It is no secret that relationships can be extremely fragile and among the many issues that threaten the success of marriages, money is right there near the top. In fact, a SunTrust study reveals that finances are the prime reason for stress in marital relationships. Even according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis, monetary issues are among the top three reasons for divorces. As grim as the situation may seem to married couples, there are a lot of things that you can do to avoid money interfering with your marriage. Some tips:
Don’t Spend Beyond Your Means on the Wedding
It is quite natural for young couples to get carried away and spend far too much on the wedding. According to studies, weddings in America cost an average of $26,000 and can easily cross thrice that if you live in a metropolitan area. Since most couples really don’t have that sort of savings, they start off a new chapter in their lives carrying a pile of debt. For many couples, this is yet another thing to worry about on top of their existing student loans and credit card debt. After the first few euphoric days, the couples need to start contending with repaying the debt and it can be really frightening to see the mountain of debt looming over you right from the start of your married life. It is not as if the wedding has to be bare bones but couples with budgetary constraints should try for a ceremony that is more affordable and save up for the fifth or tenth-anniversary bash when the situation should have improved a lot.
Discuss Your Financial Circumstances
Couples looking into each other’s eyes may feel that it is not the right time to discuss the state of their finances; however, most marriage consultants agree that it is indeed before you tie the knot that you should bare all. To avoid surprising each other, take the time out to reveal and discuss all your financial matters; income, investments, loans, mortgages, financial obligations like childcare or alimony in case of a previous marriage, etc. If you have aging parents or relatives that you need to take care of financially, you should discuss it with your partner so that both of you can go into marriage with your eyes open.
Understand Your Partner’s Attitude on Money
Many of the conflicts that arise within marriage while seemingly have to do with money matters may actually be temperaments clashing. When one of the partners seems to be upset with the other for overspending, it could actually be indicating that the real worry is getting trapped in credit card debt. It is important to have an idea regarding your partner’s attitude toward money. This could be influenced by a lot many factors, including the way the parents discussed or handled money according to a report in https://www.forbes.com. Once you know what your partner’s greatest fears about money are, you will be better equipped to handle the marriage itself.
Have the Same Goals
Even though before marriage and for some time afterward, you may think that both of you are on the same page on everything including money matters, with the passage of time, it is not uncommon for the priorities and financial expectations to change. While there is certainly no restriction on attitudes changing, the real problem arises when the partners are completely unaware of the change of the mindset and things may suddenly reach a flashpoint if it is taken for granted. Irrespective of where the couple is placed on the financial spectrum, it can help to sit down once a year to calmly discuss the current financial state and reassess the financial goals that they are working toward. It is not unusual for a dream vacation to be put off if you are expecting a child or wanting to put in more into your retirement account but the new goals should be mutually acceptable and not lead to fights. Goal alignment is also especially important in the context of a family where only one partner is responsible for the income. It is quite common for the non-earning spouse to have feelings of guilt while the earning member may feel resentful of the constant pressure to earn.
Don’t Forget the Importance of a Household Budget
It is a universal truth that you need a household budget in place to keep track of your money; however, less than a third of American households seem to actually have one, according to a Gallup poll. While budgeting for most people is extremely tedious, it has significant benefits inasmuch both partners can know where all their money is going and not end up accusing each other of financial imprudence. The good news is that technology has made it far easier than before to keep track of the income and expenses; you have a lot of computer programs and smart phone apps that can make budgeting extremely easy and convenient.
Don’t Keep Secrets
It really doesn’t matter what the secret is but the fact that you kept it hidden from your partner is a good enough reason for marital discord. In financial matters, keeping secret from one partner by the other is quite common; a CreditCards.com survey has revealed that around 7% of the American population has concealed finances like credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, etc. from their partners. A whopping 20% also have spent more than $500 without informing their partners. When one partner finds out that the other has been hiding, income, expenses or debt, it is often seen as a sign of trust being absent. These secrets can turn the relationship toxic and often result in divorces.
For marriages to be successful they must rest on the bedrock of mutual trust and confidence. It is very important not to rock the boat with financial infidelity. Remember you too need to accord the same love and respect as you would expect from your partner. It is expected that there will be arguments when you are married, however, it is important to conduct yourself with dignity and not use words that are insulting and contemptuous. If money issues are threatening your marriage, be sure to go in for counseling; apart from marriage counseling even financial counseling may be of great help.
Daniel Ng is a freelance writer who has been writing for various blogs. He has previously covered an extensive range of topics in her posts, including business debt consolidation, Finance, E-commerce, start-ups, and tech hacks.