When it comes to divorce, money problems rank high on the list of causes. But what about the money problems, themselves? There are many factors that contribute to financial problems in marriage, but the one that seems to be most heinous is communication — whether it is miscommunication, lack of communication or closed communication.
My wife and I take time at the end of each month to review the current month’s budget, and put together the next month’s budget. We also try to communicate with each other about bigger purchases and anything that comes up that’s outside the budget. But those plans aren’t always foolproof. There are times, and I am sure that this happens in every marriage, where one of us says something — and we know what we said — but the other hears it a different way. A decision is then made based on that misinformation, and then the fun begins.
The best way to fix this problem before it starts is to make sure both of you are on the same page. But that’s not always possible. It’s important to realize that the possibility of miscommunication always exists. You may know what you said, but don’t assume that you always speak so clearly that there is no room for misunderstanding. Also respect that your spouse was not going against what you said on purpose. Leave room for innocent mistakes and be humble enough to accept that your communication isn’t always flawless.
2. Lack of Communication
Lack of communication generally happens when couples, for one reason or another, don’t budget together. Some feel that money is too touchy of a subject to broach in the relationship that they would rather just ignore it. But eventually something will happen, whether it’s something big or a bunch of little things, you’re just asking for an explosion.
If you feel like you are not communicating well enough about money, take the time to talk. Set goals together. Learn how to create a budget together. At first, it may be hard because you have differing opinions, goals and expectations. But it’s important to realize that your relationship is more important than something as fleeting as money. Take the time to talk, and your situation will improve. Here are 10 ways to discuss money in marriage.
From my experience, this seems to be the biggest problem that couples face. They are simply not willing to be open with each other about money. At times, it can be scary to be honest about how you feel. It can also be hard to admit that there is no one opinion about money that is the correct one. Yet, it’s important to be open and honest with how you feel. Don’t be afraid to talk about your personal goals with your spouse. Be willing to listen to your spouse and recognize that her goals, opinions and expectations are just as valid as yours.
Being open also means being willing to compromise. Compromise doesn’t mean giving in to the more dominant person. Rather it’s two people willing to meet halfway on an issue and are willing to give up something they want for the greater good of the relationship. This can be hard when your spending personalities are so divergent, but it’s possible — and essential — to a happy marriage.
Ben lives with his wife, Kilee, and dog, Paisley, in Arkansas. He has a passion for personal finance, sports, and learning. Ben recently started a blog at www.wealthgospel.com where you can find more of his opinions on personal finance. His life goals are to write about personal finance all day and start a non-profit organization to help others become self-reliant and to find their true potential. On any given day, you could find him eating homemade salsa, picking blackberries, or staying up until 3 a.m. to finish a book.