“It’s Always Easier To Spot A Gold Digger When They Carry Their Own Shovel.”

Marriage isn’t about money although many people think it is. Some people base their decision to say yes on the size of the ring. Such decisions are shallow. Material possessions aren’t necessary for a strong marriage. Commitment is.

The number of times I’ve been asked about what a client should spend on a ring would surprise you. I’m asked all the time by both brides and grooms. My answer surprises them. I didn’t want a ring from my husband. Why? I had plenty of rings and I like to change jewelry frequently. There was no need for him to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding ring for me. I viewed a ring as an unnecessary expense.

The truth is that you shouldn’t spend more than you can afford on the ring or the wedding. People overspend on weddings to impress their friends and guests but shouldn’t. The wedding should be intimate and limit expenses but society has led many to believe “the bigger the better.”

A few years ago, my client, a groom told me that his fiancée had informed him that her mother had made a demand that if her fiancée buy at least a $5k ring that she couldn’t marry him.

I suggested that he needed to decide before the marriage “what else his future with this bride would require or demand?” Would it be a bigger house? Nicer car? Too much is never enough for some people. When you bend make sure you aren’t going to break. Set limits. If you don’t, a gold digger won’t either. You can’t buy love.

The wedding was eventually cancelled after the demands continued to roll in. Eventually, the groom finally realized that “my gaze into his future with his fiancé” was accurate. He couldn’t afford to keep pleasing his fiancée and she wouldn’t stop pushing him.

A ring won’t keep you warm at night. A ring won’t comfort you when you are sick. A ring is a piece of metal regardless of how elaborate or expensive it might be.

My TDCJ Connelly Unit bride had posted that another woman contacted her claiming to be the mother of her husbands child. Whether this was a ploy for money or not is anyone’s guess but since the child is 7 months old and my clients husband was locked up long before he could have possibly impregnated her, I suggested a paternity test to rule out this accusation off the bat. Of course my client is upset and who wouldn’t be but the truth always comes out. Texas doesn’t allow conjugal visits.

Last year another client was served with a paternity suit and demand for $17k in child support. Apparently, he was blindsided and unaware he had a child.

For his fiancée to learn about this only days from their wedding, cold feet would be an understatement. The wedding was pushed back three months to wait on the paternity suit. The child was his. The fiancée had to decide if she could accept this child and changes to her marriage that would involve being stepmother to a child she didn’t want any part of.

The bride finally agreed to counseling but simply could not overcome the fact that her fiancée had a relationship prior to hers and that relationship produced a child.

Dealbreakers come in all shapes and sizes. Things no one could expect occur all the time in relationships and in marriages. How you deal with a dealbreaker is in your hands.

Whether it’s the size of your ring or the surprise of a child, accepting what life throws at you isn’t easy for people who thought the ring should be bigger or that you hadn’t been involved with anyone else prior to them.

Throughout this pandemic my clients have had several twists and turns. From disagreeing about politics to adjusting their household budgets after wage cuts or job loss or even facing eviction, the way they expected their lives to be and how reality hit them were difficult for many to accept.

In fact, several of my clients either canceled plans to marry or filed divorce in the past 11 months. These changes took place far more often in the last 6 months than they did at the beginning of the pandemic. Why? Stress. Hopelessness. Fear. The longer this went on the more helpless they became. Throwing an unexpected child into the mix was too much for one couple and untrue for another couple.

Meanwhile, Burt and Deanna are anxiously awaiting the birth of a child they never expected. After losing baby DeLilah to Trisomy two years ago, they are days away from welcoming something they have prayed and hoped for. Many of my couples have weathered this pandemic like the troopers they are. Burt and Deanna are just one example.

The Tiger King or Joe Exotic whichever you prefer, had a limo waiting at Fort Worth FMC fully expecting a pardon. It’s unusual to roll into a prison parking lot and see a limo. I ought to know I roll into prisons frequently across the U.S. and have for years to marry clients at State, Federal, ICE and County Detention Facilities and have never seen a limo yet. There was no pardon. There was a limo that sat there for hours and hours. Expectations and reality aren’t always what people anticipate or expect.

Marrying for money may sound appealing to a few folks but money doesn’t last forever and when it’s being used to hold one person to the marriage it never lasts.

Marriage should be based on trust, love, honesty, righteousness and partnership. Marriages that are withstand the test of time. They are tried and true. Commitment binds them together. Not material possessions but something far more valuable, persistence and perseverance.

Everyday in the life of a married couple isn’t wine or roses. You will have good days and bad. You will have victories and successes just as frequently as you have things you couldn’t have anticipated such as job loss, wage cuts, health issues and even a surprise paternity suit or claim from a stranger. Buckle up. Bear through the storm whatever it might be. You are stronger together.

A few weeks ago, my niece was telling my twin and I that she was bored in her marriage. We immediately jumped up on the bandwagon of giving her the what for. Alex is a dedicated family man and active Navy officer. He isn’t exciting or rich. He doesn’t need to be. He’s reliable. He’s loyal and he’s a good father and husband. Who else would let their wife and daughter “come home” for months at a time throughout their marriage and at one point, years? Leigh Ann needs to recognize a solid marriage is far more valuable than excitement. She was jealous of Alex going home to see his mother for a few weeks and not immediately answering her calls. She felt he “acted different around his family.” Well, who doesn’t?

Cindy and I successfully talked her out of this “I’m bored” craziness and Cindy added “you can’t expect to live at home for your entire marriage. He deserves to spend time with his wife and daughter. I know you prefer to be at home with me but you are married and can’t permanently live here.”

Truthfully my niece would live at home forever if Cindy would let her. Leigh Ann is the only child out of our three adult children who never wanted to move out even after she had married. She didn’t want to live in Japan. She didn’t want to live in Seattle. She didn’t want to live in Lemoore. They are now stationed at Point Hueneme and there’s no reason whatsoever other than there’s nothing to do thanks to the governor. She isn’t bored in her marriage. She’s bored because of lockdowns. Sometimes we have to give our children tough advice and tough love.

My other niece, Stephaney is doing very well at her new job and making more money than she ever thought possible. She may never marry and that’s okay. Her choices in men have all been bad. She can support herself and doesn’t “want a man.” I’m okay with this decision as is her mom. Marriage isn’t for everyone and Stephaney doesn’t have a good track record with relationships.

My son and his wife are planning a birthday party for my new grandson. It’s hard to believe he will soon be one year old. For the first 6 months of his lifetime I rarely saw him due to Covid and my presence at events and groups where “I might possibly be exposed.” I was somewhat resentful of this statement as I’m incredibly cautious but I honored my daughter in laws wishes to stay away from March through August and mailed items regularly. By October though I was sick and tired of being so cautious I couldn’t see my grandson and decided to say so. I kept him for a week in November and now regularly see him.

The pandemic changed the way we think and behave. Politics separated families and friends. There’s a new president now and whether we like it or not, there will be 4 years of changes ahead.

Hunker down folks because many families are going to need to circle their wagons while budgeting. A large group of my clients work in the fuel and medical industries. For those in the fuel industries, the possibility of unemployment looms. For those in healthcare, the fear of Covid is also always on their minds.

I’ve lost a few clients to Covid. I’ve lost far more friends. Today I learned of yet another friend passing away. It’s quite sad to me that so many people have been affected by this pandemic.

My twin Grandnieces struggle with isolation. Makenna is back homeschooling and Maryssa going to only a few classes and homeschooling. They both feel isolated and it’s a struggle for Cindy to make sure all homework is completed. Yesterday she informed the twins “this is my first pandemic too. I don’t ask for much but I expect you to complete your homework.” She meant it. Cindy isn’t thrilled with Makenna’s boyfriend or Maryssa’s either so it’s school first at her house and everything else including socializing second.

Valentine’s Day is always one of my busiest days of the year but my daughter in law has planned my grandsons birthday on the same day so scheduling is going to be tricky at best.

I hope that whatever stresses, issues or worries you’re having that you find constructive ways to overcome them or accept them in these unprecedented times. It’s been a year of stress and surprises for many of us but the strengths we’ve learned along with coping mechanisms have helped guide us through a very unexpected pandemic and political climate.

There are many free or sliding scale counselors. If you need help locating one just let me know.