She Delayed The Wedding For His Bad Choices

Chris recently got engaged. His fiancée called off the wedding because she's nervous about finances. Dave disagrees with her reasons for delaying the wedding.

QUESTION: Chris in Salt Lake City recently got engaged. His fiancée comes from a debt-free family and has no debt. Chris is trying to pay off debt now. Chris is underemployed and not making progress on his debt now. But his fiancée called off the wedding because she’s nervous about finances. Dave disagrees with her reasons for delaying the wedding if it’s for the reasons Chris believes it is.

ANSWER: There are two types of nervous about the finances. One of those is worth postponing the wedding, and the other one is not. The first type is, “I’m nervous I’m marrying a financial doofus who’s going to continue to be a doofus, and I don’t think I want to do that.” That actually is a logical reason, and I would agree with that reason. I don’t think that’s who I’m talking to. I don’t think you’re an absolute financial doofus, or at least you’re not bent on remaining one. The second reason to delay the wedding is not that you’re projecting into the future, but the present scares her.

I think you need to get to the bottom of which type of these it is. I think she’s saying the present scares her, and if she is, I disagree with her. I don’t tell people to not get married due to debt. I do tell them to not get married if they can’t agree on how they’re going to handle money and debt into the future, because disagreements over money and money problems are the number-one cause of divorce. So you might as well recognize going in that you’re not going to agree and are headed for divorce, so we’re not going to marry. You’re just not on the same page. But I hear you saying, “I’m a guy who’s made mistakes. Going forward in the future, I want to be out of debt. I’m going to work to do what it takes to get out of debt, and we’re in agreement about that.” If you really are and she really believes that, then I disagree with her for delaying the wedding.

We do measure people on how they’re going to live their lives—what their character qualities are and what their success ratio into the future is. If you have troubling habit patterns that have caused your problems that haven’t changed, then that does disqualify you as a suitor. But if you don’t have any troubling habit patterns, if you’ve really learned your lesson, you’re really ready to move forward, you’re a hardworking guy, you’re willing to do what it takes, I think that’s when she’s got to decide if she really likes you, or does she really just like financial security? You’re going to go through troubles together, and you might as well learn to fight together early as much as late.

I think you guys continue to discuss this—probably sit down with someone and do some pre-marriage counseling and dig into this. Make sure that’s not her father channeling through her. It’s okay to go sit down and talk to him about it and ask his advice. That would be honoring to him. If you’re heading in the right way, then you’re not disqualified based on that. I don’t disqualify people based on where they are. I disqualify them based on where they’re heading.