Last week we talked about some of the major causes of stress in a marriage, and the ways we can help to reduce those stressors. We briefly touched on the importance of money management to reduce financial stress, but this topic deserves some elaboration since money is, arguably, one of the most common reasons behind marriage failure.
It is not uncommon for couples to disagree about money-management styles, and to have one person who’s a spender and one person who’s a saver. In relationships where a plan for working together has not been determined, one or both may try to manage the money for the household, separately. This can perpetuate a situation known as “the blame game.” The money saver may wonder why they weren’t consulted about a purchase, and the money spender may wonder why they weren’t told something was unaffordable.
If money has been a point of contention in your marriage, we invite you to view it as an opportunity to work as a team. Somewhat surprisingly, many couples playing the blame game are actually under the illusion that they’ve been working together, not realizing that it takes more than just talking out loud. You must communicate well, and be transparent about your money personality and the decisions that you plan to make.
Sometimes financial stress doesn’t originate from a lack of communication, but from facing a catastrophic financial event. Whether it’s job loss, overspending, unexpected bills or something else, the most important thing for you to do is plan how to overcome the situation.
One meaningful action you can take is to sit down together and work out a proper budget. This can seem daunting at first, especially when it’s already caused disagreement, but it is one of the best ways to get an objective view of where problems may be stemming from. Make a commitment to avoid placing blame and come together with a common goal in mind: planning for a more stable financial future.
There are two major approaches you can take to work your way out of financial instability: spend less money, or bring in a greater income. In an ideal situation you could combine the two approaches, but even then, if it took a long time to get where you are, you probably cannot expect a quick turnaround. However, you can shorten the time it takes you to achieve financial health if you can be honest and transparent about money, and work together to find solutions to your financial problems.