Love, money, and marriage are a threesome to avoid.

Each is inseparable in marriage until you develop a plan.

It is the biggest, most beautiful, best day of your life. The guests are arriving, the flowers are in place, the preacher told you what to expect. So much preparation went into this day. Your hands are clammy, then you catch the first glance of your soul mate, and your knees go weak.  Have you considered the third component in a marriage commitment that will not be ignored? Some went through classes analyzing thoughts, behaviors, and reactions to discord.

Let’s define the terms of this threesome:

Love: an intense feeling of deep affection.

Money: a medium of exchange in form of coins and banknotes, the asset’s property and resources owned by someone or something; wealth

Marriage: the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.  

No one wants to think about a threesome on his or her wedding day, so let’s go back to the storybook wedding.  You just said, “I do.” Look at that gorgeous diamond ring, and the diamonds in his band; did you use cash or credit? Are that well-thought nuptials shared before a crowd going to haunt you in the form of a colossal bill?  I forgot we’re still in the fairytale stage where everything is coming up roses.

Frank Sinatra sang it like this in “Love and Marriage:”

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other.

Mr. Sinatra was right about not having one without the other, but his song lyrics do not address the impact money has on marriage. The bouquet has been thrown and the embarkment upon the honeymoon begins. Off for a brilliant week of celebrating, toasting, and discovering the most intimate details of your life partner.  The sand squishes between your toes, the sun smiles upon your life together, and you don’t even realize that the resplendent sun that kissed your dew dropped lips burned other areas of your body.

Money and marriage have a similar relationship. When two minds, bodies, souls become one they each bring a unique approach to the union. The honeymoon phase is a delight, and that wedded blissful glow lasts several months. Eventually, that glimmer dulls into opinions of how he and she spend money. Is she a spender and he is a saver? Who will pay the bills? Pay when they come in, or when they are due? There is a singleness about how the checkbook gets handled, but a oneness needs to be established so that money doesn’t become your other bedfellow.

Mr. Sinatra’s lyrics figured out these ideas are united. “Love and Marriage,”

It’s an institute you can’t disparage.
Ask the local gentry and they will say it’s elementary.

Yes, it’s elementary, my dear Watson, as elementary as playing in the schoolyard, and everyone works to get along. Both spouses know each other’s habits, but now they must get along–with money. Let us mesh our individual ideas about spending money, budgeting, saving.  

There are three things you can do with money. Hopefully, these are a part of your plan:

  • Spend it
  • Save it
  • Give it

Let your voice become one and plan how to spend it.  That’s all a budget is, it is a plan for how you spend money, a conscious decision to tell the money where to go. When all the expenses are covered you get to have fun with the rest. The challenge is to talk about money early in a marriage, if not before marriage, so you don’t have a threesome, and the honeymoon lasts a whole lot longer.  

Do you have a budget?