Fiances and Finances!
Did you notice that there’s only one letter difference? Me, neither, til I typed it!
And perhaps we can use that “n” to our advantage…
Let’s have that “n”mean – never let money come between you! Last week I published my article on starting your marriage on the right foot – Begin As You Intend To Continue. And that is so important.
This week as I was preparing to start working with some people who are preparing to get married, I looked up the word, “Fiance” and found that while it’s current meaning is “betrothed,” its original meaning is from the old French, to promise and is connected to the Latin word for trust or faith.
And isn’t that what two people who have become engaged have done?
Have they not promised something to each other and placed faith in each other as they approach the day of their wedding?
Then, on the day that they wed, “the two become one.” There is no longer his or hers, but ours: our love, our life, our family, our house, our children, and our money…
When we put it that way, it becomes imperative that couples preparing for marriage have critical conversations about money… That includes:
- Paying for the Wedding
- How best to use the wedding gift money
- Career priorities
- Housing preferences
- Debt load (coming into the marriage)
- Assets being brought into the marriage
- Writing and keeping a budget
- Management of emergencies
- How needs of aging parents may have an impact on you
You see, in marriage, we promise to enter into this relationship, this vocation in four ways: freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully. While I could go on forever about each of these it really means that if we want our marriages to succeed, we must first enter into that marriage of our own free will and being unencumbered by selfish desires.
Second, when we exchange vows, we do not say, I take this part of you, but not that – or I give this part of me but not that – in other words… we must give ALL of who we are and what we have to the other if we are giving all of ourselves to that person. I came into my marriage with student loan debt. My (now) wife knew that at the time and understood what that meant in terms of the amount of work to be done to pay it off. And so we work hard together to ensure that we have what we need while paying a debt.
Third we do so faithfully. If we hold back either what we have or what we owe from the start, we have already broken trust with the one we plan on marrying. There will always be something between you… and one of you put it there. By putting it on the table ahead of time and discussing it, you join together in determining the path of how it goes… And so we did. We both had a little savings which we used to pay for our parts of the wedding. We agreed that the gift money would be used for the down payment on a house one day, and my tax return that year paid for our honeymoon five months later.
Fourth, we do so fruitfully. While many people associate that with children (and we have two of those, one grown), fruitful can also be the way we bless others with the increase we have. While our ability to give is limited, we choose our giving carefully to bless those in most need or that advances a cause we BOTH support.
So, we began, in part, as we intended to continue, but not perfectly. But this is where couples need to start – with conversations about their priorities, especially in finances, realizing that while love drives the marriage, real love is a decision based on trust, on faithfulness, and on working together to walk in the same direction.
So too, then for you, if you’re planning on getting married, have the hard conversations now, they only get harder later. If you truly love each other, money issues for better or worse will not drive you apart but will draw you closer together as you plan your path to address them. If you’re already married and facing money issues, it’s never too late to start having those chats.
I wish you every blessing and hope that you realize the one you are marrying (or are married to) is a treasure beyond price bestowed on you by God.