Tips to Make Sure Money Problems Don’t Become Marriage Problems

Your relationship with your partner can be challenging and it requires your full attention. The same could be said about your relationship with money. These are two connections that — on their own — require foresight and patience.

When you enter into a committed romantic relationship, the stakes get higher. As a result, money problems can and often do become marriage problems and well… you know the rest. Economic-related stress negatively impacts many other aspects of your life. It’s hard to feel settled as a couple when money is tight and/or your financial goals are not in sync.

Common Money/Marriage Problems

  • Spending Priorities: Disagreements over what to spend money on can be a significant source of conflict. One partner may prioritize saving for the future or making investments, while the other might prefer spending on immediate needs or luxuries.
  • Secret Spending: It’s important to have independent lives and personal interests but this can’t bleed into one of you hiding or lying about your money usage.
  • Children’s Expenses: If you have kids, then deciding how much to spend on their education, extracurricular activities, and other needs can be a point of contention.
  • Retirement Planning: Disagreements over when to retire and how much money is needed for a comfortable retirement can lead to stress, especially as the couple ages.
  • Financial Support for Extended Family: Decisions about financially supporting extended family members, such as parents or siblings, can be a source of disagreement, especially if one partner feels strongly about providing this support while the other does not.
  • Black-and-White Thinking: How you handle money is not a personality issue. It’s a learned habit. Thus, it can be changed.
  • Unwillingness to Change: Both of you must accept the concept of compromise as a path toward resolution. Always be willing to change.
  • Competition, Jealousy, and Envy: There is ZERO positive value in judging one another on topics like salary, career, etc. Don’t let money bring out the worst in you.
  • Letting Money Issues Color Other Interactions: Financial strife is inevitable. However, you have the ability to control its impact. Don’t blend your disagreements into one big fight.

How to Make Sure Money Problems Don’t Become Marriage Problems

Big Decision: Separate or Joint Bank Accounts

The only “wrong” answer here is underestimating the importance of this decision. Talk to a financial advisor for pros and cons. Talk to a counselor to hash out the emotional issues just beneath the surface. Consider having a mix of separate and joint accounts. Joint accounts can be used for shared expenses and savings goals, while separate accounts can give each partner some financial autonomy.

Accept That Different Experiences = Different Views on Money

Each of you was raised in a way that influences your perception of money. Accept this reality. Then compassionately ffactor it into your discussions. Understand that financial perspectives can and must evolve. This is your opportunity to grow as a couple.

No Secrets

Unless you’re buying a surprise gift for your partner, there is absolutely NO reason to hide your spending. This is a time-proven recipe for disaster. It shatters trust and also,makes it virtually impossible to work as a team.

Be On the Same Page When it Comes to Your Kids

If you have children, you already know how they will play one parent against the other. Their efforts may double when they want you to buy them something. Stay united as a team or you will risk both financial and family difficulties.

Work on Creating a Budget Plan

Work together to create a budget that reflects your shared goals as well as individual needs. This should include regular expenses, savings, debt repayment, and discretionary spending.

Develop a Plan for Debt:

If debt is a source of conflict, work together to create a strategy for paying it off. Decide whether debts will be handled separately or jointly and set realistic timelines for repayment.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open 24/7

Your family’s personal economy is not a destination. It is a never-ending journey that requires, as stated above, your full attention. Therefore, you and your spouse must never downplay the importance of healthy communication. Let each other know that you are always ready and willing to talk about money in a compassionate, open-minded manner — for the good of your relationship, your family, and financial health.  It’s important to create a safe space where both partners feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without judgment.

Celebrate Achievements

Recognize and celebrate when you reach financial milestones. This reinforces positive behavior and teamwork.

Do You Need a Financial Advisor or a Couples Counselor?

Short answer: You may need both. However, it is through counseling that you can get to the root of the situation. All the money wisdom in the world can be wasted if a couple doesn’t dig deep to find and address underlying issues. A couples therapist is the experienced, unbiased guide you need to work through the tough money conversations.

When your concerns are out in the open, the problems don’t seem as daunting. As a team, you’ll be able to work on healing old wounds while simultaneously creating new patterns. Relationships are hard. Money matters are tricky. Couples counseling helps you develop the skills you need to navigate both.

Getting Started With Couples Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado

We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online Couples Counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples & groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.