OFFICE POLITICS 101: My fiancée wants me to make more money

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Q: I’m getting married in a few months but my fiancée wants me to become career-minded and make more money. I’m happy with my current job and salary and I’d prefer to stay. What should I say to her?

While I am not in a position to offer what might be characterized as pre-marital counseling, I would say your question should alert you to a probable tension once you are married.

Her expectations are apparently based upon her vision as a future wife—and mother perhaps—which involves a certain lifestyle. She is aware of your current salary and believes it will not meet her material needs.

You don’t mention her own career aspirations but if she is currently making more than you, it will almost certainly create strain, especially in light of what she has mentioned. If she’s planning to be a stay-at-home-mom, her realistic evaluation of the family budget requirements have led her to believe your income will be insufficient to provide a satisfactory home life.

If there are “big ticket items” on her list—such as new home, vacations and an expensive car, for instance—you may quickly come to the conclusion that you are facing a significant conflict, if you can’t see budgeting for them.

While it is not always the case, our lifestyle prospects are often autobiographical; in other words, if she comes from a financially comfortable family, she will be disappointed if this situation can’t be maintained.  This, too, would apply to her “career-minded” ambitions for you. If either or both of her parents are professionals or successful entrepreneurs, for example, she almost certainly will expect no less from you.

The good news is she has agreed to marry you—based upon love, no doubt—but the bad news is that she is now issuing some conditions which you seem to find unacceptable.

This would be the time to sit down with her and prepare a budget employing a couple of scenarios. Her dreams probably will conflict with yours and it will be essential to identify them prior to being married.

Don’t wait until after you are married to discuss these significant issues. While there is bound to be some anxiety, you should be candid with each other rather than pretending there is an agreement when it has yet to be achieved.

• Simon Gibson is an experienced university professor, marketing executive and corporate writer. He has a PhD in education from SFU. Submit questions to

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