Tag Archives: Pre-marital counseling

Hey Baby, What’s Your Credit Score?

I believe the answer to having a happy, long-lasting marriage is relatively simple:

First, no two people between the ages of 20 and 40 should date without having met each other’s families.  The man especially should meet the girl’s family and convince her father (hopefully there is one in the house) that he is a worthy competitor for his daughter’s hand.  Young women these days are far too immodest and free with their minds, bodies, and souls to have good sense about what they’re doing.  We don’t call it being slutty anymore – we call it “hooking up.”  We ought to go back to the days where a young man had to convince a girl’s family that he was worthy to court their daughter.

Second, all couples should spend six months in premarital counseling before they tie the knot.  Roughly 20 percent of people who go through premarital counseling realize they’re not a match, and the other 80 percent enjoy better marriages.

What it really comes down to is choosing wisely.  If you’re not being treated well two years into the courtship, you should hit the eject button.

There are many factors to choosing wisely.  Men, for example, need to discern whether or not a woman is going to take care of their babies (i.e. suckling them at her breast and not farming out motherhood to a nanny or day care center).  However, one quality that is constantly overlooked by both men and women is their date’s credit score.

Credit (especially for men but also for women) is an important attribute.  There are now sites such as creditscoredating.com and datemycreditscore.com which help people make sure they’re connecting with somebody who isn’t in debt or irresponsible with money.  This is especially important for young people who may bring tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to a relationship.

The New York Times recently interviewed more than 50 daters under 40 from around the country and found that many of them regarded a good credit score as a prerequisite for a good date.  No kidding.  What is the point of being with someone who is totally irresponsible with money and can’t support a family?

As the Times reported, “It’s a shorthand way to get a sense of someone’s financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person’s sexual past.”  Some people may think this vetting process goes too far, but I disagree.  According to an article in Time magazine:

“Landlords and lenders may look at your credit score to help determine if you are worth taking a chance on.  Even employers may do a credit check on you.  Why not a prospective mate?  How you handle money says a lot about your ability to be organized and responsible.  Why would anyone with options risk falling for someone likely to bring heavy debt and poor spending and saving habits to a [marriage]?”

I’m thunderstruck at how many women call my program with some variation of, “We’ve been dating for two years, but he never has any money because he spends it all on (fill in the blank).”  I mean please.  Too few women show any sense these days.  That’s why I think marriages should be arranged again.  I know it sounds terribly insulting, but it’s true.  The divorce rate would plummet.

If you have poor credit, read this Time article for tips on how to improve it.

Keeping Secrets from Your Spouse

Just because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be said.  Everything that crosses your mind shouldn’t necessarily come out of your mouth.  Honesty is sometimes a cross between stupidity and cruelty, and when it comes to keeping secrets from your spouse, honesty is not always the best policy. 

The most successful long-term relationships are based on very strong emotional and physical connections.  However, intimacy is not necessarily equated with absolute and complete honesty. 

There are obviously some things you ought to be honest about:

Debt.  I’m amazed at how many times I talk to somebody who wasn’t told that their spouse-to-be had college loans, credit card debt, and no money in the bank until after they were married.  A lot of times people don’t find out that their new spouse is in debt until they see their credit when they’re applying for a mortgage.  Hiding bad money skills leads to feelings of betrayal and mistrust that can sometimes never be overcome.  A lot of people walk away from marriages in which their spouse put the family in debt due to their spending or unwise financial schemes.

Eating disorders and substance abuse.  If you have an eating disorder or a substance abuse problem, you have to disclose it in advance.  Ongoing substance abuse or addiction will almost always interfere with intimacy.   Why?  Because something else is more important than your spouse.  Unless it’s dealt with, addiction will destroy just about every relationship.  That’s the truth.

Past illegal activities.  It’s best to reveal and explain past crimes and jail time because not only are they available on public record, but keeping them hidden only fills you with enormous guilt.  And if you’re exposed, it will scare everybody into thinking that the behavior could be repeated.

Molestation.  There was a period of a couple days where it seemed like just about every woman who called in to my show had been molested when she was younger and had no interest in having sex with her husband.  I put a question up on my website asking women who had been molested if they thought female molestation victims should ever get married.  When reading the responses, I was shocked to find that most of them said, “No.”  That blew my mind.  Quite frankly, I didn’t expect that would be the answer.  Considering this, I think that if a molestation is clearly still part of your life today, you need to tell your spouse-to-be.  Generally when a woman is a victim of molestation, the molester never gets exposed and the woman feels residual fear and anger.  They feel bitter about justice not being served and get mad at their parents and whoever else failed to protect them.  However, it’s their spouse who ends up getting the brunt of it because that’s the one area where the victim has power.  Withholding sex from their spouse, for example, is a way they maintain that power.  It’s not really all that complicated.  Past molestation should be revealed because it can lead to a very painful marriage if left concealed.

Lack of sex drive.  There are a lot of women who keep their disinterest in sex a secret and fake their orgasms.  Some guys keep their Viagra in a hiding place.  Although we live in a culture that is erotic and pornographic, we don’t seem to be able to talk about intimacies with the people we’re closest with.  Every day I get a call from some man or woman upset because they have misinterpreted their spouse’s physical disinterest as a lack of love and caring.  The first thing I always recommend for couples to do in this situation is for them to each get a complete physical.  Check everything out.  Examine your hormone levels because they have a lot to do with your sex drive.  Next, take a look at your schedules and lifestyle.  What is it that’s making you tired or preventing you from being playful and affectionate?  It’s sometimes advantageous to talk to an independent third party like a therapist or a religious person who has counseling experience.  

Because of the above concerns, I think it’s important that you go through six months of premarital counseling with your spouse-to-be so these secrets get uncovered.

However, not everything needs to be shared with your spouse.  Intimacy and complete openness are not one and the same.  You need to share your vulnerabilities with each other, but you also have to be sensitive to the consequences that sharing brings. 

Affairs.  I’ve had a lot of people call in to my show saying, “Oh my gosh, I had a half-hour fling, but I know it was stupid and wrong.  I understand why I did it, and I take full responsibility for my actions.  What should I do?  I don’t want to lose everything I have.”  My response is, “Well, get yourself tested to make sure you didn’t contract a disease, and then keep your mouth shut until the day after you’re dead.”  A lot of times, the spouse who had the affair wants to unburden themselves so they can feel better.  However, if they do, they are only going to destroy the trust in the marriage forever.  If you’re truly remorseful and you’re not going to repeat the stupid mistake, it’s best to just get on with life.

Not everything that can be said should be said.  If you have fantasies about someone, don’t tell your spouse.  You’re only going to make him or her feel inadequate.

Just about everybody has a list of stuff they’ve done when they were younger that they’re not proud of and they’ve learned from.  If a past behavior is clearly no longer part of your present (e.g. speeding tickets, fist fights, etc.), file it in the “private” cabinet and keep it to yourself.  Keep it safely between you and you.  If it’s seriously no longer part of your life, leave it alone because you’ll be judged by what is no longer true.