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Ask Dave

Getting Married...Maybe

Kyle's fiancée is graduating from dental school next May. They're on how to handle the student loans. Dave tells Kyle this is a huge problem.

QUESTION: Kyle in Dallas has a fiancée graduating from dental school next May. She will graduate with about $200,000 in student loans, and she wants to start her own practice. Kyle owns his own business. He's butting heads with her on how to handle the student loans. Dave tells Kyle this is a huge problem, and they may want to put the wedding on hold.

ANSWER: This is a big problem, because there are several things represented here. One is your ability to come together and work together to come up with some kind of a plan that you both can agree on. If you can't do it here, you won't be able to do it on other things. Two is, she's looking to her father and her brother more than she is her husband-to-be for her values and how she's going to live her life going forward.

Obviously, I'm not going to be able to talk the banker into quitting his job when I do this show, and I'm perfectly okay with that. It has nothing to do with the debt to me. It has to do with what it represents and the fact that you are so diametrically opposed on one of life's most core subjects. If you were this diametrically opposed on religion, I would have to tell you, "Dude, you've got to think this out." Statistically, you're going to have a problem in your marriage. If you are this diametrically opposed on how you deal with family boundary issues like in-laws or one of you absolutely wanted to have children and the other one—no matter what happened—didn't want to have children, these are things that you don't get married over. These are deal breakers. It's not because you don't love them and it's not because they're not lovable and it's not because they're not wonderful. But you don't want to live your whole life wanting kids and she won't have kids. You don't want to have the things that are the core—the soul—of who you are be challenged on a daily basis by her daddy. This scares me.

It would be different if you were a casual listener to me. But you went to a $6,000 week-long small group thing with me on how to run a business and how to run it completely debt -free. When he's attacking me, it's not that he's attacking me; he's attacking what you believe.

I wouldn't advise you to end a relationship on a radio call. That would be ridiculous. The two of you have got to spend a lot of time with a pre-marriage counselor. You may want to push that date back or leave it penciled in until you get these issues solved in counseling. These are very entrenched, extreme positions on two sides of this, and you've got a value system here that doesn't line up. This is core to your relationship. I think you need to find a counselor who’s got the wisdom to realize this is core. It's not a one-time thing. This is how you're going to make every decision from this point forward. You're either going to cash in your chips, or she's going to cash in hers, or you're both going to feel like you've somehow watered down your lives. You're asking an atheist to marry a Christian and for it to work out. It's very, very hard.

This argument reveals how perpendicular you guys are. If you don't get through some in-depth, detailed counseling, your marriage doesn't have a shot. That or you'll have to remove your spine in order to be married. Your father-in-law doesn't respect you, either, and that's a problem. The only way that will work is if she is willing to not take his side in things. I wouldn't want one of my daughters to marry a guy I didn't respect. It wouldn't be good for him.