Believe it or not, arguing about money is one of three main causes of divorce. Difference in priorities are a main cause of arguments in marriage and when divorce is considered an option, it is more likely that the couple will waste much of their energy on their biggest argument ever about money.
Chances are that partners in marriage have their own ways of spending and saving money. They bring their perception about money from their life before the marriage and many of them find it hard to strike a balance between what he wants and what she want, between what she thinks it is best and what he thinks it is best for the family’s future.
Here are some of the common conflicts around money:
- What is necessary (food, clothes, jewelry, big screen TV…)?
- Who needs to contribute more money (many high expectation from men and sometimes too high expectation by men themselves)?
- Should homemaking be considered equal to financial contribution (try hiring a nanny, a chef, a cleaner, etc)?
- Should we save for the future or enjoy life today?
When getting married, it is hard for a couple to estimate what their financial requirements will be. Every time they face a financial challenge, it hits them straight in the face and many couples, having poor money management skills, feel that there is just never enough money for what they want in life. Financially, the difference between single life and married life are huge.
Yes, if both husband and wife earned similar salaries, agreed on every cent they spent and the ways to save, many of them would not consider divorce so easily. There is a slim chance for you both to agree on every financial decision. Therefore, in marriage, it is wise to choose your financial battles.
Tips to survive the financial burdens of married life
- Marriage is an emotional and financial commitment. It is going to cost you to get into that contract and it is going to cost you a lot more to get out of it. Divorce is not a wise financial decision. Avoid it at all costs (pun intended)!
- Marriage is a communal arrangement – all for one and one for all. Everyone contributes to the best of their abilities and everyone takes from the budget based on their needs. “Men provide” is an old concept, so leave it in the past. If you are a woman, do not expect him to provide for you. If you are a man, do not expect yourself to earn more than her. Men who earn more do not always have better marriages.
- Have a joint account. The government does not print personal names on money, so there is no “your money” or “my money”. Once earned, the money belongs to both of you (and if you have kids, to them too), regardless of how much each of you is putting in. Whenever you get into an argument and you feel like saying, “I earned this much”, “This is my money” or “I don’t need your money”, stop. Money is a piece of paper without its owner’s name.
- Agree on your family budget and live by it. Discuss the budget ahead of getting married and make the choices within the budget (“Together, we make X dollars, so let’s go to eat outside once a month”. “Yeah, and let’s go to the movies every two weeks”). Spending money should not be an emotional choice. Discussing the budget when you need to make the decision under pressure about spending money is a recipe for a conflict, so talk about it when you are both calm and happy.
- If you choose to have separate accounts, be careful that the joint interests are not scarified for personal desires. This is exactly what happens when you divorce and the interests of the family are scarified for personal interests. No fun at all! To handle this, you can set aside amounts of “play” or “freedom” money you both agree on. This allows everyone some space to use money for their own desires.
- Learn as much as you can about money management and investment. Again, using money without the emotional attachment can work magic in your marriage. Financial freedom brings a lot of other freedoms into your relationship. It does not matter how old you are, how big your family is or how low you start, everyone can reach financial freedom. It is certainly a journey with ups and downs, but if you want to be free, you have to make it.
Marriage is a financial partnership that is harder and more costly than most to break. Therefore, it calls for a special relationship that brings together emotional intelligence and financial intelligence into a genuine long term partnership.
So in the spirit of the Vulcan greeting,
“Live long (together) and prosper!”
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage