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Courtship, Marriage and Our Money, Honey

Lynda StarWriter speaks to Marriage and Money and the multi-billion dollar wedding industry.

Last weekend, I attended a bridal show hosted inside the Promenade Mall in Temecula. The very first question each of the fabulous vendors asked me while I hovered over the colorful, aromatic flowers, while sampling the tasty appetizers, while PASSING BY their swirly-frosted, mega-sized cupcakes (that I really wanted to SCARF), while admiring the multitude of photos capturing the embraces and faces of matrimonial frolic was, “So…when are YOU getting married?”

“Ahem. Never…again,” I mumbled, quickly introducing myself as an exuberantly curious journalist. I know, I know! What in the wedding world was I doing at a bridal show? Well, I’m always on the hunt for stories; business-related, in this instance.  

After all, marriage IS a binding contract and a joint, business endeavor; much easier to get into than to get out of, with a no-return policy and absolutely, NO GUARANTEES. I’m just guessing and giggling about the difficulty in broaching the topic of  m-m-money (stutter and stammer) as a worthy, relationship detail.

At this stage in my life (I’m 55 years old; the NEW 45), I’d bet that a number of DATING, COMMITTED couples are willing to disclose some really personal information to one another, given time. After moving beyond the initial, physical attraction, the basic inquiries remain pretty simple: name, job, marital status (how many times?), kids, living arrangements, hobbies, valid driver’s license, vehicle, obvious NUANCES (hygiene, fitness, vocabulary), courteousness,
CASH FLOW (there, I said it). 

Folks, wouldn’t I just be apoplectic if a gentleman were to ask me something like, “…how much do you owe on the snappy BMW?” or “Do you have outstanding student loans?” or “Who’s your medical insurance carrier?” or “Does your former husband happily and easily pay child support on time?” or “What’s in your wallet besides a CPR card, honey?”   Emphatically, YES! But, aren’t these valid, monetary questions for a relationship evolving into MORE…of a commitment toward…working together…as a TEAM (such an impractical, but accurate word)? Ahhh. Such a sweet paradigm and how often overlooked-- not always replete with negative, financial implications.

In an article entitled: The Top Six, Marriage-Killing, Money Issues, appearing on the Investopedia.com website, James McWhinney suggests that a prenuptial agreement may avert any brewing, MARITAL discord about finances. Really?  On the business side of things, I’d be inclined to agree. Heck, I give buyers an invoice receipt for the things I sell on Craig’s list. That’s how I’m wired after having learned to implement the acronym, C-Y-A (cover your assets), way back in paramedic school -- If IT isn’t documented, IT didn’t get done.  Admittedly, I’d opt for the prenup ONLY if extreme wealth (mine) is an IRS fact, Jack (hope springs eternal)! When I think about it, a prenuptial agreement isn’t an issue. Why?

If a sublime, irreconcilable difference looms over the register of my KEEN intuition PRIOR to marriage (I've been married, once), chances are it WILL manifest on the emotional and financial register after the wedding. I don’t know about you, but my rose-colored glasses and my heart have been known to cloud my judgment of character (even my own), especially in my youth.

Kerry Hannon espouses using good judgment in Forbes Magazine, suggesting that couples will eventually LEARN to appreciate one another’s differences.  She’s been married for 20 years. Money and Marriage: 6 Tips for Success, provides common, marital tenets, as well as the lovely, Navajo Wedding Blessing used in Hannon’s wedding ceremony.

On the starry-eyed, blissful side of marriage, TRUST is a huge element, isn’t it? I would believe the things he shares about OUR future TOGETHER -- to some degree. He would believe my vision, too. Neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet,
nor snow, nor buxom secretary, nor handsome hunk, nor illness, nor wealth, nor addiction, shall separate us! Perhaps. We'll see. You never know.

MOST significant, life-changing events TEST the mettle of ALL marital commitments. I’d be remiss to even touch on this because EVERY couple experiences a litany of very personal, challenging sagas for the duration of the marriage. How they withstand and emerge for the better, over many years, is truly divine and inspirational. My parents were married for 60 years; I attest, it wasn’t easy for them to endure, at times. My mom would say, "Forgiveness is the salve that mends YOUR broken heart because of his broken promise. Sometimes, you have to forgive a whole lot." 

My dad would say, "I don't remember arguing with your mom about a lot of things. As long as I have my coffee and donuts, everything's good."  Simple, indeed. Whatever works.

Now, whatever works with physical intimacy in a seemingly expected, often unspoken component of relationships (barring any and all details of prior desire, of passion and of ASSUMED fidelity). Staking out a favored side of the bed is the first step toward spooning, happily-ever-after, until the snoring, the restless leg syndrome, the kids, the gator breath, the insomnia, the heat, the open (closed) window, the flu, his super-hero chonies, her Einstein bedhead, or the sleep apnea appears like a recognizable, tolerable guest. 

Time WILL tell, as any of these, and many other idiosyncrasies, can emerge as an oversimplified deal-breaker. However, flawed characteristics are the sacrosanct foundation of an intimate relationship: she knows he's a BIG baby when he's sick with the flu; he knows she talks in her sleep; she knows he's a blanket hog; he knows she snores off of the decibal scale (but the sound lulls him to sleep). They wouldn't have it any other way.

I did find a few, notable quote resonating with love and marriage (no mention of money):

“They dream in courtship, but in wedlock, wake.” Alexander Pope

“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” Mother Theresa

“In all of the wedding cake, hope is the sweetest plum.” Douglas Jerrold

 “A wedding anniversary is a celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies in any given year.”  Paul Sweeney.

According to Wikipedia, 2.5 million weddings occur every year in the United States, generating $40 billon, annually for the industry (attire, flowers, cakes, venues, entertainment, food, music, photos, honeymoon). USA Today reported that the average cost for a wedding is $27,000. In New York, the average cost of a wedding is around $65,000.

Listen, I don’t mean to diminish the REQUISITE altruism, the unbridled romance nor the hopes and dreams of promising couples everywhere, but it was VERY TEMPTING for me to plan a PARTY (sans the bride and groom fluff), because ANY bridal theme is akin to a whimsical fairy tale in which I want to partake – just for the fun of it.

If you’re planning a wedding-- or a festive event, make sure you check out the photos I snapped of some of a FEW of the notable vendors:

  • Smokehouse Catering (Mike’s BBQ): 800.737.3619

www.smokehousecatering.com 

  • Beautiful Blooms by Larry (he also officiates): 760.855.8278

www.beautifulbloomsbylarry.com   

  • Monteleone Meadows (Murrieta)  951.677.6403

www.monteleonemeadows.com                       

  • Pampered Chef (Ethyl Havens, Murrieta)  415.250.2121

ethyl.havens@yahoo.com                        

  • A Wedding Ring Experience   866.583.6982

www.aweddingringexperience.com                              

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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