How Do You Find The Slope In A Math Problem Finances Can Make or Break a Marriage

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Finances Can Make or Break a Marriage

Most first marriages begin with high hopes and dreams that the uninitiated lovers share with boundless enthusiasm. This optimism often includes an assumed trust and faith in each other. At the beginning of a new life together, it may be easier to share assets and debts equally. As the marriage progresses and the years are added to the relationship, there are many factors that contribute to a waning enthusiasm for sharing money equally, including egos, selfishness, mixed ideas about needs versus wants, etc. Adversity sets in, as it does for all of us. Maybe there’s trouble getting a job, or health issues arise, or maybe accidents happen, or maybe it’s as simple as mistakes made when balancing the checkbook. As problems take a toll on a couple’s finances, resentment could mount as one or both partners look back and wonder if they could have been more prosperous by remaining single. If finances are kept separate, the chances of overcoming these adversities together are reduced. Isolated in what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine, people feel lonely and discouraged even though they share life with another person through marriage. On the other hand, if finances are shared, both partners are equally responsible for the financial success of the union. By holding money jointly, each spouse seeks the other’s input and wisdom to manage the accounts for maximum benefit. What challenges do you both face together? What success one achieves they both enjoy together.

“When you get married you become one.” “Money is a key area that helps bring unity.” David Ramsey, financial expert. “…spouses should combine all finances and work together toward mutually agreed-upon goals… Separate money equals greed. The bottom line is this: couples who plan their lives and finances together have much more success financially and with your relationships.” –Marriage and Money – Dave Ramsey vs. Suze Orman, March 20, 2012

The old saying goes “There is no I in the team”. Is marriage a contract between me and me, me and me, or is marriage about us, ours, us? Entering life together can be very beneficial for both partners. When two become one in all things, each becomes more than he is by himself. The math changes from 1+1=2 to 2 together = anything is possible. Many families have a tradition of saving their money and money to go on vacation. It seems ridiculous to us to consider that each member of the family is saving up to go on vacation separately. Mom saves to go see Grandma and Dad saves to go camping and Marsha saves for Disneyland while little Johnny saves to go to the ice cream parlor down the street. Agreeing on a mutual activity takes more negotiation and effort than going on vacation separately, but it also creates shared memories that last longer.

This does not mean that a partner should reduce passivity and cede all financial opinions and decisions to their spouse. There are often large differences in the perspective each partner uses to view resource use and risk management. One spouse may be analytical in nature and the other may make their decisions from a more emotional basis. These differing viewpoints can make it difficult to strike a balance that both of you are comfortable with. It may seem easier to just separate the finances. However, this decision can have serious consequences. “Divorce lawyers have told me that when the money issue is what drives a couple together, as it often is, the specific issue is usually that the husband and wife were living separate financial lives. You want to screw up your marriage ? He lives. separate financial lives.” How to Mess Up Your Marriage Monday, December 12, 2011 Matt Bell, author of Money and Marriage.

Is there more to a union of two souls than corporate mergers? Ironically, finances are often merged in shared business arrangements, but there are some who recommend the opposite approach for couples as if married partners were “…Independent Traders, my term for couples who keep their own accounts completely separate.” Jessica Crouse.

Healthy marriages are built on commitment, mutual respect, and a willingness to entertain the thought that you are smarter together than apart. Nature is witness to the effectiveness of resource sharing, even the birds and animals bring home the bacon to share proudly. Consider the survival rate of any animal species that behaved as if each were separately responsible for its maintenance and sustenance. “Life is not 50:50, nor should it be… when did this degrade from a marriage to a micro-managed contractual partnership?… I see a continuum from the first bit of money separated in a marriage to living basically as roommates.” Evolving Personal Finance: The Slippery Slope of Separated Money.

Sometimes we may find ourselves wondering why some people make the financial decisions they do. During the recent housing crisis many opinions were expressed via twitter, internet forums and even talk shows about where the responsibility lies for so many foreclosures. Terms such as “predatory lenders” and “irresponsible borrowers” were bandied about. It’s natural to become couch potato quarterbacks and passenger seat drivers when we see problems others are facing, especially when we didn’t contribute to those problems. How easy it is to do the same with a spouse when married partners have separate finances. Harboring criticism instead of communicating openly about financial issues does little to foster unity in a marriage.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). “Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6). Today it seems as if half of society is modifying these Bible verses by saying, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, except financially; and they shall become one flesh” and “So they are no longer two, except the bank accounts, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate, except money”.

In this hyper competitive world stress rules. If children are part of a marriage, the love and joy that comes to parents can also be accompanied by even greater stress as the demands on available resources grow. If external influences threaten the family’s financial stability, stress levels rise even further. Money is one of the biggest contributors to divorce, and it’s easy to see why. Many people are constantly worried about taking care of their families and, as they age, taking care of themselves through retirement. This concern can lead to fear. Fear can eat away at the faith and trust in each other that was assumed at the beginning of life together. As faith and trust erode, the bonds of marriage can begin to look like chains tied to a sinking ship where it becomes “every man for himself.” However, if couples are committed to each other “for richer, for poorer,” they can lean on each other for strength to endure and overcome the challenges of life in these modern times. Years of struggle and effort together can help forge a bond that can defy financial obstacles in favor of the security that these strong bonds guarantee. This security may not be financially based, but can find a strong foundation in emotion. This means that sometimes spouses have to choose what is more important to them: money or love.

While comparing the pros and cons of joint and separate finances in marriage, a clear conclusion emerges that supports the unified approach. Consider the following from Engaged Marriage: “Reasons why a joint bank account is better: Encourages regular communication about finances. Built-in accountability partner on spending matters. Encourages unity on money matters. Strong sense of working together to meet financial goals. all household income is treated as “our” money. There is no conflict or administrative work in “splitting the bills”… Using a single joint account also encourages ( (really requires) open communication about your finances, which is absolutely critical to a successful marriage.” –Should married couples have joint or separate bank accounts? By Dustin from Engaged Marriage.

An advocate of separate marital finances might argue that many of the benefits described here can still be enjoyed even if the spouses are not one with money. Without doing the work necessary for financial harmony is like trying to describe the taste of salt to someone who has never experienced it before. There is no substitute for experiencing the rewards other than doing the work necessary for two people to coexist financially harmoniously. Communication can be improved as each works to understand the other’s point of view. Sacrifice can enhance mutual appreciation as peers work to compromise with one another. Trust grows as each spouse strives to achieve mutual goals set together. Sharing money in marriage is an opportunity, not a burden.

In short, money can make or break a marriage. Like most problems in life, we can either use it for positive results or let it use us, in which case negative results often occur. The easy way may seem to be to separate the finances from the marriage. However, leaving aside the possible negative consequences, such an engaged couple will miss opportunities to build an even stronger relationship with their spouse by working together in good faith and trusting each other. It takes work and sometimes it’s hard. A couple will not realize the rewards of such hard work by avoiding it by keeping their finances separate. That trust and faith in each other that they assumed at the beginning of their life together can, with such hard work, turn into absolute trust as the years roll on. I like the following quote about shared marital finances and conclude with it this way: “Call me weird, but I just don’t understand the logic of it. Call me old-fashioned, but I think marriage should be a couple. call me. crazy but i think separating your finances is a bad idea.. (what) you are saying to each other is “i trust you mostly but not with my money. ” With that kind of attitude, how can you fail? “Drip, drip sarcasm” –Separate Finances: A Recipe for Marital Disaster by Greg | Aug 28, 2012 | Debt, Income, Money Savings at the Thrifty Club.

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