“The toughest lesson I had to learn involved my marriage. We have to talk about our money all the time. This is why it’s important to discuss the topic of handling finances after marriage.”
A little bit about my first year of marriage
Newlyweds usually understand that eventually, both partners have to talk about money. In our marriage, I made the mistake of letting my husband be completely in charge of the finances. We weren’t married that long before I realized something wasn’t right. No one had taught me about the transition of our finances after marriage.
Now, my husband had never lived on his own. He’d never lived with anyone else and was never ever in charge of bills either than his cell phone bill growing up. Unlike me where I had lived on my own for a few years, paid my own bills and saved my own money.
It wasn’t long before my blinders were lifted from me but it was too late, I was down 2000 dollars, in debt, and possibly unable to make rent. I wish someone taught me about finances after marriage. I had no idea what was going on in our bank account, and I knew better yet, well, I learned a tough lesson, Never let the responsibility for your finances rest solely to one partner.
When I checked my bank account I was in trouble. I was angry, and when I faced my husband all I can tell was that he tried his best. I couldn’t blame him or be upset with him. He thought he was doing the right thing.
He wanted me to be happy, and couldn’t bear to tell me anything was wrong.
How did I not divorce my husband?
I’m not sure if I’m a stronger woman but I know a lot of ladies would consider his actions unforgivable but to me, I knew his background. I also knew that we were married and that this mistake wasn’t going to be the last one.
I knew that I was going to make mistakes especially, in our finances.
After this experience, you would think I would learn my lesson but I really didn’t. Our biggest challenge in our marriage was communication about our finances. Anytime I brought things up, my husband would get angry and avoid talking about it. It was impossible to discuss money with him.
I couldn’t handle the way he spent money. He wasn’t an avid spender, He had the habit of spending “future money”.
Let me explain this. So, My husband would be waiting for a check of $1000. We would have $1000 in our account and be waiting for our landlord to withdraw $1000 for rent yet to my husband, He’d want to spend his $1000 that AREN’T in the account yet. This drives me crazy.
Albeit, I’m not perfect. I spend here and there but I spend money that’s in the account aside money that is set for bills and our savings. My husband works too hard to spend money that hasn’t appeared on the account yet and it’s my goal to break that habit of his.
Now, I can rant about my husband’s financial flaw, and our mistakes early on our marriage but I rather focus on what we did to fix this problem.
Taking control, for now
Since it dawned on me to be the more organized person in the marriage when it came to responsibilities, I didn’t want to leave everything to my husband. I took back control over our taxes, tithes, and simplified our accounts.
Yet even with these changes, he was still leading us into negative bank accounts, and late rent payments.
I was so fed up, but I grew more and more patient and trusting with God. I then began to pay off our debt after we built our income up and got our own place. We paid of ur mattress, his credit cards and built up our savings he was able to see a difference in is finances and he was able to see what we could do with the money we did have.
After this realization, he was able to talk about money.
We were able to pay off things together and talk about what we want to do next with our money and we’d even go into detail about our groceries and what kind of steak we’d buy from which bodega.
Finally, what I’ve been wanting from our relationship was the ability to bring up finances to my husband without arguments.
It took a lot of time, 4 years to be exact, where he can respect my choices with money and I can be more open to other risks he likes to take with money. Finally, our finances after marriage are better, it only took us 4 years!
You got to realize that your partner can’t do it
If you feel as if it’s impossible to get control of your money, I say if you feel you can handle it, take control. Fix your finances, and don’t let your ‘weaker’ spouse have full control until you fix everything and begin to trust them again with money.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you hide money, or refuse to share financial information with your spouse but it may mean taking away the debit card and giving your spouse a weekly cash allowance for food and other necessities they may need.
Keep discussing your finances with your spouse. If they yell at you make sure to talk calmly. If they get heated, take a break from the conversations and revisit it a little bit later. It’s best to wait until your partner has calmed down.
Things will get better, I promise. They always do. You can totally get out of a financial funk. It takes time, but it’s totally worth it and will oddly enough bring your partner and you together.
Yessenia is a compelling and innovative program and operations manager who uses her 5+ years of experience in operations management and graphic design to determine small business needs in the areas of inventory costs, labor expenses, P&L, COGs, marketing, and graphic design to create and manage profitable plans for small businesses and individual projects. She is the Owner and Founder of Tru.Works.