While it’s true money can’t buy happiness, a lack of money can certainly contribute to sadness. The third leading cause of divorce, financial concerns can be one of the primary catalysts of stresses and strains on intimate relationships — if allowed to be. Becoming adept at resolving money issues with your spouse early on goes a long way towards ensuring a lasting relationship.
These tips will help you do so.
1. Talk About It — Early & Often
For some reason, talking about money has been deemed a taboo in our society. As a result, far too many couples get into relationships and later realize they have very different attitudes about money. Discussing your financial positions, as uncomfortable as they might be, is a must before entering into a domestic partnership or a marriage.
Outstanding debts, investments, salaries, loans and all other monetary issues should be disclosed and discussed. This will best enable the two of you to determine how to proceed towards establishing your long-term financial goals together.
2. Develop a Plan
Goals without plans are little more than daydreams. With that said, you must reach an agreement on the nature of those plans and the actions it will take to carry them out.
It’s important to note that this step should only be taken after you’ve communicated openly and honestly about where you are and what you want out of life. Don’t just go along to get along. Encourage your spouse to avoid doing the same as well.
Find the truly common ground between your belief systems, build upon them and use them to develop your plan.
3. Do Unto Your Spouse As—
There will be times when one of you “falls off the wagon.” How each of you responds will have a direct impact on your ability to work through those instances together.
Mind your words when you discuss the problem — regardless of how frustrating or irritating it might be. Have the mindset to be transparent, non-judgmental and flexible. It’s also important to listen, maintain a calm attitude and agree to chill if the conversation begins to heat up.
Be willing to give financial discussions the time it deserves. Keep in mind it’s about the two of you building a successful life together — one you can both enjoy. In other words, do unto your spouse as you would have them do unto you.
4. Seek Professional Help
It’s important to recognize nobody knows how to do everything.
Seek some form of credit card debt relief if significant credit card debt is involved and you can’t figure out how to resolve it. Consult an accountant to help you develop a spending plan if budgeting is the concern. Seek a financial planner if developing a savings and investment strategy has you flummoxed.
Be careful to find an honest person in each instance, but don’t feel like the two of you need to tackle these issues alone. There is lots of help out there — set your pride aside and do what’s right to enable your love for each other to flourish.
Resolving money issues with your spouse works best when you can avoid them in the first place. That aside, the next best thing to do is to adopt an understanding posture and do whatever you can to help one another get to a middle ground upon which the two of you can comfortably reside.