My Marriage is On the Rocks; We’re Always Fighting About Money. Help!
It’s okay for you and your spouse to get into fights. No married couple can avoid it. However, do your fights take an ugly turn (throwing of pillows and pans!) when you’ll start talking about who pays for what? Finance among couples can be a touchy topic which many prefer to avoid. Rather than talk about it in the open, couples make assumptions about their partner’s decisions and assume that they will go along with it. Are you a saver and your spouse a spender? Without bringing it in the open, you and your spouse are bound to come into conflict.
Stop Fighting and Talk
You’ll need to stop fighting, take a deep breath, calm down and talk. It’s important to let go of the anger and talk with each other. Anger will only flare up during the discussion and before you know it, you’ve snowballed back into an angry argument.It’s important that you lay out the problem in the open without flinging pots and pans at each other. Also, it’s not just about talking, the only way to have a successful discussion is to listen to your spouse well.Now that both of are married, your finance is pooled in. Bring out the financial topic out in the open!
What Does Your Spouse Want?
Whether you agree or disagree with your spouse, listen to what he / she has to say first. Don’t jump the gun, cut him / her off and not let him / her talk. Once you have listened to what your spouse has to say, it’s time to meet mid way.
There will be topics you’ll agree on – housing, children, retirement, etc and there will be topics you don’t agree on. On these, you need to discuss the negative and positives and see what the best decision is.
Set Joint Goals
Now, you’ve got to set goals. Goals are basically what you and your spouse hope to achieve. Decide on short term and long term goals.
You’ll need to go over your financial situation and come with various ways to achieve your goals. Consolidating your finances and opening new projects will help you get to your joint goals.
Come Up with a Budget
Both of you will have to sit together and come up with a budget. A budget will help you and your spouse understand how much money is going out and coming in. It’s very important for running a household. If you feel the need, demarcate the income and set down ground rules on how much each of you can spend. Find ways to make the budget work for your joint goals.
Once, you have put the financial issue in the open, don’t let it slide back under the carpet. Keep talking to your spouse about the issue, at least every month. As time goes by, the economic environment and your financial situation changes and both of you will need to put your thoughts about it and how it’s affecting you in the open. Regularly review your joint goals and budget.
An option which I would rarely recommend is an Counselor. Marriage counselors generally do not make good financial counselors but they could recommend one. If all fails this is one which can also be used. Sometimes depending on the level of influence, an third party guidance could work wonders.Getting married means that your spouse is coming with emotional baggage, but are you aware of the financial baggage? It’s important to work around this problem and have the happily ever after both of you deserve.