While you may know that love usually doesn't come with a guaranteed fairy-tale ending, you probably are still holding out for, or trying to have your marriage live up to, the idea of truly passionate and romantic love. Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake, M.D., authors of the new release Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped Into the Romantic Dream -- And How They're Paying For It, are here to change your mind, or at least tell you why "happily ever after" hasn't quite happened to them. Read: Marrying "Up"
AOL Health: Can you explain the theory that your book is based on—the idea that women will be better off in the long run if they marry for money?
Daniela Drake, M.D.: When we saw [how high] the divorce rate is, we had a couple of questions. Why are people marrying? In our culture, it's pretty clear from the time you're young, you're trained that romantic love is the highest ideal—and the highest concept upon which you can base a marriage. I think that there isn't a person who would say, "Oh, I'm not looking for that." But when we look back historically, this was not the thing that had primacy in developing long-lasting marriages. When we did the history of marriage research, we found that it's really quite a new phenomenon over the last 150 years. And even at that time, when it came into the zeitgeist of the late 1800s—that people should be marrying for these romantic feelings that they have for each other—social commentators at the time were saying, "Well if people marry for love, when they're not in love anymore, they'll leave. The family will be an unstable unit." Even back then, they predicted that the divorce rate would go up to around 50 percent. So there's one piece of the puzzle.
Ford: Smart Girls Marry Money is about being smart—in your individual situation. It's not about us looking back on our lives and saying "Oh, poor me." In my case, I was married for almost 13 years when my husband left. I was surprised, because every person who gets married doesn't think that they will be the one to get divorced. You believe in that enthusiasm of love and the rush of emotions that is the magic of romantic love. That your relationship is going to last forever, that divorce only happens to someone else. And when it does happen, whoever decides, for whatever reason that it's not working out, women are the ones who suffer far more financially after a divorce than men do. They're the ones who have possibly put their career to the side; they're the ones who normally take primary care of the kids … There's a lot of different advice in the book. It's not just the title. It's not the gold-digging book, per se. It's not how to marry for money. It's about being smart in your relationship so that your security doesn't suffer and your happiness doesn't suffer and you choose a mate who will make sense with you financially. Tales Of A Reluctant Trophy Wife
So it's not about gold-digging?
Ford: Our culture accepts that men value women because they're beautiful, because they're young, because they're hot. So why can't it go both ways? No one ever says that a man is a beauty-digger because he wants a beautiful girl. Even though women are in the workforce at record numbers, we're not making the money that men are making. Men are making three times more money over their lifetime than women are. So why isn't it valuable for a beautiful woman to look out for her security at the end of her life? Of women who are alone at retirement age, one in five end up at the poverty level. So we realized, "Whoa, what's a girl to do?"Career And Family: Can We Really Have Both?
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