Now You Are One

Ernest got married in late May. His wife brought student loan debt into the marriage. Ernest wants to know if he should look at these debts as "our debt" now. Dave says yes.

QUESTION: Ernest in Houston got married in late May. His wife brought student loan debt into the marriage. Ernest wants to know if he should look at these debts as “our debt” now. Dave says yes.

ANSWER: Yes, it’s our debt. It came with the territory. It’s ours. The old-fashioned marriage vows—a lot of people don’t use them anymore out of The Book of Common Prayer—“for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, and unto thee I pledge my worldly goods”—that was in the old marriage vows. It means that I’m ready to take a bullet for you. I’m going to do whatever it takes to serve you, and vice versa. We’re going to combine our lives. We now are one person. “And now they are one,” the preacher says. In that sense, I want you to just take all of this on.

With that, of course, goes the fact that you guys are in agreement on how to handle money. We’re not doing this anymore. We’re working together on stuff. It’s not you just bailing her out and she’s going right back into debt for something else. The point is I don’t want you to just enable her. As long as there’s a healthy marriage and everybody’s in agreement going forward with common goals, yeah, I’d write a check today.