What makes someone ‘marriage material’ and what disqualifies one from it?

I was recently told by someone I may or may not have loved, who may or may not have loved me (details are still foggy, and unfortunately, not forthcoming, since we aren’t on speaking terms – again – and for good), that I am, in fact, not marriage material, and ultimately it’s why we couldn’t be together .

According to what I could piece together from what he was willing to say about it (very little) and what a mutual friend was willing to tell me about it (slightly more than very little), his definition of ‘marriage material’ is pretty short and succinct: have a career. be financially stable. I can be disqualified for both of these, and while I won’t harp on or elucidate to the point of exhaustion his shortcomings, I also don’t think he is up to snuff on either one.

I currently have two part time jobs: one at a store I’ve worked at for years (actually, longer than I’ve known him) doing a job I don’t particularly love, but it pays the bills for the most part, or would if I would stop buying sushi and Lush products and issues of the Believer; the other is actually in my field of study (graphic design) before I even graduate and while it’s new and foreign and a little (read: lot) scary, I absolutely love it and it’s already starting to pay off in terms of getting me more work.

By the way, did I mention I’m in school so I can have a career I love, when I’m ready for it?

I may not be marriage material right this very second. I’m a bit of a late bloomer, and have always been upfront and forthcoming with this information. I may have a messyish house and never wake up on time and always forget to do laundry and not pay my bills on time and spend too much money on things that aren’t absolutely essential and not know 100% what I want to do in life for the rest of my life. I am an excellent cuddler/snuggler, baker, lover, champion for my friends and loved ones when they are down, dreamer, sometimes doer, font of myriad worthless facts, occasional cook, typist, back-rubber, letter-writer, kisser, sometimes layabout, singer of silly songs, hugger, babysitter, guacamole-maker, important phonecall-maker, sports-watcher, finder of things on the internet, and all around good, caring, loving person. These are qualities I consider more telling of a person’s worthiness of love than how or where they work.

That I am not working 80 hour workweeks in a ‘career’ I hate should be considered a boon.

But I do vacillate – and often – about my feelings on this. Last night I was convinced that he was 100% right, and that I’m not marriage material, and I won’t ever be. Today I’m more sure that I didn’t fit his very strict and stoically archaic idea of marry-able, and that’s okay. I know people who are far less stable than me who don’t have anywhere near the sort of job security I have who’ve gotten married and are beyond happy. So I lead a bit of a bohemian lifestyle, with the drawing and the designing and the reading and the drinking and the crafting (and sometimes the drunken crafting) and the occasional sequestering and the mismatching furniture and the not-quite-timely bill-paying and the somewhat lax cleaning, and that is absolutely great. I’ll consider it all my antidote to growing old, not a deterrent to finding love.

I’ll further consider his idea of ‘marriage material’ to be one based not on the actual qualities of a person and her character, but on how much money they stand to make and are able to save, which is fine for some people, but obviously not for me.

Besides, I’m worth marrying for my banana muffin* recipe alone.

*also guacamole, and mac n cheese