Marriage and Finances

marriage & financesIt is said that the number one reason people get divorced is communication or the lack of it. Also ranking high on the list is finances. And the number one thing that hurts your finances is a divorce.

So, being able to communicate about your finances in a marriage is pretty important but let’s be honest, that’s not always easy.  In most marriages, opposites attract. Normally, it seems like one person in the relationship is more of the spender and the other is more of a saver. As you can probably imagine this causes some tension in a marriage. One person wants to go to Italy for ten days, while the other doesn’t even want to go to the Olive Garden for dinner. That might sound extreme, but there are couples out there who are that opposite.

I am not sure where you are in your marriage, but there is always room to improve your communication skills as well as your financial plan. Here is an analogy that I have found helpful when dealing with marriages that are in a challenging spot.

A married couple is sitting on a bench watching cars go by. They both have sunglasses on, the wife has red colored lenses and the husband has blue colored lenses. Everything is great until a white car drives by and the wife says, “That is a very pretty pink car.” The husband says in a condescending tone, “You’ve got to be kidding? That car is blue!” They start to argue, but then one of them drops it because it isn’t worth it. Then the car drives by again, and they start up again, this time way more heated than the last time. This argument can almost never be resolved. Why? Who is right in this example? And lastly, how can you help these people?

Let’s first start by answering those questions:

Why is this scenario an almost impossible problem to resolve? Both are looking through lenses that are different.

Is the wife or husband correct? They both saw what they saw in the color they saw it, so in a way, they were both right. But they were both wrong because the car was neither blue nor pink, it was white.

How can you help these people work to agree on something they are both so passionate about? I wish I had the answer, but I can only give you suggestions as it is ultimately up to the couple to get the help they need.

These suggestions to help people with their communication skills are also the same things that can help people who are in different places when it comes to their finances.

  • Understand that you might be looking through tinted glasses, meaning you might not be able to see something accurately due to your past experience or some other reason.
  • Be vulnerable with your mistakes. Focus on what you have done to get you into this situation or what you can do moving forward to help the situation.
  • Ask other people besides your spouse to hold you accountable. Do not point fingers at what your spouse is doing wrong or what she/he can do to make the situation better.
  • Over-communicate, and don’t get upset when your spouse over-communicates. Try to understand where the other is coming from.
  • Remember that the way you feel appreciated/loved is probably very different from the way your spouse feels appreciated/loved.
  • Big problems aren’t solved overnight. Things that are the hardest to resolve sometimes take years.
  • Don’t cut corners in this process, and admit when you have failed.
  • Work with someone you both respect and trust to create a plan and hold yourself accountable to accomplish what you have said you will do.

These are just some ideas for people who are going through some hard, financial issues in their marriage. We all have blind spots and we all have our own issues we need to work through.

We love helping people in this situation get a clear plan where both parties are expected to pull their own weight. We would be honored to talk through some of these issues with you if you are ready for help!