RON HART: Ain’t no romance without finance

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 11:16 AM.

Chattanooga , Tenn.--  Just to sum up last week politically, our president celebrated Earth Day by flying Air Force One and four other jets to Japan . Over $400-an-ounce Kobe beef and sushi, he gave speeches railing about income inequality. In what might be a robot-based economy, Obama toured a Honda plant where programmable, human-like robots obey every command. And in a tit-for-tat display of one-upsmanship, Obama called a press conference with his mainstream media reporters. The robotics designers were very impressed and admitted defeat.

But this week I want to talk about marriage. I have many very flawed theories on the matter that I’d like to hash out in column form on the eve of my older daughter’s nuptials.

Once they take away the wedding cake (the average wedding costs $30,000), the real marriage begins. Commitment to a spouse is an investment in him or her, and the family, through your marriage. And they commit to you. Some want the big wedding but not so much the ensuing marriage.

My parents used to say that they were not rich enough to get divorced. Money, or the lack thereof, can often the reason that marriages last. Or as the great Tennessee philosopher Lumber says, “Boys, the reason our marriage works is that we both realized we both got the best deal we could get.”

Today half of marriages end in divorce. So getting married is betting half your net worth that you can put up with the same person for the rest of your life. A buddy of mine recalls his first marriage as a "four-year hostage situation."

Marriage is about aligning many things, especially finances. It’s the issue couples most fight about, and it feeds the 50% divorce rate. Women now check men’s FICO credit scores before dating them. Some out there are so over their skis financially and in debt that they are looking for someone to take over the payments.

Pre-nup or not, it behooves couples to sit down and have an honest talk about their finances. Each side should know the truth about the finances of the other. It is not romantic, so many avoid the subject. But it is vitally important.

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