Seven out of ten marital problems are about money. Even Philippine cinema’s favorite love team, Popoy and Basha, were not spared from this. There have been a few reviews and lessons learned articles about this box office hit A Second Chance starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, but they’re mostly about the hugot lines and love lessons especially for millennials. So let me talk to you about the FQ or money lessons couples can learn from this blockbuster hit, which has reportedly earned a record P400 million on its first 10 days.
- Practice full disclosure on money matters. Our Family Code provides for Absolute Community of Property between spouses who got married starting August 4, 1988. Unfortunately, couples sign the marriage contract without even knowing about this. However, ignorance of the law does not exempt you from it. So married couples, listen up. You have to know what you own and what you owe. In the movie, Basha had to stop working at their co-owned construction company in order to get pregnant. Now I do not know how Popoy was able to secure all those loans without Basha’s knowledge. But suffice it to say, that there are a lot of true-to-life cases where the spouse is not aware of the financial ongoings of the partner. Sometimes the husband tries to protect the wife (and the children) from financial problems, and in so doing, the family members continue to spend as if there’s no problem at all.
- Always put checks and balances. Popoy was on the roll getting contracts left and right until his firm met a major accident and a huge loss due to a trusted employee’s misconduct. He was stealing from the firm by using substandard materials. Always make it easier for your employees to be honest by providing the right office infrastructure.
- Never make important and life-changing decisions when you are in the hot state. The hot and cold states are Behavioral Economics terms used to describe emotionally-charged (hot) and rational (cold) dispositions, respectively. Popoy made the decision not to go to Europe to pursue his dream of becoming the world’s best engineer on the eve of their wedding. He professed his undying love to Basha at the altar telling him that he will not go abroad anymore because he just wants to be with her. Even if I myself shed tears watching that lovely scene and even if I’m not a big fan of spouses living apart from each other, I question Popoy’s decision. Should he make that life-changing decision on the eve of their wedding? I don’t think so. There should have been a lot of pencil-pushing, some soul-searching done after the honeymoon, during his/their cold state before he throws away that dream and change the course of their life from what was already agreed upon prior to the wedding.
- Building that dream house. There are different schools of thought on when to build your dream house. As much as I don’t subscribe to building or buying something that’s not affordable to a young couple (remember to compute all the not so obvious costs of owning a house), I also subscribe to my mom’s advice to us then, “Building a house is very much like getting married. You have to take a leap of faith. Then commit. If you wait for the time when you are very sure that you have all the money to build it, it might be too late!” And that’s what we did. Three years into our marriage we bought the lot. Then less than a year after, we started building our home. Building a house is a test of marriage as you go through the highs and lows of excitement and frustrations together. Expect to always go beyond your original budget. But the important reminder is to know when to adjust. In the movie, the highly anticipated house of the tandem of an engineer and architect couple might have pressured Popoy to accept way too many projects in order to still build that dream house he promised to his wife. In our case, we adjusted. We moved in without landscaping, furniture and other minor things in our original wish list. If you’re looking at a lifetime of partnership, there’s no need to rush everything right away. On the other hand, there’s no need to delay unnecessarily. Looking back, if we delayed any longer, we wouldn’t have been able to spend the growing up years of our children in our home.
- Do not shop when you’re feeling low. In the movie, Basha decided to go shopping on a day she felt so low. Then she saw her high school classmate who must have been a nobody back then and now was a donya escorted by a good looking husband, a tisoy son, a yaya and a driver/bodyguard. Feeling sorry for herself, she ended up buying the things, which she earlier hesitated to buy because of the price. I wrote about this last week (Click Behavioral Economics Tips for your Holiday Shopping). Behavioral Economics studies show that when you do self-affirmations before you go shopping, you end up spending less.
- The male ego, female role and society. Let’s face it, no matter how much we cry out and demand gender equality, we are is still sticking to the traditional roles in society. Evolutionarily, the male is the provider and the female is the caregiver and it may probably take us many more decades to outgrow this. A husband feels inadequate is he’s not able to provide for his family. A wife feels inadequate when she is not able to bear and give birth to a child. And this was the fatal combo situation that brought about the conflict in the movie. That was an award-winning acting by John Lloyd at the stairs when he described how little he thinks of himself whenever he’d come home to his wife feeling that he was a failure. It’s a guy thing to need that feeling of adequacy, of being a good provider. Wives, especially those who are earning more than their husbands, should be very sensitive about this.
- Infidelity can be an offshoot of the male ego being hurt and the search for that missing 10%. It almost happened, Popoy almost gave in to the advances of an ex-fling at the time that he was very low. That’s why a womanizer is usually someone whose self-esteem is low. He has to show his machismo to cover up for something. For both genders, the usual cause of infidelity is the search for that missing 10%. What do I mean? If you get so fixated with that small thing that your partner is not able to give you (the 10%), you may go out looking for that in someone else. Once you find that 10%, you get blinded and succumb to the temptation to have it. In the end, when the spark is gone in that illicit affair, you will realize what a fool you were to give up the 90% for a measly 10%!
- Know each other’s strengths and use them accordingly. In the movie, we saw how the strengths of Basha played out and was working well on their clients. Unfortunately, Popoy was not able to use her help earlier because he did not disclose what was happening to their company. On the other hand, the stubborn vision of Popoy on his dream calamity-proof buildings can also prove to be revolutionary and successful when given the proper timing and break. In harnessing strengths, there should be mutual respect and clear understanding of roles so that the unnecessary and destructive jealousy between partners can be avoided.
- Set clear work guidelines. It is a big challenge to work together with your spouse, especially if you own the business. It’s hard to draw the line between your roles as co-workers/business owners and lovers. Because of this, you should set your guidelines very clearly and be ready to adjust when things get crazy. Both parties should agree and be very clear on what relationship is more important. The ending of the movie shows a promise of another chance at their love relationship, and I think in real life, they will only succeed if these parameters are set clearly.
So there goes another love story that shows us that love is not enough to have a successful marriage. Respect and money are very crucial elements that come into play in order to keep your marriage successful. Remember, money is the fuel to your journey called life. No matter how great your partner, your destination and plans are, you will never get there if there’s no fuel.
I will speak at the Manila Children’s Festival on December 12, 2015 at the SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo StarCinemaMediaLibrary.blob.core.windows.net modified to help deliver the message of the article.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.