Lets face it, the odds are overwhelmingly not in marriages favor.
More then half of marriages don't end up happily ever after. Some stats say divorce is even higher then 50%.
And while sometimes divorce is the only option for some families, the financial and emotional trauma of a divorce can last for years.
Look I am not a marriage expert. Nor do I think I am.
But coming from parents who were divorced, who both had parents that were divorced, I knew there were some things I might want to be aware of when I finally decided to tie the knot.
What I quickly have learned is there are two really important areas to be aware of….
The Top 2 Causes of Divorce: Money & Communication.
If the top 2 causes of divorce are communication and money, would you want to know that?
I recently read that 85% of millionaires read at least 2 books a month. The average CEO reads over 50 books a year. That very same article mentioned that most employees read less then one book a year.
By no means am I saying that if you read more books you will be the next CEO of the century. But if you wanted to be successful CEO, you would want to know that reading is a key habit for CEO's right?
Well, the same can be said about marriage. If you are aware of the hot topic areas where maybe marriages don't go so well, you can then know how to work, prevent, and cooperate in those areas.
Communicating in a Marriage.
This is hugeeeee.
Learn how to communicate. Know your partners love language. And work hard at the 9 bullets I am about to lay out for you.
I am not a communication expert, I just know what works for Lauren and I. So while this might work us, maybe its something different for you. Here is what I do know – always take marriage advice from someone who has a strong marriage.
My wife and I went to pre-marriage counseling prior to getting married after someone with a great marriage recommended us to do so. Let's be honest, we would have never thought of that on our own.
Crazy to think now, but I think most couples do enter a union sort of blindly at times. There is something to be said about entering marriage on the same page vs on icy waters.
My advice for people getting ready to live with one another – never go to bed mad at each other and realize that you will do some things differently and don't get caught up trying to change the other person.
That is just my personal advice. But pre-marriage counseling and experts in that field taught me lots about communication:
- Learn to make specific requests or complaints
- Listen genuinely
- Validate your partner
- 5 positives for 1 negative
- Personal responsibility always
- Do not attack your partner… “you always”
- Stonewalling (Men) – this is one I had to really work on.
I learned that my ‘tactic' of just ignoring arguments was actually one of the worst things you can do to a woman. It creates distance and isolation for them.
Personally, I quickly realized that maybe I shouldn't do that!
Communication is actually more important then finances. If you can communicate you will talk about finances inadvertently and you will be on the same page.
I actually wrote a great piece for couples and finances: Get on the Same Page Financially
Money and Marriage
Here is what I will say about money and marriage. Get over the fact that most people thing talking about money is taboo.
Not saying you are, but if you are like me from 5 years ago, always worried about what everyone else thinks you will MISS IT.
I always say people's opinions don't pay my bills. There is a difference between opinions and genuine financial or marriage advice. Don't confuse the two.
But people have literally said, “We just don't talk about money as a married couple to avoid issues.” Whatttt?
Seriously, that is just a recipe for disaster. I am not saying to combine bank accounts if you don't want to, or that you have to have one account and talk about every dollar.
But you need to be on the same page as a couple together when it comes to money. Period dot.
Hypothetical Josh & Lauren Student Loan Example.
How do you think this would turn out?
Josh and Lauren get married.
Lauren has six figures worth of student loans.
They never discussed a plan before getting married.
Lauren decides she wants to attack the student loan debt.
Josh decides he wants to keep is huge liability of a truck and wants nothing to do with student loan pay off.
Fast forward several years later. Josh is paying the truck.
Lauren's student loans have grown because of interest and now she wants kids.
And they have no money and very limited options.
Could you imagine if this actually happened? Because it almost actually did. Prior to really getting serious about money back in 2016 this was the current path we were on.
Contrary to popular belief that you can't change, I am glad we both did change for the better.
We have a 5 and 10-year financial plan. In fact, as I type this I want to make them both better. We don't always agree about everything, but we always compromise.
Because we are on the same page we are crushing student loan debt and our goal of having kids that know no financial strife is our goal. I can tell you from experience, seeing parents that deal with financial hardships is not easy for a kid.
In one hand I am super grateful because I am super motivated 99% of the time to do more. I also know what I want to do for my kids in the future as well.. all thanks to my mom always putting us first no matter what.
In the end it boils down to what I always harp on – WHY.
But in order to get to that why, as a couple, communicating and having those hard conversations about money is key! Don't hesitate to talk about money with your significant other. Setup planned meetings to do so.
It is all about doing what is best for each other!
Hope you enjoyed! Do me a favor, use the share links to share with one friend who is married or getting married!
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.