5 Tips for Discussing Finances During Your Engagement

5 Tips for Discussing Finances During Your Engagement January 23, 2024

“I’m done. I want a divorce.” His words came like a bucket of ice water. They cut like knives and blindsided her. She never imagined that he was unsatisfied in the marriage. Everything seemed to be going well. They both had good jobs. They had a romantic life. At least, she thought they did. They went out to dinner at least once every other week. What was happening? Could her marriage really be over?

Same bed, different dreams

The Chinese have a saying for marriages that end like this: “same bed, different dreams.” Even though two people live together and share everything, if there is not emotional intimacy and sharing of internal thoughts, they can grow apart.

So, if you are getting ready for marriage, think about what dreams you each have. And look at how you are preparing your finances for the life that you have dreamed about.

During marriage preparation, it is important to identify your dreams and look at how your financial plans match up to those dreams. What type of living situation do you expect to have? What are your plans for a family? How much financial support do you plan to give your kids? Are you planning to send them to Catholic school or public school? Have you thought about homeschooling?

Steps to take

Then, there are simple steps to make sure that your finances do not draw you apart as you navigate your marriage.

What are some simple rules for managing money in your relationship and not letting it run you?

  1. Keep a joint bank account

This one can be scary for people. Perhaps, you are not equal contributors to family finance. Okay, this is something important for you to realize during the time of engagement. Are there trust issues? It is important to get this out into the open during your time of engagement. What do you think about separate bank accounts? There is a lot to be said for transparency. If you are afraid that you should not be sharing a bank account with your future partner, should this person be your future partner?

  1. Discuss lifestyle choices together

Finances are affected by how you manage your purchases. Are you always going to have the latest-model car? Is an international vacation a yearly must? Do you live far from family? What are the expectations about traveling to visit them? These are things that you need to discuss before you get married. And these are things that you need to re-visit periodically as you go through life. Your financial situation may change. It is important to face the new reality together.

When it comes to money and relationships, unmet expectations can cause a lot of conflict. The quickest way to feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied with your spouse is when you expect things to go a certain way, only to find out reality is a bit different. (Rachel Cruze, “Money and Marriage: 7 Tips for a Healthy Relationship”)

  1. See each other for who you are

You are going to have differences in personality that are going to matter for money management. Is one of you going to take the lead on managing finances? What does your investment plan look like? Who is going to manage the monthly and yearly budget? How are you going to stay on top of taxes and legal decisions? These are all things that between the two of you need to be managed for the rest of your life. Even if one partner takes the lion’s share of this responsibility, it is important that both are aware of what is happening.

  1. Talk about periods of unemployment or taking time off for childcare

Are you both in your careers forever? Are your salaries similar? What do the differences mean? When your family begins to grow, what does that mean for both of your careers? A marriage is a true partnership, with the added complication that your life changes more than the day-to-day affairs of a business. Look ahead.

a young couple discusses finances
a young couple discusses finances | Courtesy Pexels
  1. Don’t hide purchases from one another

It has almost become a joke to see an Amazon package show up, much to the surprise of the other marriage partner. This is something that you need to discuss. Maybe you need to hide a birthday present or an anniversary gift temporarily, but at the end of the day you need to be sharing purchases as you are sharing the expense.

There may be different financial options for how to run a family’s expenses, but you should always have a great sense of togetherness. Don’t forget to renew your trust in God. His providence will always be looking out for you.

“The plans of the diligent end in profit, but those of the hasty end in loss.” (Prov. 21:5)

Subscribe to the newsletter to never miss an article.

Want to read more on marriage? Look at God’s plan for marriage here.

About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. "Omnis enim res quae dando non deficit, dum habetur et non datur, nondum habetur quomodo habenda est." You can read more about the author here.
"So, take your three steps and apply it to Sandy Hook."

3 Steps To Take Back Control ..."
"For my wife and I, work is prayer. If one has to run to work, ..."

Running And Praying Go Together
"I really enjoyed thinking about it from this point of view."

Jesus’ Resurrection and the Laws of ..."
"I have studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum, and have a Master of Science in ..."

Despair Loses Its Power Beneath The ..."

Browse Our Archives