He hid money from his wife, but his tax return spilled the beans.
Being a newly married couple involves adjusting to life as husband and wife, reminiscing about your nuptials, and sorting through what presents to keep and which to return—rarely does it involve preparing for the relationship to end. The sad reality, though, is that the lifespan of a marriage can be shorter than that of the loan taken out for a young couple's new house.
As the child of a divorced family, I got to see first-hand how lawyer bills stack up and how a woman's scorn can lead to a man sleeping in a car without money, food or change of clothes. With this memory in mind, I prepared myself for the unfortunate event that my wife and I would split. Little did I know that my earnest preparation would become fuel for the flame of an almost-divorce.
It all came out during tax season.
I had put money away slowly in a separate account just in case things didn't work out with my wife. By cashing a portion of my paychecks, I was able create small reserve and still keep some for myself for casual spending. (A few days a week at the driving range can add up pretty quick even if you're only hitting a bucket or two of balls.) Saving twenty dollars here and fifty dollars there, I quickly built up a nest egg that needed to be accounted for while filing my taxes.
My wife knew I kept a little cash in my wallet. There was no surprise there. It was when she looked over our tax return that she became suspicious. The amount of money I made and the amount I brought home didn't add up. When she approached me, I had no choice but to tell her the truth.
"While I may love you, the reality of divorce has forced me to prepare for the worst," I told her.
I might as well have slept with her sister; the trust in our relationship thinned like melting ice over a lake.
To her, it seemed like putting away a little cash meant that I wanted a divorce, that I was not happy with our marriage and that I was planning on leaving her with the money I had saved. I considered it more of a safety net than a nest egg. The explanation did not go over well. No matter how hard I tried, I could not convince her that I did not want to leave her.
We fought for days and went nights without talking before we realized that my doubt arose from my parents' divorce. I didn't believe that marriage could last, and I brought that uncertainty into my marriage. But it wasn't our fault that my parents got divorced, and it wasn't our fault that lawyers were so expensive. I closed the account, and stopped going to the driving range for a while.
I am happy to say that our marriage is strong once again. (It helped that I showered her with kisses and gifts from the extra cash I had in "our" account.) The sad part is that while I felt that I wasn't doing anything wrong, I was actually lying to my wife. Hiding money is the same as hiding the phone number of another woman. The truth always comes out, as they say, and it was tax season that revealed my folly.