My fiancee and I are currently planning a wedding and re-evaluating where we would like to buy a house. She is about to start her 10 month unpaid internship in order to complete her Masters.
Throughout all of this, the biggest issue we face is marriage. We’ve been together for almost 11 years and engaged for a year.
For a very long time, I thought we were on the same page: small wedding, no engagement photos, save money and buy a house. Why get married in debt?
As we begin to peel the layers of the onion, his thoughts have dramatically changed. She is now planning a wedding with over 80 guests in a rented venue. She wants engagement photos. She wants to provide food at the plate or at the buffet.
“Her parents offered almost $ 10,000 to help, but I insisted that money is better suited for a down payment on a house.”
All of these things add up, even though we set a strict budget of $ 15,000 and don’t even have a quarter of that saved. I have money in stocks and I have savings, but I firmly refuse to touch either for this happy occasion.
Her parents offered almost $ 10,000 to help, but I insisted that money is better suited for a down payment on a house when the time comes.
I’m just seen as someone who doesn’t want to move, and she asked me if I really wanted to get married.
How should I go about it? I don’t want to block her every moment. I want her to have an amazing day that we will remember for the rest of our lives, but she hasn’t come up with a plan to save that money yet. I’m starting to get the impression that she’s looking at me to foot the bill almost entirely on my own.
Marriage makes love void. Please tell me if I’m pinching my pennies a little too much, or if I’m right about the money.
Frustrated with finances
This conversation about your marriage and how much you intend to spend is an indicator of all the discussions – big and small – you’ll have about money throughout your married life.
Marriage is a lot of things, but it is above all a commercial contract. You are committed to each other legally, emotionally and financially. Your goals become your wife’s goals, and vice versa. Your financial anxieties become shared anxieties. Your wife’s attitude towards life events and debt – depending on how you look at it – will also become yours.
If you are unable to resolve this dilemma amicably, it does not bode well for the many challenges that lie ahead. After all, it’s an expense that you voluntarily incur. Imagine what could happen if one or both of you suffered an unexpected blow like job loss, natural disaster, or illness that resulted in excruciating medical bills.
“If you solve this problem in a way that is respectful of each other and your own limits, it will provide a model for how you approach these problems in the future.”
But it is also an opportunity. It is a puzzle that you must solve together to move forward. If you address this issue in a way that is respectful of each other and your own boundaries, it will provide a blueprint for how you approach these issues in the future. This deadlock on your marriage could lead to growth for both of you.
But first you need to look at the underlying reasons for your respective approaches. A third party – maybe a therapist, financial advisor, or indeed, a financial therapist – could help you understand why marriage size has become so important to your wife and how you might find a compromise.
Marriage is a celebration of your commitment and your love, but it doesn’t have to define any of you. I have attended many weddings which cost very little money. And you know what? They are one of my favorites.
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