problems such as many cases of divorce, marital violence, and child abuse among others (Diener and Biswas-Diener 120). Without love, it is not possible for a couple to sit and plan for their future and that of their children. Money is important in a family but it should not be a factor to consider when woman wants to start a family with a man (Zelizer 817). Although factors such as procreation, financial security, and companionship are important in marriage, love can bring more happiness to a family. Children need attention, and parents have a role to play to ensure that all their physiological needs including love and care are met. In this case, it is wrong for individuals to marry because of money or other material wealth thus there is no excuse for using somebody for monetary gains
Marrying someone for money is quite selfish since it leads to betrayal especially when the money diminishes. In pride and prejudice, Elizabeth is a character who understands the purpose of marriage and feels that integrity plays a big role in making a decision. For instance, she rejects Darcy proposal due to his arrogance (Berry 3). She cannot get married for economic gains since there are other important factors to consider such as companionship. Although people need money to survive, getting into a relationship for money can be very disappointing. Companionship should be a major consideration since marriage is about a lifetime relationship with or without money. Although a woman may want to live a good life, it should not be at the expense of her companion. If the two are working and earning an income, they should all contribute to the family budget and share responsibility. Having a companion to share ideas, sorrows, and other daily issues is more satisfying than focusing on the amount of money a spouse has. True friendship is necessary for a family union with or without money (Smock, Manning and Porter 680). This means making a decision to marry due to financial gain is not right since it can be quite disappointing. Elizabeth finally accepts Darcy proposal after learning that he is an honorable man and is in love with her (Austen 24). She accepts the marriage offer due to love and desire to live with an honest man and not because of his money. Couples entering into a marriage union should strive to be financially independent to support the family. Focusing on their relationship and resolving any issues that arise in their union is more important than focusing on monetary gains. Several other factors may determine the choice of a marriage partner but companionship plays a big role in ensuring that the couple remains united.
People should not marry for money and wealth but should focus on establishing a family full of love. In the novel, the marriage between Jane and Bingley results from love and mutual affection (Austen 42). Their devotion to one another helps them to establish a stable family since it is not based on financial gains. In this case, there must be a good intention for starting a relationship and settling together. A wife should have some goals of marriage, which will enable the family to sand in times of turbulence (Smock, Manning and Porter 680). A goal is anything that one wants to happen especially in the future. Although money plays an important role in the future plans, it should not be the only focus for people planning to get married. No marriage relationship is perfect but couples can discuss and sort out issues if there is reason for living together, have a successful family and not only because of money. During the 19th century, it was a norm for women to marry for money and social status as well as escape from living a single life. however, marriage without love and commitment may not work as in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, which causes trouble in their marriage since the two do not enjoy the marital bliss Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown (Austen 42). This shows that their marital harmony was threatened by several factors including love for money and wealth (Lanchester 8). If one of the couples just married to get material things, he/she will never see the need of fighting for love or establishing the marriage. A successful marriage needs mature individuals committed to the achievement of personal growth and development. Although it is not possible to have a perfect marriage, pursuing life goals of having a united family is a great idea. A couple should always focus on engaging in fun with their children to create a united family. Being together and sharing individual likes is better than having lots of money. People should marry another one they admire and can learn from instead of focusing on the property they own. Helping each other to grow and sharing values, plans, time, experience, and good mood. Getting children and bringing them up responsibly is more important than focusing on what one spouse can offer in terms of money. Individuals that only care about money in marriage can be associated with greed and selfishness and is not good for a healthy marriage. Divorce cases are on the rise contributed by lack of marriage commitment (Lanchester 8). For those that enter marriage with the aim of receiving money from the spouse are not committed to raising a stable family. The marriage between Lydia and Mr. Wickham is troublesome since they are very incompatible as it is based on lust (Berry 2). The marriage happened since the two had become intimate before marriage. Most cases of divorce are due to lack of agreement as the partners have their different goals. Money is important and necessary in any family but couples should not bas every argument on it. Marrying for money is not the right idea for any couple.
It is wrong for people to marry for money since the decision should be based on the desire to share life with someone. The characters in the novel have different opinions about love and marriage, which shapes their decisions when choosing a marriage partner. Children need care and bad marriages can destroy kids lives and make their future life miserable But she had never felt so strongly as now the disadvantages, which must attend the children of so unsuitable marriage. (Austen 42). This is an indication that selecting the wrong partner for marriage leads to a dysfunctional family and suffering of the children. Human beings are also social creatures requiring attention from others and living single life may become quite boring. It is a good idea to share happy and sad moments together with someone one loves since it is quite fulfilling. After enjoying single life for several years, it is right to have a partner and raise a successful family with love and care. Some things such as hanging out with friends lose meaning after sometime and an individual has to settle down. However, doing it for money makes life meaningless since it cannot help one to feel complete. Life can also be defined as a game of stages and marriage is one of them. Once mentally prepared to get to the next stage making a decision to get married for money is wrong (Galvin, Braithwaite and Bylund 8). Instead, one should focus on getting a partner to share life with and move on with life. Focusing on money is like commercializing marriage, which can destroy the couples happiness. Marriage is a special stage in life and every person should dream of having a happy marriage. In many communities, it is a tradition that people should get married at one point in their lives and focus on raising a family. As long as couples are committed to sharing the rest of their life together, money should never be a cause of concern. The two can work to provide for the family instead of one trying to rely on the partner for monetary gains. Many times money issues are the cause of disagreements and should be handled carefully. Societal norms are very important, which shows that money should not be a reason for couples to keep on arguing every time. Marriage helps couples to mature as they develop trust, commitment, and faith making them feels more responsible. A woman gets emotional security if the relationship is stable due to the man commitment to have lifetime partner. Children also find comfort in a marriage that is not rooted in desire for money.
In conclusion, marriage should be for life and people should never take vows if they are not in love, if not aiming at having a companion, or not ready to start a family. Marrying for money and other material things as it happens in the novel is not the right choice for couples. Men and women should strive to live quality life by contributing equally to the financial needs of their family. Some psychological needs are achieved due to love existing between a husband and wife and not because of financial success. Lack of love in a family union can lead to issues such as divorce, marital violence, and child abuse among others. Individuals should not marry for money and wealth but should focus on establishing a happy family. In this case, couples must have a good intention for starting a relationship and settling together. The wife should have some goals of marriage, which will enable the family to stand in times of turbulence. A goal is anything that one wants to happen especially in the future. Money is good since it enables people to sustain quality life but it should not be the main factor when one is choosing to marry.
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Galvin, Kathleen M., Dawn O. Braithwaite, and Carma L. Bylund. Family Communication: Cohesion and Change. Routledge, 2015.
Lanchester, John. How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say-And What it really Means. WW Norton & Company, 2014.
Smock, Pamela J., Wendy D. Manning, and Meredith Porter. Everything’s There Except Money: How Money Shapes Decisions to Marry among Cohabitors.” Journal of Marriage and Family 67.3 (2005): 680-696.
Zelizer, Viviana A. “The Purchase of Intimacy. Law & Social Inquiry 25.3 (2000): 817-848.