Wedding planning — and paying — can be a nightmare. Who pays for this? Who buys that? Big decisions come with big dollar signs; decisions you'd like to make as "the happy couple". But what if it's not quite working out that way? Should you lace up your trusty Nikes and stretch your hamstrings?
We say, "Yep!" if you observe these three signs:
1. Tight Lips.
If he won't talk, you'd better walk. Young relationships are all about sharing and talking and talking and sharing — learning all you can about your cutie pie. But what if your future spouse says he's not comfortable talking about something "personal", like his approach to money? Double knot your laces and run!
You may not realize it now, but every day of your marriage you will encounter some type of money matter to navigate.
Should you have your daily coffee at home or from Starbucks? Take a tropical vacation or watch The Travel Channel? Enjoy dinners out or be content with home-cooked fare? Rock last season's fashion or this week's new trend? Money choices pop up every day. If he won't talk about money now, each and every conversation you have going forward will be a struggle. Don't struggle; start sprinting instead.
2. Sneaky Behavior.
If he's hiding — or trying to hide — money decisions from you while you're dating, you can anticipate a marriage plagued by financial infidelity. If he's willing to lie about how much he spent in Atlantic City during boy's weekend, or you're not sure where, exactly, his money is coming from, or he laughs about credit cards being somebody else's problem... you've got a problem.
Financial infidelity describes the act of lying about money, hiding money, secretly hoarding money, controlling money, or any behavior that involves one partner being less than honest with the other about financial issues. It doesn't have to involve a lot of money, but at the root of financial infidelity, you find a lot of dishonesty.
Assume your sweetie is on his best behavior now. So if he fudges the numbers, tells little white lies, or tries to avoid responsibility for his behavior now, pick your favorite fist-pumping playlist and go for a run. A long one.
3. Inflexible attitude.
A recent CNN article reminds couples knee-deep in wedding planning "it's all champagne toasts and rose petals...until the bills start rolling in." This article lists the rules for "who pays for what", but even they point out the "traditional divisions" only offer "guidance". There's room for compromise. So will he? Would she? If your intended isn't willing to discuss wedding expense compromises (and definitely not who controls the remote), expect that inflexible attitude to take up residence in your marriage and on your couch.
Contrary to the Jerry Maguire "you complete me" mantra, a great relationship is not about completion; it's about compromise. Seeing things differently provides discovery and balance to a relationship, unless your mate never, ever gives an inch toward your way of thinking.
Attitudes about money are no different. If they think they're always right, they're actually wrong.
Every individual approaches money from a unique viewpoint, and more often than not couples come at it from opposite ends of the spectrum. With money decisions to be made every day, it's not surprising that couples clash over money, and often. It's like a constant pop quiz you're bound to fail, unless you and your spouse can compromise.
Before you dig in your heels, let the tension mount, and start duking it out, identify your different approaches to money. That way you can start to compromise with understanding and purpose. Scott is a Secondary Security Seeker and I am a Secondary Risk Taker, so when Scott shares my excitement about one of my "out there" ideas, I know he's giving of himself and compromising his initial instinct to honor me. It does not mean we run with every idea I have, although he admits the living room does look better completely rearranged (and I honor him by not asking to rearrange it every week).
You don't have to run from your relationship if you can openly share your thoughts on money, stop all sneaky financial behaviors, and look for opportunities to compromise. You've come this far — you can do this! We genuinely hope you hang up your running shoes, start out on the right foot, and enjoy your life together... for richer or poorer.
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Creators of The 5 Money Personalities™
Scott & Bethany Palmer, The Money Couple, are regulars on national TV and radio and speak internationally about The 5 Money Personalities™. To learn more about your Money Personalities, get FREE resources, and take the free, scientific quiz, visit TheMoneyCouple.com or pick up a copy of their book The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language.
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