Continuing with Eric’s list…
A Christian man that I work with, Eric, knows that I blog here and wanted to share with you, as a married man, the 5 things he thinks a couple should talk about before they get married.
Some of these you might talk about in pre-marriage counseling. Some of these you might just naturally talk about (or experience) in your dating days as you get to know one another. There isn’t an option to not talk about or experience these things. You will have to eventually. The question is one of timing: do you want to deal with them before marriage or after marriage, where the risk of hurt and pain is much greater?
These aren’t theological issues – which are important, but these are the practical, day-in-day-out issues that really affect a marriage. Since his list is so great and each item is worthy of discussions, I’ve separated them into 5 different posts. For the most part, I’ve left them exactly as he wrote them.
Money matters. A lot. The mechanics of money is easy – it’s a 2-second discussion to decide who is going to write the checks and physically pay the bills. But money philosophy, budgeting, lifestyle choices, long-term/short-term, rent vs. buy, those can be long and painful discussions.
That said, most people are either spenders or savers, and it’s important to know who is what. My wife and I are both spenders. She’s quicker to spend than I am (see point 1), and I have ZERO concept of saving money. That shows up in the overall big picture, and while a balance here is nice, it can also be extremely frustrating for both parties.
(As a side note – 2 financial keys for your marriage are discipline and openness. Lack of financial discipline [aka the leaky wallet] will stress your marriage like nothing else, and secrets about money [hidden credit cards, misdirection] may seem small, but ALWAYS blow up, and by the time they hit the surface are bigger than you could ever imagine.)
I think a lot of couples keep separate money accounts because it’s easier. She has her money. He has his money. Rarely the two shall meet. And it is easier to do that. But easier doesn’t mean good. In that case, the couple is taking an opportunity to not communicate, to not share, to not become one. Yeah, having budget conversations isn’t the most fun that you’ll have, but it will very quickly show you characteristics and qualities that exist in you. Money shows you your priorities and tendencies.
We’ve, thus far, been pretty blessed not to have major, major conflicts over money, but we definitely disagree sometimes. My husband is more aggressive in his investing strategies than I am sometimes comfortable with. He isn’t wrong. I’m not wrong. Our individual thoughts on money highlights the fact that I really like security more than potential fast growth. (Pretty typical of women!) He looks at the long-term more often (like retirement) where I’m more concerned with the immediate future (getting that mortgage paid off!) For us, money discussions is the things that highlight our differeces. Rather than sweeping them under the rug, we address them. I imagine though that this will become more a struggle for us as we’re expecting a baby, which means our income will change, our housing needs will change, our savings needs will change. It’ll bring up a whole new set of things to discuss.
Are you a saver? Spender?