“I’d marry again if I found a man that had 15 million dollars, would sign over half to me, and guarantee he’d be dead within a year.” ~ Bette Davis
“The first time you marry for love, the second for money, the third for companionship.” ~Jackie Kennedy
Jokes aside, whether you are walking down the aisle for the first, second, or third time…even if you’ve been married for several years…love, money, and marriage is a challenging dynamic for most couples.
Many years ago, as a traditional financial advisor, I conducted financial workshops for engaged couples at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY as part of their Pre-Cana curriculum. The topics I covered were fairly generic and much of what you still see today–fundamentals of investment planning, insurance planning, etc. Nothing was discussed regarding how each person related to and/or felt about money, much less the current money behaviors of the engaged individual. And what of the potential consequences of these feelings and behaviors around money within the context of the marriage? Your relationship with money is exactly where the conversation needs to begin, and preferably before you say “I do”. As individuals, we each have our own description of what money means to us. But, rarely do we share those thoughts and feelings with our partner and/or prospective spouse.
What you think about money and how you treat money has an impact on you, your spouse/partner, and your marriage. Will your current money habits and attitudes work to enhance the vitality and well-being of your marriage–or undermine it? How do you negotiate your core values when money enters the picture? And will these negotiations create greater happiness within the marriage–or create patterns of stress?
Over the years I have been made aware that one of my greatest life lessons involves overcoming patterns of “over impulsivity”. When it comes to money and marriage, I’ve been around the block and back, and more than a few times! I’ve been married, divorced…married again (and again…). I’ve been abundant and bankrupt, both emotionally and financially. In my personal relationships (and in my relationship with money), I have fallen in love hard and fast and most times have jumped in without considering the consequences. Why develop a friendship that fosters compassion, kindness, and appreciation when you can blindly leap, feet first, into the clouds? Truth is, love doesn’t have to be blind…especially when it comes to money and marriage.
What comes to mind is an archetype known as the Hedonist. What is central to the energy of the Hedonist is the absolute necessity to create happiness for our self, first. Recognizing that we alone are our only source of happiness. To depend on another for our happiness is a false belief. The energy of the Hedonist will also put the couple on notice as to warn them of “falling into” the marriage; to lose their sense of Self. When two individuals make a couple, balance is the goal. Balance is not achieved when one partner or the other compromises who they are for the sake of the marriage…and money is the perfect teacher. When two emotionally independent individuals come together, they are empowered to embrace the “good things” in life.
For most couples, talking about money is uncomfortable—I get it. On the other hand, if you want your marriage to flourish, then you need to talk…NOW. If you find that you could use some help, then get help. Hire yourself a money coach (I’m around!), a pre-marital counselor, or enlist the guidance of a religious or spiritual advisor.
The secret ingredient to a healthy and happy marriage? Yep—a healthy and happy relationship with money!