For Richer, For Poorer – Debt and Marriage

For Richer For Poorer - Debt and Marriage

This is a guest post by Grayson Bell, who is the owner of Debt Roundup, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping everyone get out of debt. Grayson dug himself out of $50,000 worth of credit card debt and has now started to gain positive net worth. You can also find him on Twitter.

I have been married to my wonderful wife for going on 5 years. In such a short amount of time, we have been through quite a bit with each other. We have ridden the up and down roller coaster we call life. There is not any other person I would rather ride these peaks and valleys with than my wife. Through the good times and the bad, I know my wife will be by my side and I will stand by hers. As our wedding anniversary approaches, I think back to the day when we said our vows and became a unit.

There are a lot of things going on surrounding your wedding day. One aspect that you should always remember are your vows. Through the exchange, you have to remember the words that you speak to each other. Some of them might come true sooner rather than later and that for us was “For Richer, For Poorer…”.

You see, when I got out of college and owned an e-commerce business, I was riding a wave of credit card debt. I had been dating my wife for 2 years before we graduated, so she never really knew what type of finances I had.  I didn’t really discuss it with her because I didn’t really know how bad it was. I ran my business and swiped my credit cards without fail for three more years. It came to the point where my business was taking over my life in a bad way and I wanted to spend time with my new wife.

As I enjoyed spending time with my wife and living the American Dream, I never sat down and detailed my finances. We were able to pay our bills and have some spending money, so what did it matter? Well, it mattered a lot! In 2009, I was a little over $50,000 in credit card debt. I racked it up with unnecessary personal and business purchases. I was trying to grow my business to a success, but I wasn’t thinking about credit.  Oops….

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Once you sit down and realize how much money you owe to credit card companies, it might make you sick to your stomach. I know that is what happened to me. It took a lot of time to figure out how many years it would take me to pay off my credit cards going down the path that I was on. Minimum payments were running my life. I thought it was good enough, but then I learned it would take me decades to pay off my debt.

When in doubt, ask your wife

I was struggling to figure how I was going to put a dent into my credit card debt. I was analyzing everything, but I was never taking action. I kept complaining and stressing over the whole process. This is when my wife stepped in. As I spoke to her about how I wasn’t sure which way to start, she gave me a great piece of advice.

Just start paying it off and then figure out the best way to do it. You just need to start.

This simple advice was the most effective. It made me stop over-analyzing and start working on my mountain of debt. In order to succeed in any debt payoff, you just have to START!

Finances and Relationships

I learned a lot about money and my relationship during the 4 years I worked out of credit card debt. I was able to succeed not because I found a great way to make money, but because I worked hard to save money everyday to deal with the problem. I scraped up every dollar that I could find. I cut our monthly bills that I didn’t deem necessary. I was on a mission to become debt free.

The only way this mission worked was because I had my wife in my corner. She pushed me to stay on track, she cut her spending, and she let me analyze every little purchase. I paid my credit cards off from my own checking account that was not tied to her. This was my debt and I didn’t want her to be responsible for it. She did help me with a few payments when I was deep under, but she did that out of the goodness of her heart. I couldn’t thank her enough for what she did for me.

I might have been cranky and a party-pooper for 4 years, but now I am on a mission to make a better life. I want to secure our financial future because I want to enjoy each and every day with my wife. I don’t want to worry about money when I should be enjoying life. I think we all are too focused on money these days, and we need to start enjoying our hobbies.

If you are in debt and in a relationship, then you need to start talking to your significant other. Hiding financial issues is never a good thing. I am lucky that I have a very understanding and compassionate wife. Without her, I would not be in the financial situation I am in today. Her wise words and actions were the catalysts of my get out of debt journey. If you have the right person in your corner, then you will have a higher chance of success. Debt can be a very daunting thing, but with the proper support, it can be tackled. I now know that my wife will be with me no matter my financial status.

My, how powerful “For Richer, For Poorer” truly is.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out our Relationships and Money Resource Center for more like this.

Image by tinylittlerocks

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