Money is one of the greatest stressors in most marriages, but especially in second marriages it can be that much more challenging. It’s extremely important to talk about your financial expectations, goals, dreams, and plans. Sometimes it’s easy to carry over money troubles from your past marriage. Hannah did just that. When they were first married, whenever Tim tried to develop a budget and work on their finances with her, Hannah resisted.
“Although we talked about our money expectations a little before we got married,” Tim says, “we just didn’t have a good long-term plan. So after we married, I tried to figure it out.”
“I thought he was trying to control me,” Hannah admitted, “but now I know that Tim just wanted us to get out of debt and be responsible. Early on, I thought he was trying to blame me for spending money.”
“It took a long time for Hannah to realize that I wasn’t attacking her,” Tim says. “Because of the experiences she had before, I had to show her that she was safe with me and that we could work together. She had to accept the idea that we’re a team.”
“When you both have the same expectations,” Hannah says, “it’s amazing what you can do. Because of this, we don’t fight about money anymore. We also realized that childcare was getting too expensive, so we decided that I should quit work, stay home, and care for the kids. Now we live on one income, and that’s a new adjustment—with new expectations.”
Whether it’s your first marriage or fourth, money expectations—and any baggage that may linger from challenges you’ve had with money—should be talked about and dealt with carefully. You may even need to have a third party help you with the discussion and help you set up a plan of action to solve any difficulties. Whether it’s a pastor, mentor, older couple, or financial advisor, others can help you look past emotions, blind spots, and weaknesses and help you be successful in this area of your marriage.
Be careful not to sweep financial challenges under the carpet or they will come back to bite you one day!
Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.