Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love doesn't blossom in a vacuum

The Globe published Naomi Powell's blog entry confirming the widely held belief that people don't marry across income brackets. I also jumped into the fray (now deleted):

I think the majority of the commenters are missing the key point of the article. That is, the focus of the study is on the income bracket of the parents and how that affects the marriages of their offspring (who may not be in the same income bracket themselves).

From a purely anecdotal standpoint, I can attest to the study's findings. My partner is, like me, a 1.5 generation immigrant, but from a divergent part of the world. Our parents came to Canada with next to nothing and worked to become upper-middle-class. However, my partner and I work in the film industry, which is notoriously low-paying.

Compare him to a friend of mine whom I've known since we attended elementary school. He and I frequently visited the prospect of dating right into our adult years, but never made the leap. Although we still get along very well, his family background always deterred me from presenting myself as a serious romantic contender. His family would be considered, with no disrespect, lower to lower-middle-class/income.

Although a child prodigy, his family did not encourage him academically and failed to be involved in his life. He was on his own after high school and did odd jobs for years until I finally convinced him to attend university to widen his social circle (as he was dissatisfied with his life). However, during this time, he also bonded with those from similar family backgrounds.

So while the public school system no doubt allowed me to meet him, his family's values do not jibe with mine as we differ in terms of how we prioritize education, our knowledge base (eg. my family vs. his family's ability to fund trips abroad), and our philosophies in child-rearing (his is more passive, mine is more active). Whereas, my partner and I not only have chemistry, but due to our families' relative financial stability, we are able to ride out trying economic times without huge repercussions whereas my friend's family would not be able to contribute financially and is, thus, less obligated to preserve active family ties (extended and otherwise).

Family legacy shapes the way we see the world, not necessarily with money, but it is an important factor. So while my friends and I are technically in the same income bracket, I chose a partner whose family is similar to my own (which now only leaves the language barrier a problem :)

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