Falling in love is a magical moment that often defies all logic, reason and practicality. But what happens when love turns into marriage and marriage turns into a family but the two sides of this story come from very different origins? Your family may claim to support any relationship that makes you happy, but when it comes to the realities of marrying someone from a different socio-economic background, the harsh truth may be hard to hear.
What really happens when a princess marries a pauper or when the rich heir marries the poor maiden? Can two financial and social worlds come together without colliding?
Wealthy families often have very different expectations of themselves and their offspring than the working class might. Both sides will have to come to understand what the other sees as an opportunity, a challenge, a possibility or an impossibility. A wealthier family, for example, may see higher education—all the way up to M.D., Ph. D or Esq.—as a given and not understand why your partner or his or her family wouldn't rise to such success and status. An associate's degree, license or certification may be enough for a working class family to be satisfied. Both ways of thinking have the potential to be looked down upon by the other family.
Families of different classes can hold different values dear to them. Financial gain and status may be farther up the achievement list when considering what makes someone successful. Life decisions based around these values instead of values like love, passion, faith, honesty and integrity can cause conflict if the counterpart's family is built on the latter. Consider whether both families work toward immediate gain or long-term vision or focus on personal gain instead of charity.
Money is the most common contributor to fights in a marriage, and the disparity in income can cause turmoil if not handled correctly. When either partner goes into a marriage with personal wealth and inheritance greater than the other, the romance can be sucked out of the relationship when discussing a prenuptial agreement about "who gets what" in the event of a breakup. This is reality of legal marriage, so be prepared, and have such a talk. It's better to have the discussion in the beginning rather than toward the end. Weddings are beautiful and generous, but divorces can be ugly and greedy.
Either family may be simply unaware or intolerant of the realities of life for the other. You may come up against the wealthier lot's discompassionate, indifferent and blaming attitudes toward the struggles of the economically downtrodden and potentially underemployed people joining their family. The working class family may be distrustful of the upper class's rise to success or assume unfair business practices have taken place. Ugly assumptions can be made on both sides, and suspicion will darken a happy relationship.
With all of the differences between the social classes, it may be hard to find some commonalities that will keep the two clans from clashing. But if you make a point to let each family know how much they have in common or, at the very least, how much you and your spouse love each other, you can make practically any situation more tolerant and trusting. Play up the values and aspirations they share, talk about mutual interests and gather the groups together for fun activities. Focus on the good things that give everyone common ground, and help the difference in social class become a minor consideration.