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?
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.