Meet Joshua and Kat. At twenty-nine I can hear the warmth of their love in their voices on the phone; these two are just three months away from their dream wedding. They described how every detail is planned to perfection, from the rich red rose bridal bouquet and accent colors to the song for their first dance as a newly wedded couple. They have invested time energy and money into the wedding but what about their marriage? Have they prepared for a happy future or are they gambling with their love and their future like so many couples?
During my “For Better” tele-seminar Joshua and Kat sounded almost confused as to why they are registered. “Well, his mother thought it might be a good idea.” Kat shared with the rest of the class a little bashfully. “It will put her mind at ease. I don’t think we really need this seminar” Josh adds .
As I begin working with the class on their ‘Love and Money Report Card’ it turns out, Joshua and Kat like a lot of couples have some seriously different views on money.
“Oh, but we love each other so we can figure all that out later, can’t we? It’ll work itself out.” Joshua insists.
Wrong! Failing to address the differences in your love and money patterns before the big day puts you and your partner on the fast track to a toxic relationship. Research shows that arguments over money are the #1 cause of conflict leading to divorce. Joshua and Kat’s laissez-faire approach to their obviously different financial attitudes are likely to get them into big trouble.
Do you want to know the best thing you can do to protect your love? Write this down and keep it handy, there are 50% fewer divorces for those who do premarital training; because when we learn better we do better.
Joshua and Kat continued their seminar over the phone for the next six weeks. Following are 3 of the secrets I taught them in my six-week “For Better”, pre-marriage tele-seminar. You can use them right now to keep your love and money growing healthy and strong!
- What is your money mental pattern? Ask yourself what was my mother’s favorite saying about money? What was your father’s favorite saying about money? We learn our money patterns from the adults around us when we are little. It turns out that Joshua’s mother always said in a very angry way, “do you think money grows on trees?” While Kat’s mom said money was meant to be enjoyed and she would go out on shopping binges and come home and hide the bags from Kat’s dad. I’ll bet you can guess their patterns. Kat is super careful because she doesn’t want to be like her mom and is very controlling with money. Josh on the other hand avoids dealing with money, he doesn’t want to deal with it unless he is forced to.
Now, write your belief about money down, does it match your parents’ beliefs, or did you choose to go the opposite direction? Opposite may be too far, as you will see when I give Josh and Kat their love and money report card.
- What is your money emotional pattern? Do you feel confident, or anxious, vague or clear about money, feel lacking or abundant? Our about to be married couple were opposites in their feelings, Kat felt confident and in control and Josh felt anxious and vague.
- What is your money communication pattern? How did your parents discuss money, openly, not all or it was a source of conflict? Joshua’s mom was a single mom with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and his dad contributed very little. They were always in conflict as she tried to get dad to help financially. Kat’s parent’s never talked openly about money but quietly seethed, with her dad making cutting comments about her mom’s spending when it was time to pay the bills.
At the beginning of our 6 week seminar Josh didn’t want to talk about money and neither did Kat.
Here is Kat and Joshua’s report card when we started. The report card measures how much the patterns match and how much potential they have for conflict.
money mental pattern = D
very different , high potential for conflict
money emotional pattern = C
opposites, he is vague and anxious and she is confident and controlling, high potential for conflict
money communication skills = D
neither of them wanted to talk about money, very high potential for unspoken conflict that will come out eventually, either in words or actions.
Why didn’t they just get Fs? Because they had the courage to register for the seminar and to do something proactive to build the skills they need to deal with money when they get married.
Ready for the Love and Money intervention?
Once you can see a pattern you can change it. First, I got Kat and Josh started by asking them to write the new love and money patterns they really wanted in their marriage. Second they practiced sharing their feelings about money in a safe and skilful way. They also practiced the love and money resolution steps which put love first and allow your joint money goals to support your love and happiness.
These tips are a great start to your pre-marriage work, but just like Kat and Josh who invested an hour per week for six weeks there’s much more to learn. Because there aren’t any classes that teach you how to prepare for marriage, I want to change that, and I’m going to start with you. As my wedding gift to you, I’m giving you the complete Love and Money Report Card to help you start your new life with the skills you need to be happy together. After you go to my website and take the free Report Card, I’m also going to give you the 7 Secrets to Creating Healthy Love and Money. Use these tools to figure out where you and your partner differ and then sign up for some pre-marriage training. It doesn’t have to be my “For Better” Seminars, just find one and be prepared for a lifetime of healthy love and money.
Blessings & Congratulations
Dr. Brenda Wade regularly appears on CNN and NBC’s Today Show as a psychology expert along with appearing on Oprah, Dr. Oz, and Good Morning America, she hosted both the nationally syndicated Can This Marriage Be Saved? and Power Choices. A regular contributor to Essence magazine and other major publications, she also hosts Black Renaissance on the CW network, as well as co-hosts Healing Quest on national PBS. Dr. Brenda Wade founded the Love Money & SEVA Seminars, creating exciting breakthroughs with participants around the world, as well as guides the international Power Coaches Program. She is also a published author of four books.