Friday, September 19, 2008

Marriage and Money

posted by Michele Olson

Disagreements over money are the leading cause of divorce.

Makes understanding your marriage and money pretty important, right?

The other causes are kids, religion and in-laws, to name a few, but the almighty dollar tops the list. At the basis of the disagreements about money is vulnerability. When it comes to money, we are forced to share our dreams, priorities, fears and goals. That makes it possible that disagreements about money, aren’t really about money at all!

It’s often not the amount of money that causes the friction, but how the money is handled.

A full 60 percent of married couples surveyed by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service report fighting about money with their spouse. In other research, 57% of divorced couples cited financial problems as the main reason they didn't get along.

Dave Ramsey, author of The Total Money Makeover shares these tips when it comes to couples and money:

1) Opposites Attract. Usually a spender is attracted to a saver. This can work because they can create a balance. He suggests you have to sit down and work out finding the middle but very few couples do that. You need to get rid of “I” and start thinking “we” when it comes to money habits. It can be a power issue, so you have to discuss how you are using it together.

2) Together is Better. Get rid of the negative thoughts about money and realize that two heads are really better than one. Working together on goals and dreams can improve communication. If you can’t sit down and discuss money, then there are larger issues in play.
(Hint; for better marital satisfaction, communication and conflict resolution skills where everyone can reach decisions in a healthy way, take a workshop!)

3) Budget can be a dirty word. Really it’s just a plan of how you will spend your money. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun anymore. Start to think of it as telling your money what you want it to do so you don’t have to wonder where it went!

4) Lose the Battle but Win the War. Sometimes you each have to let the other win small battles so you can stay on track and reach your mutual financial goals.

5) Stick to the Plan. That means sticking together and sticking to the plan. Think about this; when the debt is gone and you have money in the bank, all that’s left is to enjoy it together. Sticking to your plan is also telling each other that you respect your mutual goals.

Don’t let these tough economic times put a damper on your marital satisfaction. Let them be a catalyst to help you work together and strengthen your relationship. offers a workshop called “Family Wellness, The Couple, The Strongest Link” which is an excellent resource to help you have healthy discussions about marriage and finances.

Tell us about how money matters influence your marriage.

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