Did You Marry Someone Just Like Your Mother (or Father)?

by TTMK on June 30, 2014 · 3 comments

The following post is by staff writer Melissa Batai

You’ve likely heard the saying often enough, “She married someone just like her father,” or “His wife is just like his mother.” Sometimes this can be a compliment such as when a woman has a kind, caring, compassionate father and marries a man just like him.

However, often the statement is derogatory. The assumption is that the person has grown up and escaped living with her father or his mother, only to marry someone who is exactly like that person’s parent, so the cycle is repeated all over again.

Sometimes, that isn’t a bad thing.

Take my friend Nina. Nina grew up in a home in which both parents worked. Dad was a banker and mom was an executive secretary. Mom made slightly more than Dad. Mom worked hard and liked to spend hard. Dad was a tightwad penny pincher, which, as you can imagine, lead to some pretty interesting fights.

Nina grew up to be a spendthrift like her mother. She has a taste for the finer things in life and often got frustrated by just how tight her father was with money. Eventually her mother and father decided to have separate bank accounts so they could each use their own money any way they wanted.

Nina Repeats the Cycle

Nina married a man, Derek, who earns a very good income as an engineer. They’ve been married for 20 years now; Derek works full-time and Nina cares for their two children and takes care of the house.

While she loves Derek and appreciates how hard he works and what a good provider he is, she is continually frustrated by him.

Derek likes to wait to buy things until he can pay cash. He abhors debt.

Nina finds this behavior stifling. She recently was very upset because her smart phone died, but she still had two months left on her contract. Derek wouldn’t let her get a new one until the old contract expired. Instead, he was able to fix her phone to give her basic calling features, but she couldn’t access Facebook or any of the games she liked to play. Nina whined every day for two months until she could buy a new phone.

Likewise, their air conditioning went out last fall, and Derek waited to fix it until just a few weeks ago. For a few days, while Derek worked on fixing the air, the inside temperature of the house was 77 degrees. Again, Nina complained endlessly until it was fixed.

Why Choosing Derek Was a Smart Choice

The other day, as I was listening to Nina, it occurred to me that she had married someone exactly like her father. Nina gets immensely frustrated when Derek reins in her spending and impulse buys.

I can understand Nina’s frustration, but because of Derek’s frugal personality, Nina is able to be a stay-at-home mom even though both of her kids are in school now. For the type of lifestyle she wants to live, Derek is an excellent provider and money manager.

My Questions for You

What do you think? Did Nina make the right choice in partner, or did she set herself up for a miserable life repeating her parents’ financial conflicts?

If you’re married, did you marry someone like your mother or father, or did you marry someone the opposite?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Average Joe June 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

In this case it seems like the good (great money skills) balance out the bad (tightwad). If he’s like that (tightwad) about life experiences, I’d think it was a problem….but holding down buying “stuff”, I’m not against.


TTMK July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

I agree Joe. The good outweighs the “bad”…which isn’t so bad anyway depending on one’s point of view. Wanting to save is a good thing, and great point that “stuff” is different than life experiences.


Poor Student July 15, 2014 at 9:18 am

I guess it depends on the case… Nina has a bad spending habit and Derek balances her, which is good for them. Nevertheless I don’t know if I’d like to marry someone that is like any of my parents. I think I’ll prefer if my spouse is the opposite of me in a good way so I can learn from them.


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