Do you marry for love or lifestyle?

Your expensive taste can outlive romance. But today it doesn’t have to be one or the other

‘Handbag’ by Tom Epperson (2019) (From private collection)

A designer-friend told me a long time ago, after he was done styling the awesomely chic—with awesome budget—home of a beautiful actress: “A woman must marry not only for love, but also for lifestyle!”

My friend added: “Romance goes, but a woman’s expensive taste doesn’t.” His point was—your expensive taste can easily outlive romance, and in some tragic cases, even love.

And this observation came even before the Birkin era— when women began to lust after designer bags, sometimes more than they did after their hubbies or boyfriends—okay, at least as much as they did.

Love or lifestyle?

In my long coverage of Manila’s lifestyle scene, I’ve noticed how Filipino men have followed the “happy wife, happy life” dictum quite studiously. They allowed their wives not only to shop till they dropped in luxury brand stores, but also to chill there with their shopping cliques.

At one dinner, a cynic said, “Sales of luxury brand stores must go up in direct proportion to the number of men fooling around.” How cynical. What he meant was that the compensatory action of men was to distract their women into shopping more, so they could run free way below the radar.

That might be true, but my designer friend’s early advice had some practical wisdom to it. A marriage should allow the spouses the lifestyle they’re used to, then love becomes less stressful that way.

But—in this era when women know how to earn on their own, and be independent financially, women don’t need to wait for men to bring home the bacon, so to speak. To use one more cliché—women can now have their cake and eat it too. (In many cases, they do make lots of money baking cakes.)

Specifically, they monetize their (shopaholic) passions and addiction to must-have goods by doing vlogs and building tens or hundreds of thousands of followers on their social media, and earning from it. That’s when a woman’s cushy lifestyle/expensive taste pays for itself, even as the woman gets a kick out of it—be it shopping, entertaining, table arrangement, makeup, name it, women don’t ever run out of ideas. (Did I mention posing in their two-piece?)

So in this era, my designer friend’s advice isn’t fully accurate anymore. Women can earn off their lifestyle, whether their men like it or not. And social media followers get a vicarious thrill seeing their posts day after day. That’s yet another case of social media leading to woman empowerment, odd as that might sound.


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A post shared by Small Laude (@smalllaude)


However, that’s not strictly the case with the IG and YouTube sensation, our good friend, Small Laude. Our designer-friend’s advice doesn’t apply to Small—be very clear about that.

Philip and Small Laude during their 25th wedding anniversary celebration: Theirs is a good blend of Filipino and Filipino-Chinese family traditions. (Contributed photo)

Philip and Small Laude during their 25th wedding anniversary celebration

Coming from a traditional and well-off business family from Nueva Ecija, Small married into a traditional Chinese family who owns one of the most successful businesses in the country. She and husband Philip have had and still do have a beautiful, fun marriage, with Philip obviously appreciating and even enjoying Small’s venture into social media. Small has been a stay-at-home wife and mother to their kids, until they’re grown.

To me, that’s not the striking part. What has impressed me—and I’ve told this to Small and her talent agent Jojie Dingcong often—was how Small, who’s not from a Chinese family, has been able to blend successfully into a traditional Filipino-Chinese family. And more than that, she has close ties to her mother-in-law, enough to live with her and later, in a house beside hers. In short, Small married for love (dating back to the couple’s school years, if I remember right), then kept her own funky individuality—enabled and enjoyed her own lifestyle, without apology—and nurtured her own family. Then she discovered how to have fun on camera. She’s loving the digital journey.

So it can be done—marry for both love and lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

Oh, one more thing: when life turns sour, owing whether to love or lifestyle, don’t be tempted to finish off your hubby. You can just unfollow him.

Read more:

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How Mommy said goodbye to Daddy

Malabon: Lolo didn’t care about my reincarnation

About author


After devoting more than 30 years to daily newspaper editing (as Lifestyle editor) and a decade to magazine publishing (as editorial director and general manager), she now wants to focus on writing—she hopes.

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