Money…finances…not something that most couples really want to talk about.
Some avoid it until there’s a problem. Others never talk about it.
Why is that?
Well, because money talk isn’t romantic.
It isn’t sexy. It isn’t glamorous and it surely isn’t fun…well unless you won the lottery maybe.
If you’re like most couples, you cruise along, blissfully focusing more on the “important” things – communication, quality time, building a life.
As intoxicating as all that is, the fact is, the life you want costs money.
You’ve probably talked about where to live, whether to have kids, how you’ll parent your kids, career plans and so on.
But have you talked about how to pay for all those dreams?
As unromantic as it sounds, including money in the discussion can be one of the best ways to armor up your marriage for those times when things get tough.
So what does your love have to do with money? Everything.
There’s a notion that relationships should always be equal…50/50. Each person wants to feel as if they are contributing and that their partner is doing the same.
But what does equal – 50/50 – mean in your relationship in terms of financial issues?
Partners rarely bring exactly the same financial resources to the relationship.
What is “equal” when one makes more than the other or contributes non-monetarily is very subjective. How does 50/50 work then?
Your idea of 50/50 may be completely different from what your spouse sees as equal. Having this discussion early on can head off a lot of future skirmishes.
When you’re talking about managing money in a relationship, you’re talking about trust…financial intimacy.
It’s more than discussing how much is in the checking account this week. It’s an ongoing conversation about wants and needs and how to fund those things.
Simple right? Well, no.
What complicates it is that each of you has your own wants and needs and dreams that you have to weave into the fabric of your relationship.
Money carries all kinds of meaning for people – security, safety, independence, freedom or control for example.
You need understand what money means to each of you and prepare for how the finances will be handled. You want to make sure that you are compatible in the way you view spending and saving.
There is no right or wrong answer. The only answer is the one that works for the two of you.
Part of a stable, loving marriage is planning your future together. That life costs money.
Your money and how you manage it will play a huge role in how your future plans unfold.
Discuss the plan early in the relationship. It’s never too soon to plan.
You want to plan for the good and the unexpected.
You’ll learn an awful lot about how the two of you communicate and negotiate money matters.
When you’re part of the plan, you’re invested in the plan.
Discuss the plan often. Over time, priorities change as the relationship grows. Kids come along. You buy that dream house. One of you loses your job.
You may need to make some adjustments for those unexpected things that come along. If you’ve laid a good foundation, you’re more likely to weather the storm when the unexpected happens.
Money problems can make or break even the strongest loves. Money issues are consistently one of the top reasons cited for marital discord and for divorce.
Money is something you and your spouse use every day.
It shapes the life you live. It makes sense to talk about it. Left to linger, money issues will continue to pop up and become the source of many an argument. Over time, they can destroy an otherwise happy marriage.
How you approach the topic isn’t as important as your attitude going in.
Remember, your spouse is your partner, not the enemy. Give each other permission to bring up money questions or concerns.
Trust that you have each other’s back. When you know you’re a team, defenses come down and you’re more likely to get to the heart of the matter.
Visit http://www.engagedmarriage.com/money-plan/ to learn more about an exciting program designed to bring you greater financial security and more time to spend with your family.
Money and how you manage it will shape the life you build together. Make sure you’re tending your marital money relationship with tender loving care.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.