I’m Getting Married But My Fiancee and I Don’t Seem to Be Money Compatible. – Sarah

“Dear Steve,

I am 27 years old and engaged. I spent significant money to fix up my house so I could sell it and move where my fiancee got a job. I also bought a new mattress in January 2008, consulting with the fiancee. I now owe (been paying stuff for a while) $4500 from the house repairs (house did sell though!) and $2300 on the mattress. I also have $15000 in student loans and $12000 in a car loan

My fiancee is debt free and has been very vocal about this. He had told me he would start helping me on the mattress and his version is now that we are together he has sent 1 payment total – although he may send another one next month? I feel that I would not have the remaining house debt if I had not had to sell the house in poor market and finance a move two state away.

We started a financial class and the first thing he tells me as we leave is that he felt silly because he is the only person who has no debt – translation he doesn’t consider any part of my debt (not even the mattress) to be a shared responsibility.

The wedding is 5 weeks away (we have paid cash for this) and we had planned to start setting up joint accounts, etc after the wedding.

I think since he does not feel responsible, then we should just keep separate until the debt he doesn’t want to pay is gone (which would be all of it). However I know this will only cause me to resent him as I had no unsecured debt prior to our deciding to purchase the mattress and then selling my home.

I’m concerned about fully joinging everything because neither of us wants to give up control regarding finances.

How/when should we combine finances?


Dear Sarah,

Congratulations on finding the love of your life and on the upcoming wedding.

I know you are a bit stressed about all of this right now, but let me know how you are feeling after you read what I have to say.

See also  Robert is a Farmer, a Contractor and Behind in Bills

In relationships it seems like savers attract spenders. Your future husband sounds like he has exercised great self-control at avoiding financial liability but in fact, he has simply shifted it to you.

Situations like yours can be overcome but unless you address it, it will fester and become a source of future contention. Sarah, the key here is going to be communication.

You sound like you are making all the right decisions. I applaud your taking the financial class but his comments as you walk out of class just reinforce my feeling that he does not see that he has a joint debt with you for these items.

He needs to understand that as husband and wife, joined in marriage, you will have joint responsibilities and obligations. This is probably a good time to address these issues even though the wedding day has not arrived just yet.

Rather than giving up individual control, you need to help him understand that what you want to achieve is joint control. You want the two of you to actively participate in managing your finances and to both be aware of where you stand.

I would suggest that you start out proposing a friendly meeting where you each pull your consolidated credit report and sit down and read them together. Then swap them so you can read each others credit report. This consolidated credit report is the one I like the best and use.

The credit report review will give you both a background understanding about what credit history you are bringing into the marriage. This will be the best point to discuss that you are also bringing into the marriage these recent debts, the student loan and the car payment.

I know that some people feel that couples should keep separate finances, but I don’t. I think that just creates the fertile medium for financial secrets and I don’t like that.

I also think that if two people want to get married under law, roll around in the sack, swap bodily fluids and potentially create a baby together, then they need to be adult enough to manage their finances together as well.

See also  Marriage and Credit: Join Lives, not Accounts!

Does that mean that at some point in the future you won’t get divorced or have marital problems? Absolutely not. But those problems are going to be over other things.

Sarah, you need to sit the lad down and do this right away. You need to have this conversation with him as soon as possible so you feel comfortable, compatible and treated fairly before you get married.

After you get married and combine joint accounts, maybe set one day a month as the day the two of you will sit down together and look at the bank account, bills and investments. Information creates power and communication eliminates secrets.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.

Follow Me
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
Steve Rhode
Follow Me

3 thoughts on “I’m Getting Married But My Fiancee and I Don’t Seem to Be Money Compatible. – Sarah”

  1. I feel like I have a similar problem in that my boyfriend (hopefully husband someday) is a spender and I’m a saver. I have no debt and own absolutely everything in the condo (and the condo) and he just blows his money on frivolous items such as tattoos, atv’s, guns etc when he should be saving money so we can purchase a house in the future (which he really wants to do).

    I feel resentment towards him for going more and more into debt and not paying off his credit cards which are at about 8,000 and car loan at 10,000. We have conversations about this all the time, but they never end in any sort of resolution other than (don’t worry, I can take care of it on my own etc etc) and then he spends another 1200 on a new computer!!

    I have another issue about him not paying me rent on the first of the month. He lived with me for six months before I was able to convince him to fork over “rent” money to cover the utilities and my my mortgage which he agreed to pay $400 flat (which is a steal where I live, and this was in april 2008).

    Anyways, he pays me maybe a month and a half late every single month and it drives me insane and his argument is that he doesn’t have to live here and he could be saving that 400 by living at home (he’s 26) and that I don’t really need the 400 because I have enough in my checking and savings anyways to pay all my bills which is true. He just prioritizes his bills before paying me rent.

    It just drives my bonkers and I have horrible feelings of resentment about this money thing all the time. It’s not like we don’t talk about this either, I bring it up all the time and he has that lawyer argument mentality that he argues his point and I loose the save your money and pay your rent argument constantly.

    What do I do?

    • Ashlee,

      Well it’s not a great situation and it won’t get better with time. Imagine throwing kids in the mix and a tighter budget. Now that will add some stress to everything.

      I did have to chuckle that the items he spends money on are tattoos and guns. He sounds like he feels entitled to have what he wants by force or intimidation. Just an assumption.

      Frankly I’d lay it on the line and have a direct conversation that this is not acceptable moving forward.

      I don’t know the dude but it sure sounds like he’s taking advantage of you and I’ve got a real bad vibe that without some rules and capitulation on his part this will eventually end very badly. (Divorce, foreclosure, visitation)

      He needs to grow up, realize your commitments and obligations come before play and he needs to man up and meet his monthly financial obligations to you now.



Leave a Comment