When Your Marriage Dream Turns Into a Financial Nightmare

3 tips to help you when finances negatively impact your marriage

(File: Image)
(File: Image)

Contrary to popular belief, the marriage event doesn’t always end in a success story. Yes, we celebrate the engagement notifications we see posted via social media. Yes, we share the excitement of the couple as they plan out their ‘perfect’ day. Yes, family and friends gather to witness the exchanging of vows between two people who seemingly love one another. However, the thoughts, sentiments and encouragement leading up to the wedding are not always enough to prepare you for what takes place after “I do.”

Most couples who anticipate getting married have a personalized dream of what life will be like after meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right. Dreams of starting a new life together. Dreams of exploring the world together. Dreams of building a family together. This was the case for Torrance and Andrea who tied the knot in early 2014.

Before getting married, they enjoyed the same journey so many others did leading up to their special day. They connected, fell in love and were determined to be together for a lifetime. Both were well positioned for success within their respective careers. Unfortunately, a major shift occurred in the weeks leading up to their wedding, Torrance was laid-off from his position as an operations manager. The timing couldn’t have been worse, especially with a wedding, honeymoon and a new joint-life ahead of them.

Fortunately, the wedding and honeymoon had been paid for in advance using a joint account the two started together. They enjoyed a great celebration and returned home to begin their new life together. Torrance continued seeking employment, but nothing ever seemed to materialize. Andrea continued holding down the fort financially but began to grow frustrated because she felt alone in dealing with the financial stress. She managed the household bills and the couple used their savings to make the mortgage payments on Andrea’s condo while awaiting its sale. In addition, Torrance’s son had recently come to live with him so that added to the amount of financial responsibility.

In a matter of months, what was supposed to be the start of a dream quickly turned into a nightmare for Andrea. She didn’t have any children. She was able to operate independently without responsibility for others. However, the man she loved brought a level of change and uncertainty she never envisioned and she was beginning to resent him for that. The two began to argue, intimacy slowly faded and negative thoughts began to occupy the space they once allotted for one another.  The uncertainty now placed Torrance and Andrea in a position a growing number of unspoken newlyweds find themselves in.

What happens when the marriage dream becomes a nightmare?

Money is cited as one of the top reasons couples divorce. Whether it’s job loss, frivolous spending, secret accounts or significant amount of debt, money has the ability to change the dynamics within a relationship if not dealt with properly. In the case of Torrance and Andrea who experienced job loss, things were especially sensitive because it impacted their ability to experience a positive start to marriage.

In situations like Torrance and Andrea’s, there are some key points to keep in mind:

Communicate Together Freely: Feel comfortable expressing the positives and negatives of the situation in a blame-free, no-judgment, non-argumentative environment. Andrea’s frustrations increased because she didn’t feel like she had an outlet to express what she was going through. Torrance’s frustrations mounted because he felt as if he was letting his family down and couldn’t control the outcome. Coming together to share these thoughts is therapeutic for both parties involved.

Seek Outside Counsel: If you seem to have trouble discussing your challenges together, outside counsel may be a good alternative. Having an unbiased 3rd-party mediator (i.e. marriage counselor) assist you with working through challenges can be healthy. An outside voice of reason can often help remove the tension and animosity couples internally store up operating on their own.

Remember the Past Victories: Everyone has endured some type of life adversity. Remember that adversity doesn’t last forever.  It’s unfortunate that Torrance and Andrea had to deal with it early in their marriage, but it did give them an opportunity to grow closer. A number of veteran couples cite the ability to overcome adversity as one of the things that strengthened their marriages.

Marriage is a journey of growth between two people who are committed to communicating, helping each other and supporting each other’s purpose. Marriage won’t always be a dreamy experience. Marriage won’t always be a nightmare experience. However, marriage is a lifelong learning experience for those willing to address and overcome adversity along the way.

Kenny Pugh is a life and relationship strategist, author of ‘Can You Do It Standing Up?’, speaker, HLN contributor, sought-after speaker on finances, singleness, relationships and life. He is also the visionary behind KTP Financial, LLC . You can find more information about Kenny at www.kennypugh.com. Also, follow him on Facebook at www.kennypughfanpage.com, on Twitter @mrkennypugh and on YouTube at Kenny Pugh.