Simply put just as there can be no life without a healthy blood in circulation, your marriage without money can be miserable because almost everything in marriage has some bearing on money.
Most partners do not discuss money before they marry although money is critical in marriage. Some think it is not romantic to talk about money before marriage and tragically some think love will conquer all challenges in marriage.
Soon they find marriage is difficult to handle and adding money ‘palava’ to marriage simply increases the entropy in marriage.
This may explain why global research shows 85 per cent of couples fight over money and why the majority of the most serious conflicts in all marriages are about money.
In Ghana, money is the leading cause of divorce. Your surest bet to reducing money problems is to talk everything about marriage with your prospective spouse.
What to discuss
Talk about your attitude to money. Issues about money are not taught in schools or churches. We therefore tend to grow up with the lifestyle of our parents. If your parents spent money lavishly you tend to do the same even when you may not have a buffer.
In the same way those who grow up in homes where parents were ‘hard’ with money tend to do the same even when they have enough to spare.
Know how you and your lover earn, spend and save. Be sure you are comfortable with your lover’s financial attitude.
Talk about your obligations and commitments
You may have to pay back some loans or take care of younger siblings in school. Talk about how that will impact on your marriage finances and how to cope with it.
If you have some ‘away’ child let your lover know and plan how to take care of him or her. Make sure you do not hide any financial burden which could threaten the financial plan of your marriage.
Talk about your contributions for the upkeep of the home. You may consider three options; shared or joint account in which you consider your incomes as bulk, spend and save what is left.
This builds trust and shows the power of unity.
You may opt for a household system in which you have separate accounts but contribute an agreed proportion of your incomes into a joint account for home maintenance, purchases, unexpected expenses and future plans.
You may also opt for an independent system in which each keeps what he or she earns but undertake to handle different expenditure of the home.
For example a woman may take care of food while a man takes care of the rent.
Make sure you agree on how to take care of the home before you marry. You may create chaos if you wait till you marry.
Talk about who manages the family finances. This could go to the one who has better financial management skills, interest, self-control and honesty.
Studies, however, show women are better financial managers of the home. A man as head of the family must know what happens to the money in the home but must trust his wife to do a good job of being the care-taker.
Talk about your goals.
This includes your short and long term plans like children, jobs and retirement. Know what is urgent and what can wait.
You can plan to buy a land within the first three years and move into your own home within 10 years of marriage.
Talk about your wedding plans. Make sure you spend within your means. Many have incurred heavy debts for ostentatious weddings and have carried the burden far into the marriage.
Appreciate a big wedding does not necessarily make a big marriage. See your wedding day as a day of thanksgiving to the Lord for calling you and a response to His vocation of marriage.
Talk about money before marriage. One of the greatest risks you can take is not to talk about money before you marry. You simply invite termites into your garden before you grow your marriage.
On the other hand, studies show partners who discuss money before marriage build a stronger foundation for marriage and minimise money challenge which is the greatest threat to the stability of the home.
Your money can be a friend or a bad master, a source of security or anxiety, love or hatred and freedom or yoke.
Your best bet to get the best out of money is to discuss everything money before you marry so that you can ease yourself into marriage, God’s greatest gift to mankind.
Source: Dr John Boakye