In Love & Money: Lessons From 'Downton Abbey'


downton abbey
Mary and Matthew Crawley offer a lesson about the importance of open, honest communication.

As the wedding plans progress, Matthew unexpectedly learns that he stands to inherit a tremendous fortune from Lavinia's distant relatives since there is no other next of kin. While Matthew's inheritance is easily large enough to solve Mary's family's financial dilemma, Matthew insists that it is wrong to take the money as it was willed to him under the false pretenses of his love and devotion to a sweet girl whom he betrayed. Furious, Mary tells Matthew that she is not on her family's side, and they almost call off the wedding. To Mary, it is unimaginable that Matthew could turn away money her family needs to save a long standing institution and her position. To Matthew, it is unimaginable that he could compromise his honor by taking money under what his moral compass tells him are false pretenses.

The wonderful lesson learned by this couple is not that they choose to marry in spite of their disagreement. Many, many couples move forward in marriage with a fantasy that marriage alone will make their partner change and see the light. The lesson lies in the extent to which they fully enjoy their early marriage in spite of this ongoing disagreement.


One moment, they speak openly about how much the completely disagree with one another. The next moment, Mary says "now kiss me and let's go to bed!" One could even say that the series is making a great case for the abstinence of the old days, as it seems that this couple is so overjoyed to finally be able to have sex with each other that they are able to sustain a healthy perspective on the fact that even disagreements of huge proportion are not worth destroying a relationship that is incredibly happy, healthy and sound. 

It will be psychologically fascinating to watch this young marriage evolve. As it stands, their ability to contain themselves with respect to this issue is an ideal model for even the most modern of marriages.

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Elisabeth LaMotte


Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
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