I’m starting a new series, my husband and I have now been married 8 months so we’re newlyweds still but since I’ve been married before I have something to compare this marriage too. I want to talk a little about marriage and my experience as Matt and I start off in a new marriage. Many people ask ‘how’s married life treating you?’ to married people. That question can come with a variety of answers. Matt and I are still getting to know each other as husband and wife, while we are enjoying it, it has presented us with some challenges. One of the biggest will probably be money. Yes, I’m starting out this series with one of the biggies, moola. It leads to a lot of divorces and broken trust. I know how to do the money thing wrong in a marriage and I’m learning how to do it right. Here’s my take on money in your marriage.
Now I’m going to tell the truth about my first marriage and money, plain and simple neither one of us trusted the other one when it came to money. That began our money problems in that marriage. Whether you’re rolling in the dough or barely scraping by, the first rule of preventing money issues is trust. I personally think this conversation and the kid conversation should be had in the pre-marriage stage. Trust is essential, I’ve heard people say they don’t let their spouses know about the money they’ve spent, fatal mistake, if you’re doing this you need to ask yourself a serious question about the level of trust in your relationship. I am currently not working and probably won’t work again but Matt doesn’t control all the money in this household just because he makes it. He keeps a budget but we have a joint account as well as separate accounts. I’m the only one that uses the separate account, but we each have access to all the bank accounts. I keep a separate account because he finds it easier to budget if I just take money and spend it separately. Matt is very set in his ways so it’s hard to get him to change how he budgets but it works fine for us so we keep it. We also have to inform each other if we spend money on extra items or I take extra money to put in the account I use. We have discussions frequently about the use of money. I have access to the bank account and budget so I’m always assured bills are being paid on time. I had some issues at the beginning of our marriage about my husband being timely with bill paying, that is important to me when I thought maybe he wasn’t we had a long talk about my need to feel secure about that issue. He actually was paying the bills on time but by expressing my needs, we had an open and frank conversation about that subject. Which brings me to my next suggestion regarding money.
Open and frank conversation needs to be had about money, you can’t have money secrets with your spouse. I have a bankruptcy, I am not ashamed of having a bankruptcy that’s what I needed to do and it’s a resource available so I used it and I’m glad I did. I left my previous marriage with a lot of debt and I was open and honest with him about that. Now I know people are plenty judgmental about debt but my thought is a bankruptcy was okay along as you learned a lesson and used your money more wisely. Learning is always my end goal, I can forgive a mistake and even understand it as long as you’ve learned something and are doing things differently. But I could not hide that from him, I had to be honest about my money past and open about my money future to assure him that I would not be repeating that mistake. And because we have to be accountable to one another regarding money, it has become incentive to me about being careful how I spend money. Now I’m not going to lie my husband can certainly spoil me but I don’t let him go overboard. We’ve just made a purchase, a newer car because his 14 year old car finally conked out so that’s another thing added to our budget. We just have to review that budget, adjust it when needed and keep the lines of communication open about our money.
We are still learning and adjusting when it comes to money and our household but I believe our foundations of trust and communication when it comes to money will lead to less issues regarding money in the future and feeling of security. Here are just some tips I have regarding money and your mate:
- Stay open and honest
- Don’t hide your money mistakes
- Have a joint checking, if you’d like you have 2 extra separate accounts if that works for you do it, but don’t try to just have separate accounts it makes for trouble
- Whoever is the best with handling bills and budgets, let them do it whether husband or wife. The other spouse needs access to bills and budgets, don’t just do this blindly
- If you can’t trust a partner with money, I’m sorry you can’t trust them…period
- Discuss all large purchases and if you like discuss all small ones too
- Budget everything down to entertainment and what will go into savings accounts
- Don’t divide bills to pay, all those should come out of joint account, if you do that it will only breed resentment
- Figure out if you live in a community property state, it matters when it comes to money and spending, buying, and debt
I hope this was helpful to those of you starting out in marriages or in the pre-marriage stage. I’ll be back with more on “How’s Married Life?”