The New York Times reports that money makes marriages go ’round:
Marrying for love is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, marriages were arranged affairs, aligning families for economic or political purposes or simply pooling the resources of those scraping by.
Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want — or don’t want — out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save. For some people, it’s working 80-hour weeks to finance a third home and country club membership; for others, it means cutting back on office hours to spend more time with the family.
Making those choices as a team is one of the most important ways to preserve your marital assets, and your union, experts say. But it’s that much easier when you already share similar outlooks on money matters — or when you can, at the very least, find some middle ground.
The article suggests sharing goals, running your home like a business, supporting each other’s careers, erring on the side of frugality, using a mediator, and maintaining a degree of financial independence in order to have success in both money and marriage.
It’s common-sense advice. Any successful financial system needs structure, whether engineered by a single person or a couple. Integrate that structure into your marriage, and you decrease the potential for conflict. Less conflict means more ease, more happiness, more success.
Still, I think their last piece of advice is the most useful: Invest in the marriage itself. There’s no point in being with the love of your life if all you do is structure finances.