Saturday, April 23, 2011

Don't Marry Until You Can Discuss Money!

by Helga Hayse

Your wedding is in six weeks. You've tried to talk about money
with your fiancée for the last few months and he continues to
find a way to shut down the conversation. You're especially
panicky because last night you had this conversation:

You: "Honey, our wedding is in six weeks and I'm feeling very
uncomfortable because we've never really talked about money and
how we'll handle it after we're married."

Your fiancée: "We did talk about it, sweetheart. Lots of times.
Aren't I paying for most the wedding expenses? And didn't we
agree we'd take care of the details after we get back from our

You: "Yes, but money is such an important part of marriage and I
think we should clarify some things before we marry."

Your fiancée" Why? I love you; you love me. I'm starting to feel
you don't trust me."

Big red flag here! Talking about money won't get any easier
after you're married.

Consider this - The financial part of your marriage isn't about
trust. It's about equal participation and financial transparency
for both of you.

You have to be financially intimate because once you say "I Do",
you become one-half of a legal and financial partnership.
Whatever your husband is doing financially, you're doing it too.
Your fiancée should honor your need and desire to discuss money
before the wedding. He should be welcoming your interest and
desire to participate, especially if he believes you are an
equal partner.

Many women have asked me about the line between holding back
financial information and abusive behavior by a spouse. Both
result in a lack of financial information. Withholding financial
information from a wife who asks about it is disrespectful and

If you choose not to ask, that may not be smart, but it's your
choice. If you ask, but your husband won't tell you, that is a
form of emotional abuse. You may have access to marital funds,
reasonable mobility and buying choices. You may be frustrated by
your husband's behavior and attitude, but unlike financial abuse,
you won't be consumed by fear and financial restriction.

Financial abuse takes withholding behavior one step further.
It's designed to isolate you into a state of complete financial
dependence. The abuser is not out of control. He knows what he's
doing. Other people may find him charming and sensitive and he
can adapt his behavior to the social setting.

But his objective is to isolate you and make you totally
dependent on him financially. The way he does that is to cut you
off from all access to funds and information unless he provides
it to you.

Financial abuse can often lead to physical abuse as well. It
happens within all age ranges, educational levels, ethnic
backgrounds and financial levels. The rich socialite who lives
in the largest house in the best neighborhood is as likely to be
a victim of financial abuse as the poorest wife in the toughest
section of town.

When you're intelligent enough to sense a red flag before your
wedding because you want to talk about money before marriage,
you are acting responsibly. But your fiancée is already showing
you that money is not an easy subject for him.

Ask yourself if there are any other things you can't discuss
comfortably before marriage. Whatever those things are, count on
the fact that they'll be bones of contention after you're
married. And you won't have nearly the flexibility you have
before the wedding.

Be honest with yourself . You may be marrying the wrong person.
Going into marriage with red flags is like skiing downhill
blindfolded. You wouldn't do that either, would you?

Helga Hayse is author of "Don't Worry about a Thing, Dear" - Why
Women Need Financial Intimacy. She recommends that both engaged and married women read her book to discover the keys to
financial intimacy. You can find her book and her frequently
updated blog at

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