While all arguments can take their toll, disagreements over finances can be particularly distressing, especially during these times. However, on the up side, getting the situation and arguments under control now, not only will your finances improve, but your marriage will strengthen, too.
These steps can keep money arguments to a minimum:
- Agree on a budget. Many couples don’t have a budget, but a budget is useful for everyone, even billionaires. If you can both agree on a spending plan, many potential arguments can be avoided. After all, if someone is outspending the budget, it’s difficult to argue about fault.
- It’s practically impossible to get a budget right on the first attempt. Good budgets evolve over a few months. It will take some tinkering to get it right. Be patient and make the necessary adjustments as you go along.
- Use the information you already have. Pull out old bills and use some real numbers. Remember to consider expenses that occur less frequently than once a month.
- Be completely open. Many couples are exactly sure how much money their spouse is making. Many more spouses are in the dark about their partner’s debt and credit history. It’s not always easy, but a full financial disclosure can prevent many disagreements.
- Knowing each other’s financial status will make it easier to agree on a financial plan. This includes being honest about all spending. Be honest.
- Set financial goals together. If you’re both working toward the same things, it will bring you closer together. Partnership and marriage go hand in hand. Sharing a vision is an effective way of limiting arguments.
- Sit down together and dream big about the future. Then decide how that looks financially, when this is all over. What plans will you have to make? How will you accomplish them? Set a deadline and get busy.
- Deal with discrepancies in pay. In most cases, one spouse has a greater salary than the other. Splitting the bills 50:50 might be fair in one context, but it can also create resentment. One option is to pay the bills relative to the salaries.
- Deal with discrepancies in expenses and debt. If one spouse has child support payments to make or a large amount of student loan debt, the other might want to consider making adjustments for this when dealing with the bills. Partners help each other out. If you want to share in the windfalls, it’s only fair to share with the less agreeable things, too.
- Handle disagreements in a healthy manner. Disagreements will occur, no matter how good the intentions. It’s important to keep the discussion centered on behaviours and not people. There’s a difference between, “This purchase wasn’t within our budget” and “You ruined our budget.”
- When a disagreement occurs, find a solution that will prevent the issue recurring again.
Minimising money-related arguments is a great way to strengthen a marriage. It’s also a great way to get your finances under control. Many of the steps involved will encourage healthy finances. Protect your marriage and do what’s necessary to eliminate money arguments.