Steven G. Percifield--author

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Steven G. Percifield  Author and consultant
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An inconvenient marriage



They were an unlikely couple. Brought together by the random happenstance of life, they were now trying to forge through difficult times together. One was financially successful; the other not so much. For neither was it a first relationship, as both had previous trysts behind them.

For one of them the progeny of those previous trysts—although representing disparate levels of social and financial strata—were generally considered successful, at least economically. From a young age, they had been taught self-sufficiency. Imbued with the philosophy that they were each personally responsible for their own fate while sharing responsibility for the welfare of their family, they had worked hard at school, hard at home and hard at after-school jobs. This had provided them with spending money above and beyond their allowances.  

The children of the other viewed life differently. Their hearts bled as they looked about them seeing neighbors who had less than what was needed. They also bled when they looked further afield and saw others who had more than they had. Although some of these siblings excelled in school many did not. Although some were able to land after school jobs, many did not. When their educations and jobs were deficient, they had been taught that they were victims of circumstances beyond their control.

When the two married and their families merged, rivalry between the children was inevitable. The siblings with less wanted more of the family pie. Since they were one family now, they felt entitled to it. The children with more, having worked hard and long for what they had, didn’t feel they should have to give up what they had accumulated.

Since they were now all one family, the parent of those with less felt an obligation; using the joint credit card now shared with the spouse, purchases were made in an attempt to provide more equivalence between the groups. This continued happily for several years until two devastating circumstances occurred at the same time: 1) the economy tanked reducing the entire family’s income and 2) the credit card had been so over-used that the family could not afford even the interest payments it required.

The side of the family that had more wealth had a fiscally sound response to the crisis: stop using the credit card and reduce spending.

The side of the family that had less wealth had an impassioned response: increase the credit card’s limits and share more of the remaining wealth.

So what is the traditional greeting when two people are wed?

Let’s see now: bon voyage is for vacation departures; merry…merry anything doesn’t seem to work; happy…is no better. So what is it? Oh, well.


Best wishes Barack and John