February is the month of hearts, roses, chocolates, (and bones), so it is an appropriate time to address money and relationships. It is a known fact that differences in values, goals and spending habits can create tension in a relationship, and numerous studies have shown that the No. 1 reason why couples argue is because of disagreements over money.
As the Beatles said, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love” – but unfortunately, money battles can sure put a damper on love if you are not careful!
Here are a few ways that you can improve your communication about your finances and strengthen your relationship.
Organize regular “money meetings” and sit down together and examine your goals and values. Be aware that men and women view money differently, and there are also many different personality traits that affect how you view your finances. One of you might be a spendthrift while the other might like risk, so try to understand your partner’s perspective and priorities. Be ready to compromise and focus on a positive joint outcome.
Marriage is a partnership, and both of you need to be involved and have a say in your finances. Many couples do not agree about how much to spend, and how much debt to have, and so they hide their expenditures from their loved one. Keeping secrets about your debts and spending is unhealthy and can lead to distrust and anger between you. In addition, your debt problem can become your spouse’s debt problem, so be open and honest.
Make sure the topic that you are fighting about is truly about money. Money can represent different things to different people- power, security, success, happiness, fear, and often fights about money are actually about emotional issues such as control, self-esteem, and love. Be aware of your past history and childhood memories because they can bias your perception and confuse the issue.
Take the emotion out of your conversations and don’t use blame or negativity on your special person. Try to maintain an open, calm and most importantly, respectful attitude in your dialogue and remember the goal is to work as a team.
Come up with a plan and develop a system to meet your goals. Create a budget that you both can live with, methods to pay down your debt, and develop general rules and limits for your household. Divide the responsibilities and meet on a regular basis to make sure that you stay on track.
If you both cannot come to a mutual agreement, and your marriage is becoming strained, seek help from a therapist and a financial advisor. They can offer objective advice and help you to develop a mutually rewarding game plan.
Love is like money-
Hard to find and easy to lose - Ally Mbululo