No marriage is without its disagreements, and for many couples, money is often the topic of discussion. If you and your spouse are having money problems, the last thing you need is to establish more tension by fighting about it.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss why couples fight over money and what you can do about it.
Why couples fight over money
When it comes to money problems in a marriage, the biggest factor that I’ve found is that people simply have different priorities. Maybe you’re a saver by nature, and your spouse is a spender. Or you don’t care to spend money on something that is important to your spouse.
Although my wife and I are both savers by nature, we each have different ideas about what’s worth spending money on. I like going out to eat, buying books, and traveling. She likes buying clothes, essential oils, and stuff for the kids.
We’ve had several arguments about these things over the years. Some have been minor, and others have been explosive. Fortunately, all of them have been resolved, and we have made several compromises over the years to keep the peace. After all, the health of our relationship isn’t worth a fight over a $100 purchase.
Of course, a difference in priorities isn’t the only reason for money problems in a marriage. Others include:
- One spouse is keeping secrets about spending or debt.
- One spouse earns more than the other, causing resentment.
- You have different personalities.
- One spouse has a legitimate shopping addiction.
Regardless of your reasons, your marriage will be a lot better if you learn how to work together.
5 tips to help resolve money problems in your marriage
Resolving your money problems isn’t about declaring a winner and a loser. Instead of setting up the scoreboard every time, focus on how to make a favorable solution for both of you. Here are five ways to do that.
It may seem obvious, but communicating isn’t just talking to each other — it’s talking and listening. We all have reasons for spending money. I’m an emotional eater, so if I’m stressed, I may stop by Wendy’s for a juicy cheeseburger.
On the flip side, my wife is a stay-at-home mom of two and sometimes feels like she’s losing her identity as a woman. So, she sometimes buys clothes that fit her personality to feel like she’s still “Kilee.”
The point here is that if you focus only on the amount spent, you’re never going to understand each other. If my wife and I talk about why we spent the money, it’s a lot easier to talk about the underlying problems and how we can support each other.
2. Set common goals
If you don’t have something you’re working toward together, it’s a lot easier for selfish interests to surface. My wife and I are buying a house and have talked extensively about the different things we want to do once we move in.
For example, we want to build a fence for the backyard, finish one of the rooms in the basement so I can have an office downstairs, and buy a van, so we have two cars.
Because those are all important to both of us, we can use them to talk one another out of spending money now on certain things that don’t matter as much.
3. Budget together
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a household budget. Not only that, but it’s also essential that you’re both on the same page regarding how you plan to spend your money each month.
The good news is that you get to decide how you budget. If you want to budget in more flexibility, you can. Work together to put together a plan each month. Talk about things you’d like to buy or do during the month and determine if you can do all those things without spending more than you earn.
It’s not enough to make the plan every month, though. It’s also important that you both keep an eye on the budget throughout the month. For example, say I just spent $200 on groceries by the 10th and our monthly grocery budget is $400. Both of us should know that so we can adjust our spending for the rest of the month.
4. Set aside ‘allowances’
My favorite part of our budget is the “allowances” we get every month. It’s a perfect way for both of us to buy stuff we want that don’t necessarily fit with our common goals.
For instance, I just bought a road bike with some allowance money that I’ve been saving up for a few months. I also use this money when I randomly want to go out to eat by myself or to buy a book on my Kindle. These purchases are all conflict-free, so to speak, because I have full control over how it’s spent.
5. Don’t keep secrets
I love sushi, but during my last year in college, it got me in trouble. I was doing an internship, and a bunch of the other guys at the office went to lunch at a local sushi place. They convinced me to start going too and I didn’t tell my wife about it because I wasn’t sure she’d be OK with me spending that much money.
It turns out, I was right. And the funny thing is that my wife wasn’t so mad about the cost as she was the fact that I tried to hide it from her. If you feel like you want to hide something, the chances are that you shouldn’t be doing it.
Got any other tips on how you resolve money problems in your marriage?