Marriage is can be the best thing life has to offer, but can dissolve into a nightmare if the conditions are right. Unfortunately, finances and money are one of the more common marriage stresses in the country. The power that money has to either make our lives comfortable or a struggle is not a secret, so it does make sense why this could be a point of tension in marriages if your financial situation is strained.
Before tying the knot, it’s important to go over everything financial that each person is dealing with. This is a list of topics to help couple discuss money issues so they do not break a union. After all, “for richer or poorer” is usually in your vows you make to one another.
Laying Out All the Debt
From student loans, credit cards and auto loans, knowing each other’s financial obligations should be thoroughly vetted before reaching the alter. If one person has more debt than the other or if one of you is completely debt-free and the other is not, resentment can build and slowly rot your relationship.
As with many aspects of life, open communication is crucial in marriage. Knowing the baggage each one of you is bringing to the table will help you develop a plan of action for tackling debt.
Setting Similar Goals
Life is always throwing curveballs, forcing us to change our plans on the fly, so it’s not unusual for a couple’s financial game plan you change over the course of time. In terms of marriage this becomes a problem when there is not a state of the union address to see how each side is faring and to make sure you both are on the same page. Having goals is also an opportunity to understand your partner’s mindset when it comes to money. This is especially important if you have or plan on having children. Knowing how your partner looks at money can help with teaching your children the value of a dollar.
It is recommended that you and your partner sit down once or twice a year and discuss finances. This is a good way to restate and reevaluate financial goals. Having and adjusting a budget is a good activity for these meetings.
Do Not Rule with an Iron Fist
Having a strict budget where you have to report back to your parent after every purchase can be a quick way to escalate tension, especially if that was not a sanctioned purchase. To avoid this kind of issue, try allocating funds in the budget that can go towards anything without approval.
This monthly slush fund can give freedom to both you and your parent and not feel like Big Brother is watching your every financial move.
Any one of us that has been in any kind of relationship for a long period of time knows that sometimes a fight isn’t about what the fight is about, but rather some deeper, pent-up resentment that has been boiling under the surface. Money issues makes this rear its ugly head more often than not.
If these kinds of fights are happening frequently, recruiting a financial planner or even going to a financial therapy session should be a tried before calling it quits on your marriage. Maybe the issue is that neither of you are particular good with money and just need advice and strategies to better yourselves. Or just having an impartial third party listening to your issues can reset your marriage. Sometimes we just need help.