A touchy subject in the dating and relationship world is money. When joining lives together, wherever you and the other person is at financially is significant. Basically, there are two main components of this issue: income and debt. Adding to these two issues is credit score. When a person’s income/assets are notably greater than their debt, the better off they are financially and have a “positive net worth”. Conversely, the greater the person’s debt relative to their income and assets, the worse off they are financially and are considered “in debt”. And a person’s credit score matters as well. The higher the credit score, the better their ability to get loans in the future as needed: for houses, cars, other investments. Considering where both sides are at financially is practical, common sense, and important. Along with how other standard issues like looks and how fun a person is, their financial situation matters. A lot.
Relational Possibilities with Money:
*Discrepancies: When one person comes into the relationship with strong finances and the other comes in with notable debt and/or a limited income (or even no income), this discrepancy needs to be navigated. Does the person with the better financial situation have a generous, sharing attitude towards the other? Or do they possess a miserly, mistrusting, negative attitude towards the other? And is the person with debt and/or the limited income prospects willing to work on this issue and improve their situation? Or are they mostly hoping that the more financially secure person will take care of them and compensate? Also, is there a need for a prenuptial agreement?
These issues should be discussed openly and thoroughly before a marriage, preferably in pre-marital counseling. If there can be both a mutual understanding and an agreement on this subject, this difference can be navigated and negotiated. It will probably go badly in the near future if this issue is avoided and not dealt with. Assumptions and misunderstandings will likely lead to eventual disaster on this subject.
*Both Struggling: When both partners are struggling financially, at least both sides are roughly in the same place. At least both partners come in “equally yoked”. However, because financial stress, strain, and pressures can eventually split many couples apart, staying in a struggling way financially is a poor plan. What will one or both sides to do improve their financial situation? Does someone need to go back to college or a trade school? In this pairing, the couple needs to have a plan for improvement, along with what role each will take to help promote this improvement. This subject can be addressed with a pre-marital counselor, a financial advisor/planner, a career counselor, or anyone else that can offer support and ideas.
*Both Prosperous: When both sides come in with notable assets and/or earning potential with minimal or no debt, this is the ideal situation. However, stress, contention, misunderstandings, and assumptions are still a risk with this arrangement since money is such a sensitive subject. There is a need for open communication and an overall agreement on what will be the financial arrangement: who will pay for what, will there be separate or joint bank accounts, and do we need a prenuptial agreement? Will we be open or private with our assets? Talking to an attorney and/or a financial planner or advisor together can be helpful in working out the details. Besides the need for a true workable agreement on the financial issue, discussions on this subject really highlight how generous or non-generous a person really is as well. And how practical versus “spendy” they might be, and how generous or practical/miserly they may be.
We understand as members of the church that it is generally understood that it is the man’s primary responsibility to provide and the woman’s primary responsibility to nurture and raise the children. It says so in the 1995 Proclamation to the World. However, when merging your lives together, all three possible financial combinations of partners still need to be understood, discussed, and navigated, whatever you ultimately decide. Everyone’s situation is a bit different and requires some coordination and collaboration. When both sides feel that a financial agreement is truly agreed upon, many different financial arrangements can work and be used. What matters is how these differences are navigated and negotiated. Finally, although money matters, matter, the other qualities they bring to the relationship should be taken into account as well. This especially relates to their personality, spirituality, and other life factors.
A marriage is called a marriage because you are literally “marrying” (combining) your lives together—money and otherwise. Now is the time to get your financial affairs in order in preparation for a future marriage. Be responsible yet fair and reasonable. Be an asset and not a liability the best you can, both monetarily, relationally, and otherwise. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).