As I look back on my 39+ years of marriage, I can say that I look forward to another 39+ years of marriage.
I can also say that working together on our finances has been a huge factor for the success of our marriage. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, but we have learned (usually by our mistakes) not only better ways to manage our finances, but better ways of talking and discussing the goals and values that money represents.
With apologies to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, John Lennon and Erich Segal, I would like to share some great love quotes and how they just might apply to marital finances:
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Making a budget together is love. Budgeting is much, much, more than crunching numbers. Sure, the numbers themselves must balance, but what the numbers represent is vital. Husbands and wives: listen up. The time you spend together discussing your budget is critical for the well being of your marriage. Why? Because how you spend your money is a snapshot of your core values. Granted, this discussion may become testy. The two of you come from different backgrounds and bring different values into your marriage, but this is the opportunity for both of you to become real, to disagree openly, to work toward joint finances which are based on congruent goals and values. The bible says that “the two shall become one” and Antoine de Saint-Exupery defines love as “looking outward together in the same direction”.
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” John Lennon
Making your budget work is love. If all you did was agree on a budget and then stick it in a drawer, you have just gone through an exercise in futility. True love comes through the nitty gritty of living it out. This requires ongoing communication, re-evaluation and accountability. Keeping a budget means keeping the budget promises you made to each other. Making it work is hard work. But that hard work is the sacrifice that demonstrates your love for each other. Like John Lennon said, “You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” Erich Segal
Consistency over a long time is love. This one sneaks up on you. As years pass and the two of you realize incrementally that your plans are working, you develop a deep appreciation for each other. It has taken time, but you have become one. Those diverse values that you brought into your marriage have melded into common values. You have both learned that what is good for your spouse is also good for you, and you discover that you instinctively put the other first. With time, you experience a depth in your relationship that you never thought possible. Like Erich Segal said, “True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights.”
“I want to grow old with you.”Adam Sandler in “The Wedding Singer” and me right now to my wife.
This one is for you, Jan.