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The 'Money Couple' Talks Love and Money

Read about relationships and finance in "First Comes Love, Then Comes Money."

ByABC News via logo
April 22, 2009, 2:56 PM

April 23, 2009 — -- Money has always played a huge role in marriage, and with the economic crisis, it's become more important than ever before.

For many couples, the trouble with money and marriage isn't even the money itself -- it's learning how to talk about their finances.

But just how do you get that financial intimacy into your relationship? Bethany and Scott Palmer, also known as "The Money Couple," joined "Good Morning America" to explain how and to talk about their new book "First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple's Guide to Financial Communication."

Read an excerpt of the book below and then visit our "GMA" Library for many more good reads.

Chapter One: Forget the Budget, Save the Relationship

This book isn't going to tell you how to create a balanced budget. It's not going to tell you how to pay off your mortgage in ten years. It's not going to tell you how to live debt free for the rest of your life. Why? Because without healthy financial communication, without a commitment to putting an end to financial infidelity, none of that stuff works. After more than thirty-five years of combined experience as financial advisers, we've learned that if you don't know how to talk about money with your partner, if you don't know how to keep financial infidelity from destroying your relationship, budgets and plans and payments won't mean squat.

The conventional wisdom out there is that financial health comes from a clear budget, minimal debt, and controlled spending. So when -couples hit a financial bump, they head to the bookstore to find a resource that will give them the perfect road map to financial freedom. They create tidy budgets. They pay off their debt. They control their spending.

Those road maps are fine and they often get -people where they want to be—at least on paper. But like any road map, they don't take into account the fact that there are -people driving the car, -people with their own personalities and habits. Maps can show you the route to your destination, but they can't help you get there without yelling at the person riding shotgun. That's why even -couples with perfect budgets and paid-off houses and zero debt still end up arguing about money, angry about money, resentful about money.

Even -couples with spotless credit reports can be mired in the kind of financial infidelity that sullies relationships. Because the budget isn't the problem; the lack of financial communication is the problem. We didn't get that for a long time. Bethany and I used to talk with couples having serious financial problems. We'd put together the cash flow worksheet, help them develop a budget, create a plan for paying off their debt, and send them on their way. We'd feel like we'd done our job and helped these nice people. They'd feel good because they'd taken this important step toward getting their finances on track.