If you’re married, engaged to be married, ever thought about getting married, or if you’re divorced, remarried or alive at all, you already know this: love and money don’t always mix. Not all couples fight over money, but lots do. It’s no surprise, when you have two people coming together and merging not only their hearts, minds and bodies (hopefully…), but also their checking accounts, savings accounts, investments, views and expectations about money, good financial habits, bad financial habits, FICO scores…and so on. It’s hard enough to combine two totally separate lives under one roof…then throw money into the mix and you might as well throw gasoline NEAR the campfire.
The best advice I ever heard on the topic was to treat marriage like a business…something that romantic types are cringing at right now. There’s nothing romantic at all about that. It makes marriage sound terrible. Not the way I think about it, though. What happens when you start a business? You talk about money pretty much from the start. It’s not a secretive topic that never gets brought up or addressed. Can you imagine what THAT business meeting would be like?
But something funny happens when you mix your heart and finances. Not funny “ha-ha”, but funny odd. For me, growing up, money was used (at times) as a sign of love…not that I’m complaining. We’d go see Grandma a couple of times a week and she’d slip my brother and I a ten or a twenty dollar bill when we were really little and she’d say “shhh, don’t tell your mom and dad”. Ok, your secret is safe. The older we got, the bigger her gifts, like a new car at 16 for each of us. Maybe that was her way of showing us how much she loved us. (I don’t see anything wrong with that if you have the means and you are also grounded in other ways.) But you can imagine how difficult it was for me once I grew into adulthood and into adult relationships, realizing that not everyone did those things. I’m pleased to say I’m (mostly) over that little phase, but it was a bit of an adjustment.
How great would it be if — by law — every married couple had to hire a full-time Marriage CEO. That person would deal only with the financial aspect of the marriage, therefore taking all of the pressure off of the two lovebirds who could then focus solely on being nauseously fabulously in love and nothing else. You’d take your CEO places with you, like out to fancy dinners and when you got the check, you’d hand it over to your Marriage CEO and he’d give you a look like, “Um….you’re pushing it here”…and the waiter would say, “Who’s the random guy in the suit next to your wife, eating a PB&J?”… and you’d say, “that’s Oscar, our marriage CEO. Give him the check when we’re done.”
What a world that would be.
Hey, mama can dream, can’t she?