The level of effort you put into your marriage will reward you with the same amount of return as if your marriage was a financial investment. If you consider your “effort” as if it were money, you can look at your marriage as a portfolio with areas of diversification (spouse, children, home, employment, retirement, hobbies, education, etc.).
So, what’s your “investment strategy”? If you invest large sums of time and energy into your marriage, you’ll likely see a return of compounded interests equaling a happy life with successful profits. If you put little into your marriage, you’ll likely have a loss of profit after you pay for withdrawals, fees, and penalties.
What withdrawals? Those would be times when you took from your partner without putting anything “in” your account. In a lot of relationships there are “givers” and “takers.” This relationship dynamic is also known as “codependent” because they rely on each other to fulfill each other. Usually, as in finances, when one is taking money (love) out of the relationship “account” and not putting any in, the couple can feel emotionally “bankrupt.”
What fees? Well, that’s the costs associated with having a relationship in the first place. An example of a fee would be “requirements” such as paying joint bills, the impact of your lack of investments concerning your children, the expense of living apart, etc. We all come into a marriage with expectations, and often those unshared expectations “cost” us; through disagreements, misunderstandings, and disconnections.
What penalties? Well, that would be the expenses associated with the maintenance of your relationship. Examples would be counseling costs, attorney fees, court fees, division of your assets, and decreased retirement accounts, the loss of equity on your home, and the loss of relationships with your children. Not to mention the return of penalties that continue for the rest of your life as you create another relationship outside your marriage in an attempt to invest in someone else. The level of commitment to this new investment will require more effort than to repair the marriage you currently have. These are fees that should be discussed upfront, before you make the decision to sign a contract with this person, identify the penalties and make every effort to eliminate them.
Also, consider this: A new spouse will need to not only adjust to your new marriage, but will have to deal with all your prior investment consequences as well. This will look like withdrawals taken from your new joint investments in order to maintain the old investments which you can only pay into without receiving any pay back. This would be things like, child support, alimony, social security, children’s college funds, joint expenses for children’s weddings, grandchildren, etc. How will you fund your new investments with your new spouse when any “extra” finances will be utilized to pay off the old debts accrued? If you are not able to invest as heavily into your new investment as your current spouse anticipated prior to marriage, there will be opportunity for dissension and bitterness to develop over the loss of investment in your current portfolio. Your current account manager (spouse) will attempt at first to cover the losses by investing more into your joint account, but eventually those funds will dry up and your account will lay dormant as no one invests, ultimately the withdrawal, fees, and penalties will result in cancelation of this policy as well. And as with the first portfolio, whatever additional investments (children, house, retirement, etc.) was established upon creation of this portfolio (marriage) will require additional expenses post elimination of the portfolio for maintenance costs.
If you are confused about how your marriage portfolio is doing, I recommend a marriage counselor. Like a financial counselor, they measure the potential successes (and mishaps) in your marriage plan. No two couples are the same, and every problem has a different root cause. Don’t just sit and wait, that doesn’t work with finances and it doesn’t work in your marriage either. Call us today! Let’s get your marriage return on investment working to profit you.