These five ways to stop fighting about money will reduce financial stress, strengthen your love, and perhaps even save your marriage.
Before the tips, a quip:
“Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?” ~ Barbra Streisand.
One of the most important things to remember about marriage and all the related issues – including money matters – is that changing your spouse should not be priority one. Rather, married couples need to focus on using their individual strengths to improve their marriage and finances.
If you’re struggling with married life, read Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart – it’s one of the best marriage books I’ve ever read!
And, here are five ways to stop fighting about money…
5 Ways to Stop Fighting About Money With Your Spouse
1. Learn how to fight about money fairly. Unless you and your spouse are both savers, you’ll probably have money fights – just like you’ll have fights about your love life, social life, career, and kids. It’s normal and healthy to disagree in marriage; the trick is to reconnect afterwards (and not just physically!).
Couples who can’t stop fighting about money could take a money management course together, and maybe even a financial communication class (or, read How to Talk Finances as a Couple).
2. Pursue your long-term financial goals – not today’s wants. Most married couples would love to eat out in nice restaurants, buy name-brand clothes, and enjoy the perks that money brings. But those short-term bits of happiness don’t measure up to the long-term satisfaction of reaching long-term financial goals. Research shows that getting what we want doesn’t make us happy unless it serves our needs…and we don’t need to eat out in nice restaurants or buy name-brand clothes. However, we do need to support our family the way we want and we need the satisfaction that achieving our goals brings. So, one way to stop money fights is to measure every financial decision on a “long-term needs versus short-term wants” scale.
3. Plan your short and long-term financial goals together. What are your financial goals as a married couple? Sit down and talk about where you want to be financially in one year, five years, and ten years. Maybe you’ll have a five-year plan to save money to buy a house, or a one-year plan to go on vacation. Maybe you’re saving up so you can live on one salary after you have kids. Money management in marriage is easier when you’ve agreed on what your long-term financial goals are.
4. Read books about the money matters that pertain to your marriage together. Different couples struggle with different things, and one of the best ways to stop money fights is to identify the root of the problem. Then, work together to dig out that root and get rid of it for good.
If you’re struggling to rebuild financially after dealing with credit card debt or personal bankruptcy, read books like The Financial Peace Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring Your Family’s Financial Health.
If you want t retire at age 50, read books like How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor. Talk about each chapter and whether it’ll help solve your money matter. If books don’t cut it, talk to a financial planner or even a mature family member who is married and financially successful. The idea is to get as much information about marriage and money management as possible together, as a couple with a single purpose. Don’t let one partner do all the work!
5. Remember that lying about money doesn’t stop money fights. Sometimes it seems easier to lie about money to your spouse, to avoid conflict or embarrassing confessions. But you can’t have healthy, prosperous money management in marriage if you lie to your spouse! Financial infidelity is similar to lying about money; it involves hiding your spending or saving habits and doing everything you can to hide or avoid debt problems. Financial infidelity will keep you in emotional, spiritual, and financial debt. Be as honest as you can about your financial habits — and remember that the short-term pain of cleaning up your financial clutter is worth the long-term gains!
Do you and your spouse talk about getting wealthy? Read How Do Couples Get Rich? 7 Tips for Growing Wealth Together.