Can you tell my sister’s wedding is on my mind? Ten days to go and I’m very excited. However, an article on MSN today reminded me of my Newlywed Bliss Box. When my sister first told me she was engaged, she and her fiance were still living in their respective parents’ home, which worried me a bit. Things for them have worked out splendidly, but at the time it inspired me to create this box of finances – or a way to open up a discussion about managing money as a newly married couple.

The MSN article basically summed up the fact that most arguments couples have are about money and focused on the finance hot buttons that drive people to freak out about it.  Here’s a run down of topics:

  1. Lying about purchases. When a spouse lies about their shopping habits, this is a sign of trouble. Many years ago, I knew a newlywed couple with this exact problem; one was a shop-a-holic and the other was a saver. Early on, they had to work out these issues and much of the time it turned into bickering. They’ve been married for years, but I still think she buys things and hides them in her closet, “Oh look honey, I forgot I had this!”*wink, wink.*
  2. Not fessing up about debt. Here’s the scenario; you’ve just met the girl/boy of your dreams and you’re engaged to be married. However, you’ve got a ton of credit card and student loan debt that you just haven’t gotten around to telling the other person about. Oops! Soon they will find out when you go to make a large purchase together (ie. house, car, etc.) “Oh, gee. Didn’t I tell you I went to Princeton? I owe $80,000.”
  3. Avoiding the issue of money altogether. This is the ostrich method; hide from it and it doesn’t exist. Eventually, money issues will come up and avoiding them won’t be an option. Get it out in the open before it becomes awkward.

How my Newlywed Bliss Box provides the solution for these three issues:

  1. A checklist of topics to discuss. Right up front, couples would have a checklist with items they need to discuss and open up about; debt, budgets, money management, credit reports. This would basically solve problems 2 and 3 above.
  2. Short and long term goal sheet. Having common goals can reduce future arguments, get couples on the same page, and limit a shop-a-holic’s spending.
  3. Spender/Saver Quiz. Have a little fun finding out if you and your spouse are compatible spenders, savers, or one of each. It’s a light-hearted way of discussing the differences in spending habits.

I need to start figuring out what to do with all my brilliant ideas! 😉 Kickstarter perhaps?

What do you think? Does a Bliss Box sound like a terrific idea or a dud?

6 Comments

  1. Emily Woodhouse Reply

    I would like to identify your Bliss Box as a Magic Boss. It described the solution to financial difficulties which could be faced by a couple. I think it’s better to fix the issues before marriage which results in a happier married life.

    • @Emily – I agree; get the issues out in the open before they become a huge dinosaur of a problem! I think this idea (Bliss Box) would open up discussion among couples.

  2. Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog Reply

    getting on the same page financially is one of the things that I’ve read is key to marriages. H and I have been talking about finances for years (when I started paying off my debt) and have fairly open discussions about finances with very few disagreements.

    • @Jeff – That’s great that you’ve had few disagreements. Many couples, unfortunately, let things go unsaid for too long. Congrats on your upcoming nuptials!

  3. Most times, marriage problems boil down to trust issues. I think numbers 1 & 2 certainly fall under that category and that’s why they’re so important. Finances are probably the most pervasive thing couples share, besides living arrangements. But people usually discuss living together far more than they discuss merging money and debt.

    I think your Bliss Box or Magic Box is a great idea because it gets couples talking about these things before they become problems.

    • @Joe – Thanks, Joe. I’d agree that trust is very important in a marriage from all angles (not just financial!) I’ve been thinking more and more about my financial bliss box lately. Might need to start marketing it!

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