Debt can ruin a marriage. We’ve seen a lot of broken marriages due to unresolved money problems and mostly surrounding on debt. And being married for a few months already, I can say there are lessons that we should learn first before our wedding.
So before you say “Till Debt do us part,” you should at least consider the following.
Lesson #1: You should discuss each other’s financial position
If you’re already seriously considering marriage with your partner, be sure to discuss your financial positions to avoid some unnecessary disagreements. Remember, in the Philippines, whatever property you have before your marriage becomes your conjugal property after. Some would go as far as having a pre-nuptial agreement just to make sure. Well, that’s probably not applicable to majority of us.
Between my husband and I, my husband was the practical one and I’m the one who has the tendency to buy things on impulse. He knows this because I told him I have outstanding balances on my credit card. He doesn’t even have a single loan to his name.
He also knows I give financial support to my parents and pays for the college tuition of my nephew who grew up with us. Since I’m the one with a lot of responsibility, I’m the one with a bigger pressure to earn more and I do. I told him he needn’t worry since my debt and other financial obligations are my responsibility. That’s probably what he was waiting to hear before he proposed.
Lesson #2: Never start your life together on debt
The first big ticket expense for a couple is wedding expense. That is if you plan on getting married in church. This is probably one of my biggest mistakes. I take full responsibility because I’m the one who planned out our wedding. Although we’re both happy and I’m sure even our families are, with the outcome of our wedding, there were some expenses that I now consider unnecessary. We took out some loan to spend for the wedding and through we can pay it off in a year, still we could have avoided it.
Lesson #3: Agree on a how to manage family finances
How much should each share in the family expenses? Who should manage the budget? These should be threshed out before the wedding. Traditionally, in Filipino culture it’s usually the wife who manages family finances. Although since most husband and wife work nowadays, it’s pretty common that each agree to pay a certain family expense and each manage their own finances. Whatever scheme you use on, the important thing is you agree on something and not argue on it when you’re already married.
Getting married is expensive and it’s equally expensive to get an annulment so don’t make the mistake of letting your debt ruin your marriage. As what most parents would advise their children on finances, never fight over money.