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Worried couple doing their accounts in the living room at home.

08 Mar 2017

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“The most I would spend before telling Jonathan is...€1,000.”



That revelation was pure telly gold in RTE’s reality show Then Comes Marriage?

The series tested three couples’ relationships on crunch issues in the run up to their weddings. And amazingly, finance was the most compelling.

Jonathan Hazlett revealed, somewhat guiltily, that “the most he would spend” without telling fiancée Angela Heaney was €100. And even then, he’d face a grilling: “I spent €100 once and she gave out to me.”

Angela, however, gave herself a little bit more latitude.

When the moment of truth dawned, Jonathon’s face was priceless as the penny – or rather 100,000 pennies – dropped about the spending habits of his fiancée.

JONATHAN: A thousand euros is a lot of money!

ANGELA: But if I spent a thousand euros on a watch and you said how much is that watch? Would you still expect me to tell you it was a thousand euro?

At this point the show’s resident relationship guru Ray O’Neill interjected.

RAY (the presenter): “So basically, (you’re saying) would you expect me to tell you the truth?”

JONATHAN (exasperated): Yes!

Of course, Jonathan and Angela definitely aren’t alone in their spending habits.

How financially compatible are you as a couple?

Issues over financial incompatibility are one of the top three that couples have to deal with, says Ray. (Housework features and you can guess the other one!)

The important thing, however, is not that they exist, as they often do, but that people are open with each other about everything, including their spending.

In other words, do tell your partner when splashing out €1,000 of hard-earned cash!

Angela’s explanation as to why she didn’t – it was “her money” – is a classic bugbear that has to be dealt with when building a stronger relationship. (Although in fairness to her, they were not married at that stage.)

“You have to stop thinking of ‘I’ and starting thinking ‘We’,” advises Irish relationship expert Ray O’Neill.

Though somewhat financially incompatible, Jonathan and Angela went on to get married.

“I can’t say that they completely resolved the issue. But they at least engaged in an ongoing process,” says Ray.

“The important thing is to talk about it yet it’s amazing how many couples have a blind spot about money.”

Avoiding financial conflict in a relationship

Would Angela and Jonathan have addressed the issue if they hadn’t been confronted with it on national television? If they are like many couples, the answer is probably not.

“Many couples are “sunny side up” and tend to avoid conflict, which can be a problem,” Ray says.

But they did have a major plus in their favour which is the most important factor in any relationship.

“It was obvious that they’re mad about each other,” Ray recalls.

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