Married Life

Does it help to talk about mutual finances before marriage?

She decided to discuss mutual finances before they got married. How did he react?
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We had met through a mutual friend at a house party. Within a year’s time, our families had met each other and we were now engaged to be married. But I’d been worried for quite some time. Not about my feelings for this man. I was deeply in love with him and I was excited about our wedding. I was only worried about our financial future together.

Although we had discussed almost every topic under the sun, this was one thing which we never really mentioned. He is a simple man, just like me, and money was never in our list of priorities. But finances had to be discussed, jobs, roles – and that too before we made our vows to each other.

My sister, Simran, had been quietly and keenly observing me over the last few days. She asked me what was bothering me. Although my sister is perhaps the closest person to me at home, I wasn’t sure how or whether to discuss this issue with her. But she was unrelenting and pressed me to spill the beans, and I told her everything. I shared all my fears with her and asked for her advice as an older, experienced, married woman. The equation she shared with her husband had inspired me and she could probably shed some positive light on this issue.

Related reading: The first year of marriage

She pointed out the need for Kamal and me to be on the same page as far as our finances as a couple were concerned. She revealed how she articulately and transparently walked the monetary tightrope with Jiju. By the end of our conversation, I was quite relieved and motivated to engage in an honest and open conversation with my husband-to-be.

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About a week before our wedding, I called him up and asked him to meet me at a nearby cafe. We ordered two strong black coffees and initially, all I did was stare at the whirlpool forming in the centre of the black liquid before me. Upon Kamal’s urging however, I began talking. Eventually, I ended up sharing my concerns with him, eagerly awaiting his response. Surprisingly, Kamal remained calm and composed throughout our conversation and made me feel the same way by what he said. He told me how glad he was that we were discussing something so pivotal before marriage. He explained how he wanted us both to continue with our jobs and our salaries to be divided between a “Monthly Expenses” and a “Savings” account. He revealed how his parents and the honesty within their relationship, as much in finances as in anything else, had a lasting impact on the overall structure of their marriage. It is so crucial to discuss finances before you begin something as important as marriage.

The key, I’ve realised now, lies in communication – honest, clear, two-way communication. Finances, especially, are an issue that can create havoc for a couple if not discussed in depth before marriage and I didn’t want that to happen to us.

Related reading: How we divided our financial responsibilities after marriage

It felt like a load was off my shoulders now. I knew then why I was in love with this man seated right before me. We were best friends before being lifelong companions. He was my soul mate and my pride. I could almost hear me scolding myself in my head, “Dalveer, what were you so worried about? If only you had spoken to him earlier, instead of keeping these feelings all bottled up, you could have saved yourself all these days of undue worry and stress!” All that was left to happen was our dream wedding, which was to be the first step of our future together.

It’s just over a year since we got married. I often think of that day when I finally made the decision to discuss the delicate issue of finances with my husband. I’m so glad even today about that. It changed our relationship for the better. We are both working, and as we decided, my entire salary stays in the bank as our savings, while my husband’s salary is used for our monthly expenditure. We hope to continue with the same arrangement in our future and lead happy, healthy, stress-free lives!

(As told to Misbah Nayeem Quadri)

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