Love and Money: What Makes Marriage

All’s fair in love and war, but what about love and money?

First comes love, then comes marriage, but unfortunately, many newly married couples start their new lives together strapped with debt.  Some bring their own personal debts with them to the marriage; others start racking up credit card bills as they plan their weddings and honeymoons together.

Why? Because they assume that they’ll pool all their financial commitments, debt included. After all, one of the purposes of marriage is the idea that what is mine, is now ours.

That’s not always such a good idea when it comes to debt. Intertwining your finances is seen as a pledge of commitment, but financial decisions need to be made with your head, not with your heart.  Paying for debts incurred by others, usually loved-ones, is one of the most common reasons cited by individuals seeking credit counseling and debt management assistance.

One couple took the plunge – right into $56,000 worth of debt. The husband had a rocky credit history, yet was determined to pursue his dream of starting his own company.  Trying to be supportive, his new wife let him charge to the hilt on credit cards held in her name only.   The husband’s financial history proved prophetic. His business failed, and unfortunately their marriage did as well.  The wife was stuck with the fallout from his shattered hopes – mountains of expensive debt, all in her name.

It’s tempting to put your money where your heart is, but the consequences can be devastating to both your relationship with your loved-one, and your own good credit standing.   The ties that bind should be those of mutual love and respect, not mutual debt.

Overwhelming debt can be devastating, both financially and personally.  However, there is help available.  Credit counseling services can help consumers budget, and work with their creditors to consolidate their bills and arrange a more affordable payment plan, often with lower interest.

To bolster your determination, simply look at your existing monthly financial obligations. If you can’t add in another car payment, or you’ve worked hard to keep your credit card expenses to the minimum, simply explain that it’s not smart for you to take on the risk of more debt – even if he insists that it’s really his, not yours.  In the event of a split, even a legal settlement will not change the fact that your good credit rating is tied forever to any debt you signed or co-signed for.

As new families come together and venture out in sharing their lives together each person needs to consider their values. Money management plays an essential role in your life style and can often determine if you can accomplish your goals. Take some time to think about the following:

  • How important is money in your life?
  • Is it consuming all your thoughts?
  • Does someone, besides yourself, make decisions regarding your finances?
  • Are you concerned about your debts?
  • What effect does money have on your relationships with family members and friends?

In a Forbes magazine survey of the richest people, 37 percent reported happiness levels less than average, according an ABC-TV special report: “The Mystery of Happiness.”  Therefore we could conclude that money does not equal happiness, love, power, freedom, self worth, or security. Money equals dollars and cents.