“… For richer, for poorer… Till death do us part.” When it comes to money and finances, that portion of the marriage vows is much easier said than done.
No matter how Happily Married a couple is, it’s true that when times are rough financially, this can cause a lot of stress on both spouses.
As a matter of fact, money is the number one reason for divorce… And when the current divorce rate is at roughly 50% in the United States, there are probably quite a large number of couples out there fighting over financial matters.
While there is no question that money and finances are an essential component of every marriage, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the minute there are some financial difficulties the marriage will unquestionably head down towards “Splitsville.”
Dealing Positively with Tough Money Issues
Money issues can actually serve as a way to increase the level of trust and communication between a couple. And the main elements to accomplish this are complete honesty and transparency.
I remember my first marriage, which failed after 6 years. At first glance, the main reason for the breakup was, indeed, money.
However, this was not the whole picture… It was predominantly the way my ex-husband and I addressed money during and after the crisis that really caused the relationship to be damaged beyond any possible repair and, as a result, to end.
In my particular case, the main problem was that my ex-husband and I had completely different views about money and finances.
Even worse than that was the fact that in our marriage, there was no transparency regarding money issues, which eventually lead to a mutual lack of trust. And when there is no trust in the relationship, the relationship can’t survive.
By now you may be asking yourself if this situation can be prevented… And the answer is “yes!”
Recovering from a “Financial Accident”
Of course, the obvious way to prevent money from having a negative impact in a marriage is not to get into a financial mess from the beginning. However, this may not be possible for many couples if they are already facing money issues or if life throws them an unexpected “curve ball” that may instantly place them in a situation of financial disaster.
If this ever happens, the first thing you and your spouse have to do is:
Acknowledge the problem and its cause.
Without acknowledging that there is something wrong and figuring out what is causing it, a couple simply does not have a firm grasp on the situation and as a result will not be able to deal with it.
The second thing to do is for both of you to take responsibility for whatever your role was in such situation. This can be the hardest part to do, and it is here where most couples tend to argue and blame each other for the problem. This is where honesty and transparency are essential, otherwise the trust between both spouses can be severely damaged, many times beyond repair.
While doing this, it is essential for both partners to be open to communication, to listen without judging, and to work together as a team to find the best solution to the problem.
Tackling the Issues as a Team
Maybe one partner has the tendency to overspend by abusing credit cards. Maybe the other never checks the bank statements or balances the checkbook. Maybe both spouses spend a significant amount of money in luxuries such as vacations and gadgets, without bothering to put money aside in an emergency fund account.
Whatever the reason, the point is to acknowledge it together as a team, discuss it, and then decide on the most favorable solution in best interest for the marriage.
Starting Fresh the Right Way
And finally, once the difficult financial situation is over, it is essential that both spouses learn from their mistakes and agree on a way to handle money in the future. Otherwise, one, or both, partners may repeat the behaviors that got the couple in the hole on the first place. That can be the perfect recipe for yet another disaster, which this time may not allow the marriage to survive.
Once again, honesty and transparency are key elements to succeed at this. Without both spouses having a clear view of their financial situation, it is impossible to take the necessary steps to avoid another money crisis.
- How open are you and your spouse with each other regarding your marriage’s finances?
- Are you both following them with honesty and transparency?
- Do you share a common vision of your financial future?
If you answered “yes” to all these questions, congratulations, your chances of having money spoil your marriage’s happiness are pretty slim.
If you did not, there is no better day than today to start working on your finances as a couple. After all, getting your finances straight can only get you and your spouse closer. And that is something that every happily married couple can enjoy.
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Photo credit: Tax Credits
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