I often hear brides to be talk about their engagement party, the wedding, 'the dress', members of their bridal party, flowers, décor, the rings, etc. The funny thing is, I rarely hear them talk about life after the wedding and the honeymoon -- you know, real life!
When I became engaged, my church required us to attend a marriage prep course in order to be allowed to get married. Ten couples attended the two-day weekend retreat and because of that time together two couples decided to call off their wedding. I can hear you asking yourself, "but why?" Because we talked about money, trust, communication, having -- or not having children and all the grown up stuff that comes along with The Wedding!
Once the wedding and honeymoon are over the two of you will settle into your new life together and along with that comes playing house. Paying the bills, deciding if you are going to have joint or separate bank accounts, discussing who will handle the household responsibilities and all the other fun stuff that comes along with being a married couple. What if you are marrying for the second or third time and bringing together two families? How is it that some of the most important things soon-to-be wed couples should be discussing never seem to be discussed before the wedding?
After 25+ years in the financial services industry, I have found that there are some common financial mistakes along with some other things that keep rearing their ugly head with newlyweds (and long time married couples as well by the way). Repeatedly, I have heard people say, it was money that broke us up, it was the kids that broke us up or my spouse cheated on me. Well, I cannot help with the last reason but I can think I can help with the other two.
At any age, engaged couples need to be having the courageous conversations with their soon-to-be better half if they hope to succeed at the marriage thing. If you would like to have a better than average chance of not being a divorce statistic here are a few things I suggest you discuss before you even set the wedding date.
- Did your parents openly discuss money in your house when you were growing up?
- If so, were they positive or difficult discussions?
- What is your current relationship with money? Are you a spender or a saver?
- What are your individual credit ratings?
- Will you have a pre-nuptial agreement drawn up?
- Will you live on a budget as a married couple?
- Will you have joint or separate bank accounts?
- Will you have life insurance in the event of a premature death?
- What about critical illness insurance in the event one of you is stricken with an illness and cannot work?
- What about disability insurance if you cannot work due to an unforeseen disability?
- Will you have wills drawn up in the event one of you dies?
- How will you make major financial decisions together?
- Do you want children? If so, when and how many? How will you bring them up? Do you both intend to be hands-on parents? Will one of you stay home? If so, which one?
- If this is not your first marriage, what financial baggage might you be bringing into the new marriage?
- If you are bringing together a blended family, how will that work?
- If you are caring for elderly parents, how will that work?
Married life is wonderful and I highly recommend it, but it also brings with it more than just moonlit walks on the beach, romance, wine and roses. With it come the day-to-day realities of trying to juggle work and home life, money issues, parenting challenges, late nights, sickness, and sometimes unfortunately loss.
To begin your marriage on an open and strong foundation I invite you to visit Jane Blaufus to order my book WITH THE [STROKE] OF A PEN®, Claim your life. The book is full of tips and tools to help you get the 'courageous conversation' started and to set yourself up for a long and happy life together. Please follow me Twitter and on Facebook.
The country music couple, married since 2011, said they don't go more than two weeks without seeing each other. "We really just hang at our house and spend time together just as if we're at home in Oklahoma," Lambert said.
What's Khloe Kardashian and her basketball player husband, Lamar Odom's, marriage secret? They always put each other first. "Nowadays people don't take marriage as seriously as they should, but when you share bank accounts and homes and assets, it is serious. For me, I like to think that divorce is not an option," Kardashian told People. "I'm a modern girl, but you should put your husband first. And you need a partner who will do the same for you."
The Smiths, married since 1997, have admitted that they have an "open" marriage, which they say allows them to accept "what's natural." "You're going to be attracted to people. In our marriage vows, we didn't say 'forsaking all others.' The vow that we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact," Will said. "If it came down to it, then one can say to the other, 'Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I'm not going to if you don't approve of it -- but please approve of it.'"
After 24 years of marriage, Kyra Sedgwick says that she and hubby Kevin Bacon keep their relationship strong by checking in with each other "all the time." "I think that's ultimately the best for the kids, because they feel safe when they know Mum and Dad are good, enjoying each other's company and wanting to be alone together," she said in an interview with Redbook magazine.
Hilary Duff says she and husband of two years Mike Comrie, a hockey player, spend a lot of time apart due to their conflicting schedules -- but that's what makes their relationship work. She told Hollyscoop in 2011 that it's important to have your own "thing" going on. "Now he's here for the summer and you know, it's an adjustment to all of a sudden being here together all the time and live in the same house when we are used to doing our own thing all the time. It's good to have your friend, go out and have girl dinners. Enjoy your time together but not like suffocate each other."
Tori Spelling recently gave birth to her and hubby of six years Dean McDermott's fourth child, and it seems McDermott loves when Spelling's pregnant. A friend of the couple explained to Hollywood Life, "There is something about Tori being pregnant that makes her even more desirable to Dean. He is crazy about her and totally treats her like a goddess. When she was away promoting her new book, he wrote poetry for her and then emailed it to her."
To keep the spark alive in his seven-year marriage to Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck says that they make time to go on romantic trips -- without their three children. "My wife came out with me to Paris, which was a very big deal. We had a day there and then she flew here to London and we had dinner. So that was two days which was kind of like our first real date night for a long time," Affleck said.
Posh and Becks are still going strong after 13 years of marriage, and Victoria thinks it's because they spend so much time apart. "Maybe that's why we're not bored with each other," she told Hollyscoop.
The country superstars revealed their eight secrets for a happy marriage to People magazine in 2011. Some of their rules? Be your spouse's biggest cheerleader, 'fess up to mistakes and "don't jump to the divorce place," McGraw said.
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