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Bill G. Paige
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I have a new book called Making Money Work: A Christian Guide For Personal Finance ( which explains investing and many other financial concepts.

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Making Your Marriage Work

By Bill G. Page
Author More marriages collapse over financial problems than for any other reason. It is important to discuss any preexisting debt before your wedding. Any significant debt issues including the amounts, monthly payments, due dates, interest rates, and so on, should be fully disclosed to and by your future spouse.

As with all your financial dealings, it is best to be truthful up front. Not disclosing your debt issues before the wedding can severely damage the trust factor in your marriage. The best solution is for each person to pay off his or her debt before the wedding.

If that is not possible, then you will have to decide as a couple who will be responsible for the debt once you are married. Will the debt be the sole responsibility of the spouse that incurred the debt, or will the married couple pay off the debt jointly? Many financial planners recommend a prenuptial agreement, which determines how the debts will be handled. Creditors can use a premarital pack to determine whether to target one spouse or both in pursuing debt collection.

Equally important as discussing preexisting debt problems before the marriage is discussing how the debts were incurred. For example, legitimate reasons for excessive debt might include educational expenses, unexpected medical expenses, parental support, and so on. If the debt was incurred through lack of financial discipline and impulsive spending on nonessential items, it likely will indicate a continuation of the same spending behavior after the marriage.

In addition to preexisting debt issues, a couple should have serious discussions on how they will manage their finances once they are married and become one economic unit. Ask yourselves which accounts will need to be closed, which accounts will need to be opened, will the accounts be owned jointly or separately, who will pay the bills, and so on.

Next, the couple should begin discussions on the wedding and agree on wedding costs. Suggestion: do not start your married life together under the burden of excessive wedding debt . Keep in mind that financial problems are the number one contributor to divorce rates. Also, any costs saved on wedding expenses can be used toward immediate or future financial goals that help to increase your couple’s portfolio . Wedding costs do not build your couple’s portfolio.

Bride’s magazine has a website at that has numerous wedding resources for planning local weddings. The average cost of an American wedding has soared to over $26,327.

Jesus Christ said, “ In the beginning, at the creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate ”—Mark 10:6–9.


I have a book that includes a CD ROM called Making Money Work: A Christian Guide For Personal Finance (order online at or request it through your local Christian bookstore). It includes a wealth of information on personal finance and strategies. The book comes with a CD ROM that has calculators to help you analyze, plan and achieve your financial goals--including a financial calculator to help you plan and budget your wedding costs.

Grace Wong, CNN/Money staff writer, “American Weddings study conducted by The Fairchild Bridal Group”, May 20, 2005.

This article is adapted from Making Money Work: A Christian Guide For Personal Finance with permission of Willie Glenn Page, Inc. Copyright 2005.





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