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How To Eliminate Money Fights

July 1st, 2011 at 04:31 pm



The original post can be found here: Debt Free

If you are married or have thought about getting married or know someone who is married, it probably doesn’t surprise you that money is one of the greatest causes of arguments, disagreements and stress that a couple will face. And we’ve been there! Stressed, overwhelmed and feeling trapped, our young marriage was hanging on by a thread. After all, conflict over money is still the leading cause of divorce today, according to Psychology Today.

Debt and financial strain put an intense amount of pressure on a married couple. Disagreements are inevitable. But learning to communicate and work through your finances together is key to having a healthier financial future and a happier marriage…and who doesn’t want that?

Here are some basic steps you can take toward getting on the same page with your spouse.


1. Agree That it is OK to Talk About Money

Not only is it OK to talk about money,it's a MUST! If you and your spouse haven’t discussed your finances in months or even years (no…if you cussed or threw things, it doesn’t count), then it’s time to schedule a meeting. Your first discussion should be focused on whether or not it’s OK for you to talk about finances together (and it is). Talk about your desire to work as a team and to understand each other. And do everything in your power to give each other “space and grace.” Work to make your money talks safe, open, mature discussions (like adults). No finger-pointing or name-calling (I know from personal experience that this doesn’t work).


2. Accept Your Differences

Right off the bat, let’s acknowledge that everyone is different. Your parents each had their own way of handling money and they passed that on to you. You have unique God-given personalities and have experienced money in different ways. And that’s all perfectly normal and good. But if you don’t learn to work together, you will both be frustrated and you’ll never reach your goals.

It’s very likely that one of you is a Saver and one of you is a Spender. Neither is necessarily good or bad. And it’s OK for you to have different opinions about how much to save, how much to spend, how much to give, how much to set aside for retirement or college funds for your kids, and how much each spouse can spend without having to consult the other. Accept your differences. Learning to agree about financial decisions will require consideration, some compromise and even some sacrifice from each of you. But when you’re both pulling in the same direction toward the same goals, you become unstoppable.


3. Share Your Dreams and Goals

The biggest reason money talks are so stressful is that most couples only focus on problems. Don’t forget to talk about positive stuff too. What are your goals? What are your dreams for the future? Sit down and do a little dreaming together. Talk about your long term savings goals, your desire to travel, your desire to buy a home in the suburbs, your longing to turn your passions into a career. If you haven’t shared your vision and hopes with your spouse, there’s no better time than now. Then you can set your goals together and get about the business of pursuing them as a team.


4. There’s No “I” in Team or in Money

Disagreements about money cause many couples to avoid the subject all together. But that only makes the problem worse. No matter what state your finances are in, it’s time to start talking and working together. As Stephen Covey says, your goal should be to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This doesn’t mean avoiding the issues or not confronting extreme behaviors. It means that whatever the issues are, you are going to lovingly work together. This is a joint effort! Taking control of your finances or tackling your debt will require you to support and encourage one another.


Like every other part of marriage, it takes work, sacrifice, compromise and communication to get on the same page about money. But by taking these steps together, you are well on your way.

Now get to it!



Yours In Freedom,

Clint



Join the conversation…what do you think is the biggest obstacle that prevents couples from being on the same page about money?

12 Responses to “How To Eliminate Money Fights”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Biggest obstacle? I dunno; probably immature selfishness.

  2. clintdavis Says:

    Haha! That's definitely a big one Joan!

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    I like Joan's answer! Big Grin
    I think in addition, different values and money personality types. Money is not something I think we have every REALLY fought about in our marriage. (OF course there will always be some small quibble here and there). Not only are we virtually identical in money personalities, but we have little disagreement in how to spend our money. I think this makes things pretty easy on us.

    I don't think you have to be so identical for a good marriage, but it sure does make things easier. I know we are blessed, for that.

  4. Jerry Says:

    Communication about money, rather than hiding spending or ignoring financial details, is absolutely HUGE. The lack thereof leads to serious issues almost invariably... usually interpersonally, but at the very least fiscally. You can't ignore the bills (rent, insurance, food, whatever) and make impulse purchases without long term consequences.
    Jerry

  5. clintdavis Says:

    Hey Monkeymama, Thanks for the reply. It does help a lot to have similar spending/saving personalities as far as eliminating money fights. But it can certainly be done even if your personalities are completely different...it just takes a little more work, communication, compromise and sacrifice. It's important to understand each other's styles so that you can learn to work together.

  6. clintdavis Says:

    Jerry, I couldn't agree with you more. Communication is key to any part of a good marriage, but especially finances. You have to work together as a team, avoid playing the blame-game, and support each other as you work toward your goals. And you definitely can't ignore the issues...that makes everything worse and it all comes around to bite you later. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Petunia 100 Says:

    There were many money disagreements in my 18 year marriage. Basically, they stemmed from different wants. I wanted to build financial security for myself and our family, he wanted to be in debt past our eyeballs and struggle from crisis to crisis. Now that we are happily divorced, we are both free to pursue our (very different) financial goals. Mine are coming along; for all appearances, his are as well.

    I wish I had been smart enough to ask him what he wanted out of marriage and life in general before I married him, instead of naively assuming that of course, everyone wants the same things. But I wasn't. Live and learn.

  8. clintdavis Says:

    That's a great point Petunia. Money fights and stress are the leading cause of divorce in America. When two people have such different views and goals about money, it would be very hard to get on the same page. I think it can be done. But it would probably take some counseling and a strong desire to work through the issues.

    I'm sorry you went through that. But it is a great lesson for the rest of us to learn. And I am a HUGE proponent of good pre-marital counseling. When done right, a lot of those issues can be brought out before walking down the aisle.

    Thanks so much for sharing a part of your story with us.

  9. baselle Says:

    "....biggest obstacle that prevents couples from being on the same page about money?"

    I think the biggest obstacle is a subtle, philosophical one. Realize it and it will help.

    Money is a tool, a medium of exchange, and a purely human construct. As such it is a mirror, a concentrator, and polarizes (sic) of one's personality.

    For example as a polarizer, I don't know anybody who is a 0 balance personality - you are either a saver or a spender and you don't seem to flip back and forth between the two (I make exception for someone who seems to flip once between youth and adult). A mirror - if you are careful/careless with money you are often careful/careless with other things. A concentrator - get more money and what happens...savers really save and spenders really spend.

  10. Mozaik Says:

    Most young couples are never taught anything about money management. So often one partner is a saver, the other want to fulfil every want instantly. The studies I've read suggest some of our attitudes about money come from observing our parents money habits.

    This may have worked in the past but it won't work now. Most defined pensions are only offered by some level of government. If you're not a civil servant, you will need to plan long term. I find it incredibly frustrating that the school curriculum never offers anything as practical as basic money management.

  11. clintdavis Says:

    Baselle, I agree with you completely...money seems to make you more of what you already are. And often times if your finances are out of order, other areas are out of order as well. Thanks for your comment!


    "Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars." -Warren Buffett

  12. clintdavis Says:

    Hey Mozaik. It's absolutely ridiculous that basic living skills like money management aren't taught in our schools. Our educational structure was set up during the nation's agrarian age and has very little to do with teaching kids how to actually live in the real world. I hope in our lifetime we begin to see a shift away from a purely "academic" model and more toward actually equipping kids to live productively and responsively throughout their lives. I'm glad to know there's some like-minded people around! Thanks for the comment Mozaik.

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