Whether you have been married for only a brief period of time, many years, or…
Money and love sometimes don’t mix well in a marriage. Money can cause a lot of problems that can literally rip a marriage apart. This is not an exaggeration, because financial troubles are one of the main reasons people divorce. You have to manage your household budget and live within your means in order to avoid the kinds of money problems that often lead to divorce.
It Takes Two
People often get married without even discussing how each feels about money. Some people are notorious spenders and others are extremely thrifty. It can be a real shock when a spendthrift and a saver marry. It doesn’t take long for trouble to brew.
Financial troubles also arise because the husband and wife don’t talk about financial troubles as they arise and then develop a joint plan for dealing with the problem. Some spouses become secretive about money and go as far as to lie about the household finances. Some spouses just keep doing exactly what they want in terms of spending money causing enormous feelings of frustration and lack of control in their spouses.
Money issues can get very ugly. Attitude differences toward money can lead to resentment and plenty of arguments. To make matters worse, life can turn in a direction that leads to serious money problems. For example, when the primary bread earner is laid off from his or her job, the financial pressures can get intense quickly. Even in this situation, people take different attitudes towards money. Some people bury their heads in the sand and just kind of hope the money problems go away. Others become depressed and depression can lead to inactivity.
The key to dealing with financial problems in a marriage is making sure both parties are involved in the household finances. It can’t be one or the other who shoulders the entire burden or takes all the responsibility. The husband cannot be the only saver and the wife cannot be the only spender, for example. Instead there needs to be frequent and regular discussions about money. As the old song says, “It takes two, baby….Just me and you…”
Arguing About Money
Probably one of the most common arguments in a family is over money. Spouses argue with each other when one spouse sees the other as jeopardizing the financial security of the family. Sometimes the argument arises because the spouse sees the spending behaviors of the husband or wife as a direct insult. That’s because a spender may see a saver as hording money that he or she wants to use to use on a purchase. The saver sees the spender wasting money on things that could wait for another time.
When people have different goals and even values about money, it is likely there will be frequent arguments unless the couple learns to talk regularly about money. Just like in most areas of life there will have to be a compromise, and the only way to reach a compromise is through negotiation.
The Art of Negotiation
Negotiation is a process whereby common goals are established and reached through give and take. By establishing long range financial goals together, you are working towards a common goal in the end – financial security. As husband and wife, you need to set goals that are realistic but also flexible. For example, you can come to agreement on an amount to save for the household while allowing room for some luxury spending also.
What some people don’t realize is that money often takes on much more than just financial value. A spouse may see the spending of money on a luxury item as a reward for succeeding at work. A saver rewards him or her by setting aside money for peace of mind. Money is just as much about emotions as it is about finances.
Of course, when a spouse loses a job it can create a financial nightmare in the family. The first thing to keep in mind is that panicking and criticizing your spouse is going to make it very difficult to have a rational discussion. Loss of a job can be devastating to family. Many couples seek financial counseling because there are many different options for managing finances during emergency periods. For example, many credit card companies will reduce their required payments for a period of months until your spouse finds employment.
Money and love sometimes don’t mix when financial problems create stress within the marriage. Instead of waiting for the inevitable arguments, you should sit down together and discuss your short and long term goals, make a plan and begin using positive communication skills to get on the same financial track.