June is a prime wedding month in the Philippines, as it is in most parts of the world. June is also a prime month to get into serious debt. I’m cutting right into the heart of the matter; it is very grim to note that literally thousands of young couples are starting their lives in serious debt.
I know of a couple that recently got married. Their entire wedding expense was “courtesy” of Mr. Mastercard and Mrs. Visacard. P120,000 for the wedding reception, swipe Mastercard, no problem. P80,000 for the bridal gown, swipe Visacard, no problem. Flower arrangements for the church and reception area, swipe Mastercard, no problem. Hey, let’s rent a good hotel room by the bay, P25,000, swipe Visacard, no problem.
By the end of the month, when the bill comes, PROBLEM! Altogether it’s P680,000, give or take a few ten thousands, and there starts a very rough journey of paying everything off at 3.5% interest monthly (assuming you attempt to hit just the minimum payments) or 42% annually. Give or take a few penalties if you miss payments.
“Financial problems can cause irreparable damage to even the most compatible relationships,” said Suzanne Boas, president of CredAbility. “Open and honest communication before you walk down the aisle can identify areas of concern and build a foundation for financial success.”
W-A-K-E U-P! BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO,” SAY “LET’S TALK.”
Talk to your future spouse and settle how money matters will be handled in the future family. Don’t be discouraged if you have different and conflicting views regarding money. You should know that God is able and most often uses differences to make and develop a harmonious relationship. And recognize that being different is not a disadvantage. God puts different gifts and abilities in the marriage, and it takes two people working as one to succeed in the home.
But the key is TALK—communication from the heart. Sit down with your partner, stare deeply into the eyes, and talk about money until you have exhausted the subject. Do not shy away. A lot of your major decisions as a couple will revolve around money. The future marriage hangs by a thread when a difficult, stressful financial situation crops up. Talking right now makes that thread stronger.
(You may need the assistance of a more mature couple to help you get started. If you have that in your family or network, good. If you don’t, then find one ASAP.)
Talk with Total Honesty, Absolute Acceptance, Loving Help and a Kinetic Faith.
Before you get married, know how your future spouse will treat money matters. Honesty between partners is an
absolute. Almost anyone can handle a situation if he or she knows about it and is a part of the planning. Remember, everything is equally shared by both the husband and the wife (unless there exists a pre-nuptial agreement). Everything means all assets, and even all the liabilities. You, as a future spouse, have the right to know your partner’s current financial situation and how he/she will manage that situation.
Financial adjustments for newlyweds are seldom easy. Each is accustomed to their own ways of managing money. Learn to hear and accept each other’s opinions regarding money, BUT find something common that will allow you to start your financial partnership in harmony.
Now, if the problems and the communication gap are very intense, most couples will need outside help to get on the right track. Seeking counsel for marriage or financial problems should be as normal as seeking medical counsel. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22).
Most couples view difficult financial situations as a wedge that will divide them, but God intends it to be one of the glues that bond your love for each other. Everything that happens within a marriage, God has ordained to make the bond stronger. God views difficulties as situations to bring couples together, never apart. He has not only joined couples in good times, but more so through hard times.
God’s Word says, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) In Matthew 19:6, our Lord Jesus says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Talk to your partner as one who helps with love. Every word, every gesture, every action should show your expression of love for each other. It should allow you to grow more into love, never out of it.
I understand this can be difficult, but God assures us that He does not allow us to pass through situations that far exceed our capacity (1 Corinthians 10:13), never through situations that drive us far from His reach.
Talk to God! Pray! Then talk with your partner with the faith that God will work out any difficult financial situation. His aim is to build you both as financially mature individuals AND as a financially mature unit, a team. His aim is to ultimately build your faith in Him.
Nothing, not even financial difficulties, should drive you away from trusting God to work it out through you and your partner. Have the faith and pray the faith that God will bring you peace and harmony in your future home.
God’s very word in Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”