Avoiding the Pre-Martial Money Chat is an accident waiting to happen.
Avoiding the ‘money chat’ prior to saying ‘I do’, is an accident waiting to happen. At that intersection of money and truth, the clock is ticking; that avoidance will control every decision you make in that marriage.
The decision to get married is huge, topped only by the decision to have a baby. Getting married becomes legal from the get-go; a blood test is required and a license and a third party to perform the ceremony.
Humph! What is this telling us?
It’s telling us this is a serious decision and needs to be entered into with forethought and caution. People will talk about religion, the desire to have kids, where to live, but avoid the one topic that is often filled with emotions, shame and confusion.
Most often, there is a disparity of assets; the man usually has more than the women, and there is an assumption that the woman will then have children and be their caretaker thus allowing the man to continue to bring financial stability to the family. Nice concept: everyone contributes something of value to this union but why then, is the divorce rate so high?
Someone needs to explain the logic to me of requiring a blood test, license and a preacher to create a union, but does not invite the "silent third partner" (money) to the wedding. Whatever we are afraid of will control us. Trying to avoid such a powerful entity just increases the discomfort and it will reside in between you much like the metaphor of the elephant in the living room.
My belief is that the real reason people avoid pre-marital money chats is because it brings up a mountain of emotions; shame and fear, usually from the woman’s perspective. They come tumbling out of the proverbial closet. So, she stays mum and unconsciously hopes money conversations will stay out of the house, on the sidewalk.
Men, on the other hand, avoid the conversation for many reasons; men never worry about their capacity to earn a living, never worry that they may end up broke and alone, rarely worry about protecting their ‘pack’. Some men have assets they want to keep private; some men don’t really earn what they say they do or it touches off a sense of inadequacy: they don’t earn enough.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave!”
Rarely do parents ask their daughter “did you have a chat about money?” before the wedding. My parents were thrilled I married a "catch"…a stable, Ivy League educated, came-from-a-good-family guy. No one ever asked me about what assets I had or more importantly, my attitudes about money and my expectations. I was the stereo typical woman coming from an environment that was not based on truth, openness and respect. I brought destructive behaviors into the marriage. I did not want to bring up a topic that filled me with shame and confusion.
An essential part of committing ourselves to someone for a lifetime is based upon trust and honesty. In order to build intimacy with our partner, we have to share the ‘dodgy’ stuff; the issues we hide from that make us fearful; the things that make us feel vulnerable, small, and shamed, but are the very things that make us human. They make us emotionally available and predictable, which is how we start to learn about each other and build trust with our partners and more importantly, with ourselves. Poor communication reeks of fear.
True romance is based on reality and really knowing the other person. I believe the divorce rate is so high because people don’t know each other that well. They barely know themselves. Marriage is not just about love and commitment. There has to be a foundation. True love is based on respect and trust. When a woman and man can talk about the "dodgy" stuff before they commit for a lifetime, then the real romance begins, because it is based on depth, compassion, clarity and shared values.
If you're struggling to untangle your emotions from your money, remember It’s NEVER About The Money…Even When It Is!
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