Fortunately, my life has afforded me the opportunity to travel much of this world, especially the United States. And while it is true that diversity is the spice of life, there is one thing that I’ve found that is the foundation of most communities, and that is family, and traditionally, the heart of this social institution has been marriage. Now of course, and rightfully so I might add, the definition of family has extended far beyond the traditional sense of the word to include those closest in our lives in how we choose to define them and no longer relies solely on a marriage.
But the truth is, people still get married, or consciously coupled if you prefer. And the bigger truth is, people still get divorced. By last count, the divorce rate in America was hovering around 67%. That means that out of 10 couples, almost seven of them will wind up being divorced. Those aren’t good odds if you’re thinking about walking down the aisle any time soon. Great if you’re a divorce lawyer though! But this doesn’t mean we should just forget about marriage altogether. I mean, the tax breaks alone are enough to make me hum Pachelbel’s “Canon in D!” And yeah, there’s that love thing, too…
Which brings us to the #1 reason people get divorced in America in the first place, the big M-O-N-E-Y! I certainly don’t mean to suggest this is the only reason people get divorced, but study after study shows that at the root of things, it’s certainly the biggest reason. More often than not, two people decide to tie the knot without really knowing each other’s financial situation. Or worse yet, they throw caution to wind and ignore it altogether. Love, after all, will be enough to see them through. If only it were that simple. For some of us it is, but for most of us (again, 67% of us) it’s not.
The truth is that sooner rather than later, couples fight over money, whether they have it or not. They simply are just not always on the same page when it comes to how they spend, or how they save money (especially when one of them doesn’t have a job, but that’s another article) and they eventually go their separate ways. So what can be done to avoid this abysmal pain?
Well, the good news is that not all hope is lost and the answer is simpler than you might think. And that answer is (drum roll please…), COMMUNICATION! That’s right ladies and gentleman, all you have to do is just sit down with one another and talk about it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have all of the answers right away, but just starting to talk about your finances will go a long way toward helping your marriage.
Truth is, money is a sore subject for most people nowadays, but don’t let that stop you. To be sure, it’s not about how much money you have, or don’t have. Not at all. It’s just about knowing where you stand at first, and then you can go from there. “Knowing is half the battle” after all (thank you, GI Joe). Once you guys come together and know where you are, then you can decide on things such as where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. Plus, you can always make it easy on yourselves and seek out the advice of a financial expert to help you with the last two things. All you first have to do first is talk about it. If you have doubts, try it just once and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at the relief you feel. So let Bon Jovi live on a wing and a prayer, while you do yourself a favor and have a conversation about money with your significant other today. You’ll be glad you did. And then listen for that little bell ringing telling you there is one less divorce lawyer in the world!