If you’re struggling with marriage and money problems, take a peek at this advice from a money expert. Carla Morelli is the founder of a money management firm; here, she describes how marriage and money problems can be resolved.
“Many married couples are reluctant to talk about money – whether it’s one partner in the couple or both – and it leads to problems,” says Morelli, founder of FreyerMartin. “Not openly communicating about money – something so central to a marriage – creates cracks in the relationship that can eventually split it apart. Money is a common reason for divorce, but it may be an even more common cause of breakups among couples who are not married.”
If you have marriage and money problems you’re not alone! Here’s money advice from a financial expert who has “been there, done that.”
Need more money and marriage advice? Read Financially Ever After: The Couples’ Guide to Managing Money by Jeff Opdyke.
Why Marriage Brings Money Problems
When one person in the couple has trouble talking about money, he or she can feel a myriad of unpleasant things when a conversation is forced: uncomfortable, inadequate, controlled, attacked, resentful. This doesn’t allow him or her to come to the conversation from a position of strength – and it’s a bad starting point. In the meantime, the other partner experiences his or her own unhappy feelings: frustration, a sense of being put out, lack of control, inability to change the situation, and may see the partner as weaker.
In these situations, trust is compromised in the marriage – sometimes on both sides. This is one reason why marriage and money problems start.
When both people in the marriage have trouble talking about money, it’s even worse. If neither is comfortable bringing up the issue, it’s hard to just get the conversation started. When nothing regarding the marriage or money problems are discussed, nothing is likely to be fixed.
And that’s why we need this money expert to share her advice…
When talking about money in marriage, nothing is “off limits”
It depends on the marriage and how financially tied one partner is to the other, but generally speaking, all financial issues should be open for discussion – regardless if couples are married, in committed long-term relationships, or considering either option. They key to a successful marriage is openness, and money is one of the top three things couples fight about. Being open stacks the deck in their favor!
Be honest about how you feel about both marriage and money
If you’re uncomfortable, embarrassed, or scared to talk about money with your partner, saying so does two things: it puts your discomfort out in the open, which diminishes its intensity, and shows your partner that you trust him or her enough to be vulnerable. That encourages a supportive response rather than an aggressive one – and allows you to talk about money and marriage more openly.
View money conversations as an opportunity for your marriage
You’re in control. You get to choose. Each time you talk about finances, you have an opportunity to examine what you’re doing and assess whether that’s working for you. If it is, congratulations! You’ve earned a pat on the back. If it isn’t, you can choose to do something different.
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Approach the conversation as if it was a business problem
It sounds funny, but you’d be surprised at the courtesy, restraint and open-mindedness you use with people who aren’t an integral part of your life. I did this on a whim in my early 20s when I was married and living on a shoestring. My husband (also a finance guy) and I argued bitterly every week when it was time to go over the finances. We were both intelligent, financially savvy people, but the conversation would degenerate into a fight where someone walked out nearly every week. One day it occurred to me that I would never talk to someone at work like that. I tried thinking of him as a colleague, and surprisingly my attitude, vocabulary and tone of voice changed completely! Less surprisingly, so did his.
When all else fails, remember that you’re in this marriage for a reason – hopefully it’s because you want to be! Figuring out money issues is a normal part of what you have to do in marriage. When things get difficult or tense, keeping that at the front of your mind will help you maintain your perspective.
For more marriage advice, read Examples of the Love Languages – 5 Ways to Show Your Love.
If you have any questions or thoughts on marriage and money, please comment below!
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Carla Morelli is the founder of FreyerMartin, a leading daily money management firm that handles household and personal bills for busy clients across the country. She is also an expert on the day-to-day financial issues of bills, budgets and credit.