Is Money Destroying your Marriage?

Do you know what the number one reason couples give for their marital breakup in the United States? It’s not adultery or abuse or emotional problems: its money. Marriages suffer when there is financial conflict or financial infidelity, where important financial decisions are made without the spouse’s knowledge or consent. Perhaps money is the “root of all evil” in marriage, but it is also an inevitable issue that all marriages have to deal with.

Husbands and wives need to work together to decide how to make and spend their money, and what to do with what’s left over. This can be difficult, as each partner is probably used to making financial decisions on their own. What you do with your money is in many ways an expression of your personality and character; arguments about money can be very hurtful because they often address the core personality differences between husband and wife.

So, the question is: how can married people plan their finances together and healthily resolve conflicts about money? Here are some tips that may help:

1.Keep each other informed

It is common in marriage for one partner to be responsible for taking care of the family finances; however, it is important that both partners are informed and involved in the decision-making process. When one partner is kept “out of the loop,” they might feel as though they are a less important part of the relationship, and feelings of resentment may grow towards their spouse. Set a time to go over finances once a week; though talking about money isn’t usually much fun, when you take some time to review expenses and savings and make financial plans, you will not only save money, but you will both be informed on your financial status and be able to contribute ideas and solutions.

2.Share your finances.

Don’t think that just because you earn more money than your spouse that you are entitled to spend more of it as well. Marriage is about sharing resources equally, and the spouse who is not working is supporting the family in other ways. Sharing resources is one of the important ways that spouses become unified and strengthen their relationship.

3.Set spending rules

Make a budget and stick to it. Make sure you both have a little pocket money for small things, and set some money set aside for entertainment (for money-saving coupons and great dating ideas, visit Decide what purchases can be made with or without the spouse’s consent. For example, you might set a cap and say that any purchase of $10 or more needs to have the spouse’s consent (these rules may be flexible according to your income and your needs). When in doubt, ask your spouse. Making important financial decisions without your spouse betrays their trust and can be interpreted as marital infidelity.

4.Plan for the future

Your income and your needs will change over the years. You can save your marriage from a lot of stress and anxiety by being prepared for the future. Prepare for major expenses and create a retirement plan. Discuss life insurance needs and prepare wills. By mapping out your financial life course, you will be establishing a secure environment in which your marriage can thrive and succeed. There are usually many free local resources that are available to help you with financial planning; ask your bank or credit union, or see if your employer provides any financial planning resources.

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