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The One Thing I Didn’t Think About When I Got Married

  March 27

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Budget WeddingI read about 30-40 personal finance articles every week, and there seems to be a recurring theme about being financially ready for big life events.

They talk about how much money you need to have saved up before you buy a house. They caution you to have a huge emergency fund before you have a baby. And marriage! Oy! You better think twice before you join accounts or take on your fiancé’s debt! That could mean bad news for you, they say.

So can you can guess what I didn’t think about when I got married?

Money!

When I met my husband, I was only 18 years old. On one of our first dates, he took me out in his beat up old green Jeep, and I remember distinctly that we stopped at a traffic light, and it completely died. After about 5 minutes of waving the traffic on, it finally started back up again, and we continued on our way.

He didn’t have a ton of money. All I saw was someone who worked hard each and every day. I had never met someone who went school full time and worked full time. I was impressed with him! At 21, he was paying for everything for himself, and at the time, he was exhausted, but he was still supporting himself.

Still, I didn’t agonize over who paid for dinner. I didn’t wonder if he was a good saver. I was only a college student, and we saved our pennies from our side jobs to travel to different cities and backpack across Europe. He worked so hard and gave (and still gives) me the kindest, most thoughtful gifts. Now, looking back, I know what a sacrifice many of them were for him.

I didn’t even realize he had a bit of credit card debt until we had been dating for three years, and he told me about it one night, prefacing it with, “You should probably know about this…”

Honestly, when he told me he had credit card debt, I didn’t even think twice about it! It didn’t make me want to break up with him or think twice about marrying him. I was in love! I was young! I wanted to be with him forever.

Now, almost 8 years after we first started dating, we’re still going strong. We’ve been married for three years. We’ve traveled (and lived) all over the world. We got ourselves into credit card debt and we got out of it. We made an emergency fund. We made a plan to grow the fund. We’re planning a big trip for next year. Plus, that awesome work ethic that initially made me attracted to him? Now, he’s in med school, and it all paid off.

So you see, ladies, go for the guy who will do absolutely anything to ensure you have a good life, not the one with the flashy car and the big bank account.

I guess what I’m trying to convey is that you do not have to have a perfect financial life before you get married! You do not have to have all your ducks in a row! Just ask your grandparents who have been married for 40+ years. They didn’t worry about the other’s assets or income or net worth. So, why should you?

Marriage is about love not money! If I would have turned my nose up at the hubs’ old jeep that day when it broke down, I would have missed out on the best love story I’ve ever known.

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23 responses to “The One Thing I Didn’t Think About When I Got Married

  1. I´m not married, but BF and I have been living together for almost 3 years now, and together for over 5 years, so we`ve learned a lot about financial matters. What I like so much about him is that he takes after me when it comes to savings. I`m a total saveaholic, and I guess when he sees that I can save up quite the amount of money while living on student loans and grants, so he should be able to save twice as much! And he does! 🙂 So I´m definitely not worried about the future when it comes to money.

  2. I think we tend to be most attracted to people whose values match up with what we find most important. From this it sounds like hard working and caring are way up there for you guys – and that you both rank pretty high for both of those.

  3. This post was really more about your dating life than the decision to get married… Did you really give no extra consideration to how financially compatible you were when you transition from dating to engaged or engaged to married?

    I agree that the most important thing to evaluate about a potential spouse is his/her character. It seems your husband had good financial character when he was young but was just in some tough circumstances (potentially because of his circumstances). My husband and I started dating when we were 20 and we hardly knew anything about money because we were both being supported by our parents, so we were able to “grow up” financially together and became very compatible over time.

    I also agree your life doesn’t have to be perfect before you get married. I have been reading articles in the past few days on why Millennials seem to be delaying marriage and the identified culprit is that they put so much emphasis and importance on marriage that they treat it as a “capstone” event, the culmination of getting the rest of their lives in order, which we all know will practically never come!

    1. Hey Emily,
      Thanks so much for your comment on my blog today about money/marriage. It’s true; I gave no extra consideration to how financially compatible we were during those transitions. If I got married today, it would be a completely different story, but I got married when I was 22, and I didn’t know what I know now about personal finance. I suppose in many ways we did know we were compatible. Saving for trips together, splitting gas when we took road trips, sharing the dinner bill, etc. were all evidence of our compatibility when it comes to money. I suppose I just wanted to convey that I did not realize this outwardly or consciously, and I did not focus on it or use it as one of my “pros” for marrying my hubs. 🙂 I married him because he’s the best guy I know. He asked, and I said yes. 🙂 Like you, we grew up financially together over the past few years, and we still have a ways to go. 🙂
      Thanks again for taking the time to write in. 🙂
      Best,
      Cat

  4. Sounds like you got quite the guy there. You’re right, I’d rather have someone who was good at managing money, even if it wasn’t a lot versus some guy who blew his money to impress you. Congrats on finding a great relationship!

  5. Well put. As long as you both are honest about your situation and work together to create a life for both of you, that is all that matters. I had a bit of student debt and was honest about it, but I was also adamant in paying all of it off before our actual wedding date. We’ve been debt free ever since then and it feels so goo!

  6. I didn’t tell me wife about my debt for a long time. She didn’t care about it because she knew what it was from and that I was being responsible and paying it off. It took me a while, but she doesn’t care about it. That is not always the main thing.

  7. Good words, Cat! I especially think this is important (and I’m confident my wife agrees with you) “So you see, ladies, go for the guy who will do absolutely anything to ensure you have a good life, not the one with the flashy car and the big bank account.” It really isn’t about the bank account, job, etc. when you are dating. I’m glad I met my wife will we were still in college so that it was less about my job/income/etc and more about my attitude. I feel like things can change once you are in your late 20s and 30s and in the dating scene.

  8. We both thought about money when we were dating because we talked about it. We were married in our 30’s though but I can tell you when I was 18 I was still thinking about money because I was a saver. I don’t think I was worried about what the person had that I was dating at that age but now that I think about it I should have although those relationships didn’t amount to anything. The older you get, the more you learn and although money should not be the basis of a relationship I think it needs to be a topic before one walks down the aisle. We’re coming up 7 years marriage now and I love her more every single day. 🙂

  9. Aww, melt! I love it that your hubby (then bf) pulled you aside to tell you about his debt. The “I have to tell you something…” probably would have terrified me. Glad it was only some debt and not something more scary. Great post!

  10. I didn’t really think about money much before we got married and even though there were some really tough times during our marriage, money wasn’t something we really fought over. He came from a different culture and had always just given his mum his money, so when we married he just gave it to me and I managed it since I had been living out of home for 2 years by that time.

    I am divorced now, but it wasn’t over money. I think for the most part, it should be discussed but it is not as dramatic as I see many people make out.

  11. First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.
    I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Kudos!

    1. I would recommend making a long list of topics and then referring to it when you are out of ideas!

  12. Superb blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Kudos!

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