Our church required my husband and I to attend a weekend Marriage Prep prior to our wedding. We did not know what to expect. Our counselor explained that it would touch bases on all aspects of marriage.

We checked in at a high school gym and we were surprised that there were over 50 couples attending. Maybe it wasn’t going to be that boring. They gave us workbooks and we started going through them, with different topics and presenters. Surprisingly, many of the topics were of interest to us and time flew by.

After lunch, things got tricky for some. Finances, was the next topic. The presenter asked everyone to complete their individual workbook. It was an easy exercise for me. It was a simple balance sheet asking for a list of your debts and assets. After a couple minutes, the presenter asked us to exchange our balance sheet with our partners. The audience was asked to raise our hands if the outcome was unexpected. I had already discussed with my husband about college and car loans so nothing was really a surprise. Wow! At least half of the couples had someone raising their hands. I never imagined that many couples didn’t have the open communication we have.

When the ceremony is done and the honeymoon is over, newlyweds come back to face their regular lives. Having an honest discussion about your financial situation before an engagement can prevent major issues down the road. If you’re starting your life together in debt at least be sure your partner is aware of it because it will affect them.

One of the biggest causes of divorce is money problems. Many newlyweds have no idea about their partner’s credit scores. One spouse having poor credit will be an obstacle when planning for a big purchase like a home.

I recommend you put all the debt on the table. As you prepare for the party and the honeymoon, get in agreement about your financial life and future plans. You’ll also learn a lot about that person you are marrying, their habits and whether they are a spender or a saver.

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