Around Valentine’s Day, with romance in the air, what couple could imagine that they would ever fight about money? Yet disagreements over money are a couple’s most common source of conflict. Finance is as fundamental to married life as the birds and the bees—but nothing can be more damaging to marital bliss. What’s a couple to do? Check out these ideas for banishing money battles right from the start.
Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener. For a marriage to succeed, both partners must work together financially and emotionally rather than competing. The key is communication, communication—and more communication. Talk openly and frequently about money matters. Married partners are a financial team. Open and honest communication helps ward off conflict by keeping both partners on the same page. Both must share the information needed to manage the business of life. How much money is coming in? How much is going out? What plans are in place for saving and investing? What future goals are both partners firmly committed to?
Once the lines of communication are open, it’s time to talk about control. Having a plan for managing money—a budget, a savings plan, an investment strategy—comes next. Of course, both partners will agree on the plan and both will share the tasks that make the plan work. One spouse might write the checks and the other might plan the investments, but each understands what the other is doing. Life brings plenty of financial shocks—from medical bills to job loss. At least for a couple in control of their money, those shocks don’t have to come from inside the family. “Honey, I spent our savings on a motorcycle.”
Being a couple means forming a bond that stretches way beyond the sweet romantic love that started it all. It’s building a future together, creating a new family unit, and making a commitment to help one another learn, grow, and prosper. Disagreements about money will come. Couples argue about finances more than anything else. Feelings about money can be hard to unravel and hard to talk about. But once we begin talking, the door opens and we can walk through together. Be polite, be kind, be humble, be forgiving, be able to laugh. The rules for financial harmony sound a lot like the marriage vows, don’t you think?