One of the reasons I am so excited about the success of my book launch is because the book became a best seller in BOTH the “business” & “relationships” categories. Why? Make no mistake about it – your marriage is as much a business relationship as it is a romantic relationship. Those couples that choose to ignore the financial aspect of their marriage do so at their own peril. Let the statistic speak for itself – the #1 reason cited for divorce between couples is disagreeing and fighting about money. This is why I have dedicated an entire chapter in my book on how to handle money in your marriage titled: “Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst! Financial and Family Planning.”
Whether you are rich or poor or just making ends meet, this week’s article is a must read. Following are 7 easy steps for handling money issues throughout your marriage so you can stop fighting about money – once and for all!
- Money Motivation. Know what motivates you to make and/or spend money. Must of us have no idea how we developed our attitudes about spending or saving – we just know we like to “spend” or “save”. This requires a little bit of reflection and soul searching.
- Know what money really represents to you and your partner. And don’t try to convince them that they should be more like you! (I know you know what I mean.) What motivates you to spend or save money is not the same as what money represents to you – a HUGE difference (not clear? See Chap. 3).
- Communicate your individual attitudes and values about money to your partner so you can develop a joint financial strategy you are both comfortable with. Think of this as your financial blueprint for relationship harmony! Develop a clear, concise plan for how you use your money; that is, how you spend it, and how you save it. If you happen to come into a financial windfall – an inheritance or you hit the lottery (hey, somebody has to win) – discuss and develop a strategy for how you will use that money. Interestingly enough, money that people “fall” into often unravels many relationships.
- When you find you are at a crossroads with your partner when it comes to agreeing on money issues – clearly communicate your differences to each other using respect as your baseline. This will avoid all the finger pointing, blaming and accusations inherent in the following statements: “You don’t care how I feel about blah, blah, blah when it comes to spending money” or “You are such a tight wad” etc., etc., etc.
- When differences regarding financial decisions come up ( and they will ) respect these differences without accusing the other of being cheap, irresponsible or spending money like it is going out of style. Doing this will keep the issue focused on the differences regarding the finances and avoid the pitfall of entering the dead man’s zone of character assassination!
- Keep money in its proper perspective in your relationship. Money does not define your relationship or your love for each other. Do not allow money to come between the two of you. Keep your love and respect for each other at the core of your relationship and defend this love at all costs!
- Make love the platform whereby all financial decisions are made – remember those wedding vows: “in good times and in bad, for richer for poorer”?
Make no mistake about it; money is an absolute necessity in life. If we use love as our platform and respect as our baseline, money will have its appropriate place in our relationship. Although all differences regarding the handling of money might not always be reconciled, we will at least be able to respectfully “agree to disagree”. Let’s not forget what we all know to be true – money is merely a commodity in our lives. Money cannot buy love and it cannot buy happiness!
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann