Marriage is not all about love!

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Marriage is not all about love!

You marry for love, but don’t think that love is all it takes to stay married. Based on thousands of conversations with stressed-out spouses over the years from newlyweds to couples working on their 20th anniversary an inability to agree on money matters is one of the leading causes of busted  relationships. It makes perfect sense. The simple truth is that money issues are with us every day. Often, many couples cannot agree on how to  save their money and in most homes, talk about any savings in the bank is  foreign.

Even though many couples talk of owning their own home, making that dream a reality is often elusive because putting the money together becomes a problem. Also there’s retirement to worry about. Add in the worry about  being able to afford your children’s college education, or pay off a dangerous credit card balance, you and your significant other are surely not going to get by on love alone.

The reality is that money is front and centre in our lives. So if you and your partner aren't in financial sync, your marriage is definitely going to be in deep trouble.

Money Vows
Here are three money vows all couples need to exchange and embrace. And it doesn't matter here whether you are married or not. Or if you've been together 10 months or 10 years. If you can’t agree on these financial basics you are living a life unnecessary full of stress and discord. You both deserve better, don’t you? Here’s how to add financial intimacy to the emotional intimacy you already have.

No matter who earns what, we will equally share all money decisions.
Money has no power of its own, but most of us make a mess of things by  assigning it all sorts of power, especially in our relationships. The most  damaging dynamic is when one partner makes a lot more than the other and on that basis is allowed to, or expected to, make all couple’s money decisions. Thats relationship insanity. What relationship can thrive with that huge imbalance in power, not to mention the lack of respect that usually comes along with it? This happens all the time with stay-at-home moms. They think that they have to defer to the wage-earner in the family.  A relationship is a partnership, not an employer/employee arrangement. So if there is a stay-at-home parents in the family, you both need to acknowledge that you are equal partners in the family. If society ever got its act together and put a monetary value on the work done by a stay-at-home parent, it would make a lot of mothers millionaires. Another interesting cultural phenomenon that can create financial stress in a relationship revolves around the fact that so many of us are getting  married, or settling into a long-term relationship, later in life. That  means we bring years of financial independence into the relationship. And that can create difficulties over how to merge one’s financial life with a partner. Especially when one of you happens to make a bit more than the  other. Please don’t think that keeping everything separate is going to work. Or that you can just figure things out haphazardly. You need to merge your financial lives in a way that’s both equitable and productive – and that requires a co-ordinated plan. This does not mean you lose your financial independence that should be in addition to, not instead of, your united financial partnership as a household.

We will be financially intimate and still retain our own financial identities.
It is absolutely imperative to merge some of your finances – keeping everything separate hints at an underlying problem with trust – but it is equally important for you both to retain your own financial identities. You may have a joint account for handling all household expenses. But it’s also important for you both to keep a bank and a credit card account separately in your own names. You and your partner become equal partners in all your future debt.

Any debt you had prior to the marriage – be it credit cards, car loans, or mortgage – is not merged when you marry. But all debt taken during the  marriage is yours as much as his or hers, regardless of who did the actual spending.

In fact there should be no “I do’s” until you and your sweetie both appreciate the importance of living a financially responsible life. If your partner can’t see the value in that, then you need to seriously question how this will play out in a marriage. If you do find  poles apart, it’s  time to dig in and work together to resolve any important differences. Don’t attack. Help each other grow and learn, through calm conversations and a lot of listening.

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