On Love and Money

OK magazine published an article 8/29 on Elin Nordegren that wasn’t too nice.  It said her new boyfriend is a big-time player and she’s chosen badly again.  What interested me is how they went to lengths to say Elin is seeking someone wealthy because now that she’s $100 million richer after her divorce from Tiger, she needs to be sure that someone loves her just for her and not for her money.  This isn’t anything new.  The rich usually select from the rich for that and many other reasons.  It reminds me of the biblical phrase ‘equally yoked.’  What’s probably new is usually this a concern for men, less often for women.

That night I watched the Oprah show where she interviewed Ralph Lauren, who’s been married to his wife Ricky for 46  years.  (Yes, still have a few unwatched Oprah shows on the DVR.)  Their 46 year union seemed like enough of a feat to me, but even Oprah pointed out they married before he became famous (read that as rich).  Almost like she felt the need to convey Ricky isn’t a gold digger; she really loves her husband.

These and other incidents have made me think a lot about love and money lately.  The net-net is this:  love is love.  Period.  Whether it’s a parent, child, sibling, spouse, lover or friend, you either love them or you don’t.  And money is money.  But the two are very different things.  We seem to combine them in very unhealthy ways; maybe it’s just human nature and everyone does it.  I wonder.

Have you ever seen a parent try to control / manipulate their children with money?  It goes like this:  you do what I want you to do and I’ll fund it.  Don’t do what I want you to do and the funds are cut off.  What this teaches the child is that money is more important than they are and supersedes the love.  Children who are treated like this just learn how to manipulate the situation to their advantage, but don’t feel loved.  Worse, they equate money with love. The result is that neither the parent nor child feels truly loved; both end up feeling manipulated or used in some way.

Then there are the marriage/relationship scenarios.  Many people try to control their spouse or partner with the almighty dollar.  I’ve personally seen both men and women do this.  Again, it doesn’t work well or have a happy ending.  How many times have you heard a married women say, ‘I bought this …. blah, blah; another thing the hubby can’t know about.’?  Clearly, these people are not operating as a team, nor do they have the same agenda, nor can they trust each other.  I’ve never really understood it.  After the economic collapse of 2008, Oprah asked Suze Orman to help families with enormous debt create plans to reduce their debt.  Universally, in the families where the husband and wife worked together with the kids to pay off the debt, it worked; if any party wasn’t fully on board, it didn’t work.

Then there’s the person with money who thinks because they’ve got it they can treat people any way they want; it’s almost as if they feel they own their partner/spouse, kids and anyone else in the near vicinity.  I run from people like this; the disrespect is corrosive.

The first thing required to live is breath, or chi, prana, qi, whatever you’d like to call it.  You know it when you’ve seen someone right after they’ve died; it’s amazingly apparent how the body really is just the shell for the soul because once that breath of life (chi, prana, qi) leaves, that person is gone.  Just the shell remains.  The second thing required to live is love.  Everyone wants to be loved; it’s a universal need and desire.  The third thing required to live is money, because it is the way to secure housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, entertainment, etc.  But it’s just the means to create a beautiful life for yourself and others; it is not the main goal or meaning of life itself.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”  ~ Mother Teresa

“People first, money second, things last.”  ~ Suze Orman

“Can’t Buy Me Love” ~ The Beatles  Always been with The Beatles on this one!  Or in more modern terms, “It’s Not About the Money!”

So if you want to be loved, give love.  Don’t try to control those you love with money or things; it doesn’t work.  Do not confuse the two either; money is just freedom of choice … love is, well love.  You know it when you feel it.  It’s very different than being able to buy something; stuff is just stuff.  Love is love.  Love is the goal people; not money!

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