Financial conflict is one of the most pressing matters facing married couples. These disagreements tend to last longer than others and tend to evolve into harsher outcomes and resulting negative feelings more often than other fights. In part of his study on marital conflicts caused by finances, Jeffrey Dew, an assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, concluded that couples who reported fighting at least once week over money related matters where 30 percent more likely to divorce.
Have the Talk
It is not romantic but discussing how you plan to treat spending and saving habits ideally before entering a marriage is important. If one person has a lot of debt, it is relevant that you both decide on a strategy for how that debt should be paid off. Should it happen before any large investments, such as puchasing your first home together, are made? How should your savings grow, and when is it ok to withdraw certain amounts of money? Should you have a set budget on how much should be spent on each activity per month? Should one of balance your books and pay the bills? Or should it be a split venture? These are important questions to discuss, and if neither of you never starts the conversation, it could build up a lot of resentment early on in your marriage.
Keep It Transparent
In addition to being completely honest about debts, both parties should have access to all accounts. There are programs you can look into that will keep track of both of your spending habits and make you aware when money is deposited or withdrawn from any accounts. You can also set up an excel spreadsheet and have it available for both of you to view at any time. Being honest and transperent about money going out and coming in is a way to avoid secrets that could undermine a marriage.
Understand Your Differences
It is not uncommon for two people on both ends of the spending spectrum to wind up married to each other. The biggest fights about money come from everyday purchases (or lack thereof) not the larger ones. That is why it is so important to take the time to understand each other's “money personalities.” This opens the lines of communication and allows you to see where the other is coming from. It is also the only way to reach a middle ground for both parties when it comes to your spending habits.
Set a Budget
It might seem a little silly at first, but one of the quickest ways to avoid fights over money is for each spouse to have a set amount of spending money. You can call it an allowance if you prefer, but whatever you call it, jointly deciding on a spending limit that is comfortable for each party is a way to compromise on how you both view spending. This level of acceptance can remove all major money fights in the future.
Therapists.com – Couples & Money: 4 Things You Can Do to Stop Fighting About Finances
The State of Our Unions – Bank on It: Thrifty Couples Are the Happiest
Forbes – 5 Financial Mistakes That Ruin Your Marriage
U.S. News: Money – The Best Ways to Prevent Money Arguments with Your Spouse
Image Credit: Chloe Cushman