Money and Marriage

Walk through your Accounts before You Walk Down the Aisle

Psychologist Dr. Robin Smith, author and a regular contributor to “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for The Washington Post ” The Color of Money”, both have a lot to say on the subject of marriage. Believing that the key to a successful relationship with your spouse begins by knowing who you are personally and financially, both experts gave their ideas on achieving matrimonial bliss.

Dr. Robin Smith’s first piece of advice to a couple seeking to tie the knot is that each of them needs to confront their buried demons. “You must discover the missing link that has severed your connection with yourself. You can’t be in love with someone and devote yourself to that person if you don’t even love your self,” Smith said.

Known for delivering a message through motivational advice, Smith a New York Times bestselling author of Lies at the Alter: The Truth about Great Marriages and radio host of “The Dr. Robin Show” on Oprah & Friends on XM satellite radio believes this advice goes for anyone no matter what your romantic status is in a relationship.

Get Under Your Own Skin

A happy marriage does not come without hard work and cooperation from each spouse and that can be difficult to achieve, especially if both partners have unresolved personal issues. One of the first challenges a black person has to face and work towards is overcoming the bias with skin color.

“Skin color is still a major issue in the [black community] and we can’t talk about love until we talk about why I hate myself. We can’t talk about love until we can talk about that skin color,” Smith said.

“How can I be faithful to my husband or my wife if my own link with myself is severed by hatred?” the question Smith asks.

Black Americans struggle with finding beauty and love in their skin not just because of society’s cultural norm of beauty but also because of black peoples’ perception of beauty.

It’s important to know what an individual loves and hates about himself or herself and what they absolutely won’t put up with in a relationship. A person should know all of these things before they get to that alter or before they start shacking up, Smith said.

“You grow with change. Being in a marriage or long lasting relationship means you have to invite and embrace your spouse as they rediscover and change certain aspects about their self,” Smith said “To be able to embrace this you must scrape off the layers of hatred you have for yourself and love. “

It’s no secret but the first step is trust to a happy marriage, divorce or relationship, “you need to allow yourself to become raw and vulnerable, then you can accept the feelings of another person,” Smith said

For further information on Robin Smith: http://www.drrobinsmith.com.

Michelle Singletary says ladies, “a man is not a plan” to fix your financial troubles and economic woes. Singletary, author and writer of “The Color of Money” personal finance column at The Washington Post says you must work out your own financial issues.

The numbers tell why. “Crisis-level statistics” from the think tank African American Healthy Marriage Initiative show that 41 percent of adult African-Americans are married compared to 62 percent of adult whites, and that there are 23 divorces per thousand black couples per year, compared to 19 for whites.

You cannot go into a marriage believing you’re still single. You can’t have all the perks of being married but still play the selfish ‘this is mine’ and ‘that is yours’ game. A couple with that mindset is destined for failure.

“Many couples come in believing that a marriage is 50/50 and it’s hardly that. Sometimes it’s 60/40 and at other times it maybe 70/30. It depends on what is going on with a couple’s finances,” Singletary said.

Don’t Rush to Jump the Broom

Money breaks up more marriages in this country than infidelity and it begins with some women entering into a relationship looking at a man as the answer to her financial problems, “I do not mean a man can’t be the head of the household, but women should not allow a man to be her financial savior. Every woman needs to get her money straight before she decides to jump the broom,” explained Singletary.

In the Baltimore native’s most recent book “Your Money and Your Man: How You and Prince Charming Can Spend Well and Live Rich,” Singeletary guides women on how to invest and manage their money by age and by stage of a romantic relationship. She warns that a well-paid brother who is economically stable is not the answer to a woman’s financial woes.

This advice also applies to men. Everyone needs to have already established a healthy method of saving money. ” Money is an important attribute to a successful marriage, but it will not cure you if you’re financially irresponsible,” Singletary said.

There are just as many men as women with financial problems. The root to such a prevalent problem could start with what parents taught. A lot of people were told to look for a partner with a degree, a nice home, a nice car, and some wealth. These attributes would help to build a successful marriage.

“A man can have a career as a doctor and have no money, just like he can be a garbage man and have excellent saving habits,” Singletary said.

What our parents forgot to tell us, Singletary said, was that it wasn’t the degree or the material things that sustained their marriage but something far greater.

For further information on Michelle Singletary: http://www.michellesingletary.com/. Try Reading her column ” The Color of Money” at http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/articles/michelle+singletary