Say the words “money” and “relationships” in the same sentence, and you’re bound to get varying degrees of responses, ranging from a mild “ugh” to a stream of expletives. No doubt about it. Disagreements about money are a major source of upset for many relationships, but they don’t have to be. If you’ve found that money problems have creeped into your relationship, you may want to keep the following advice in mind.
Decide What Your Relationship is About
If your relationship is about the pocketbooks of each person involved, but more about your love’s pocketbook than yours (or vice versa), it’s time to think seriously about the quality of the relationship. For a relationship to survive it should stand on solid footing that includes love, understanding, and respect plus a willingness to work things out as a team, including money issues.
One report says that 7 out of 10 couples have reported that their relationships have tensions due to the strain of finances, although money seems to be at the root of the arguments that many people have, it’s just the vehicle to express other concerns like issues with self-esteem, security, or even control in the relationship. These issues manifest around money, but chances are, there are other times they’ll come up as well. If one person is shouldering the responsibility over the other, your relationship runs the risk of being a breeding ground for financial codependency.
Find the Right Focus
Is it important to you to display signs of conspicuous wealth like nice cars, a bigger house, and more toys to impress family and friends? If so, your relationship with the people in your life as well as the one you have with money is skewed. Financial impressiveness at the expense of financial stability can ruin your relationship. Make sure you and your loved one agree on where to focus your attention in the accumulation of wealth.
Talk About Your Finances Before They Become a Problem
Financial stability represents a number of things to people. If possible, talk to your loved one about money before you take your relationship to the next step. So ideally, before you marry, you’ll have a conversation with your intended about how much you’d like to save, how much you’d like to retire with, and about finding a financial counselor that can help you meet your financial goals.
If you’re already married or in a long-time relationship, it’s not too late to start talking bout changing your money habits for the better, but know that you may face challenges. You and your spouse will have to learn to develop a different relationship with money. You’ll have to undo some not so productive habits. It’ll be worth it in the long run, but will require patience at times to see results.
Finally, remember that you are working on your money issues as a team, and there are few things more affirming to a couple than learning to overcome difficulties together. Even if you’re having some serious money issues now, working those out with each other will set the foundation for a more solid and loving future for both of you–one that isn’t riddled with the stress of unresolved money problems.