Marriage can be a wonderful institution. Love, companionship, the rearing of children, spiritual togetherness and financial partnership – the list goes on and the benefits are great, but with one very specific condition…you need to go into it with your eyes wide open!
Whether it is the first marriage or a second or third, every time the circumstances will have changed and especially if you have not managed to make the first one work, perhaps you need to consider if, before you went into marriage, you really examined all the pros and cons and carried out the important things to do before you say ‘’I do?’’
Please don’t think this article is in any way designed to discourage you from getting married – on the contrary, it is specifically designed, together with the collaboration of a couple of my trusted colleagues to assist you and just make sure that not all your efforts are placed simply on putting the big day together, but also on carrying out what may be the less enviable tasks that will ensure your marriage is a long-lasting and happy one.
One of the biggest fears, and the one that often leaves the Bride or Groom standing alone at the altar as their spouse makes a break for it out the side door of the Church, is that you are going to lose out on all the great things a single life can offer you.
Well, truth be told, there are advantages to being single and forming a partnership for life is not easy. MARRIAGE IS DIFFICULT – this cannot be put any other way or emphasised enough, so without a doubt, well before you enter into it, you both need to face the reality that most marriages end in divorce and you need to ask the 64 million dollar question – ‘’why is this so?’’
If you break it down, there are probably dozens of reasons for this, but it is my belief that going into marriage is just simply too easy, so too many people do not face these considerations or answer that important question. Possibly this article will prompt you to do so – I hope so. So, what are what I and my colleagues believe to be the three most critical reasons that so many marriages end in demise?
- Financial disparity
One of the biggest reasons for failed marriages is constant arguments as a result of not being financially aligned with one another. It is quite incredulous to me that some couples actually don’t even discuss their finances and how they will be handled once they are married. Do they simply assume that they will carry on as they are?
In marriage, this is just not possible, or advisable, even if you are both breadwinners and quite comfortable with handling your own finances. There are in fact many benefits to be derived from shared finances, but the couple must be clear on exactly how this is to be structured and who will be in charge of it.
An excellent Financial Advisor I know sent me a very basic list of the top 5 things every married couple to be should do or know prior to marrying and these are…
Things to do…
- Sit down and talk about and be honest with each other about debt, spending, and short and long term financial goals
- Meet with a Financial Planner together before and after getting married to ensure your finances are well-advised on and in the right hands
Things to know
- Your individual credit record matters
- There’s no such thing as a joint bank account in SA
- Tax returns are completed separately
You can get more great advice on this from my trusted colleague Melissa at – https://melissaweberfinance.wordpress.com/
- The wrong marriage contract
Leading on from this and closely aligned to avoiding financial disparity is avoiding marrying with the wrong marriage contract in place. By law in South Africa if you do not specifically have an Ante-Nuptial Contract – or ANC, you are automatically registered in community of property.
This is less than desirable and has been the cause of many a divorce as both partners surrender all their worldly goods and wealth (assets and liabilities) into one pot, as it were, and it leaves both partners exposed in the event of financial bankruptcy by either partner.
It is essential therefore to have an ANC drawn up by a registered notary prior to marrying and you have 2 options of ANC contract to choose from. An ANC without accrual means there is absolute separation of estates and spouses are therefore liable for their own debts. Financial protection is afforded against each other’s creditors and assets are owned by each spouse separately. At the dissolution of the marriage, the spouses have no claim whatsoever against the other party regarding the assets in their respective estates.
The most popular form of ANC is that of the ANC with accrual, which means that when the marriage is dissolved, either by death, divorce or annulment, the spouse who has had the lesser growth in his/her estate, measured during the commencement of the marriage, will have a claim for half of the difference in the growth of the two estates against the spouse who has had the larger growth or accrual in his/her estate.
For details on all the final points, great advice and to have your marriage contract of choice drawn up, I recommend my other trusted colleague Lindi Smith of Lindi Smith Attorneys at –www.lsmithlaw.co.za
- Non-aligned personalities and unresolved issues
As one rather good article I read on this subject put it – ‘Alignment in a relationship means that you are living and loving in the same direction as someone else. If you do not take the time and effort to align your vision, core values, and passions with your partner, it will slowly start to take a toll on your relationship. Relationships should never feel difficult.’
There are two things that I strongly recommend, therefore, prior to marrying, a) take some time out for yourself to get any of the ‘’I wish I had done this when I was single” list out of the way – For some great advice on this refer to this article – https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/things-to-do-before-marriage – and b) most importantly, attend a Relationship Workshop together with a Life Alignment Practioner or Life Coach to examine and talk about the important emotional and personal aspects of making life with your partner workable.
What will your relationship workshop entail?
As just such a coach this is where I come in and I would be honoured to ensure that you will examine the most important issues and potential pitfalls of marriage before you utter those vows of commitment to each other for a lifetime. Some of the things we would discuss and attempt to reveal are issues like:
- Healing old wounds –Ensuring you are aware of and have totally healed old wounds from previous relationships or marriages. Marrying on the rebound is only too common and often leads to disaster.
- Aligning your expectations – Being aware of the silent expectations that you may have of each other – have you really voiced these or do you just take them for granted? Have you discussed both short and long term goals for your lives, like children, finances, where you want to end up living and what you want to be doing in the future?
- Children and family –Talking of children, how many marriages have failed because of one spouse or the other not being comfortable with having children, or in the case of second marriages, living with their spouse’s existing children? Never forget that blood is thicker than water, so don’t simply ignore the potential danger of unhappiness caused through the interference of anyone related to your spouse to be.
- Even the name!– As insignificant as it may seem, even the change of a name can have implications. As a practitioner of all aspects of body, mind and soul, I know through my Soul plan program that even a name change can be significant and cause friction down the line.
…and so much more…
My business is Self and More and I am here to help. As stated right at the beginning, this has not been designed to scare you off, but to make you more determined than ever to take the actions you need to take, prior to marriage, to ensure it is a peaceful and happy one.
Whole books have been written on this subject so this just exposes the tip of the iceberg – for anything else you need to know simply talk to me – helping others is my goal and my passion, so I’m all ears! Keep safe-keep your eyes and mind wide open-and look forward to a wonderful marriage!