Dealing with financial problems in a marriage can cause serious marital problems. Emotional pain, stress, and marital discord can even lead to marital breakdowns if not handled properly. The way couples relate to each other and the strategies they use to resolve the problem is extremely important in saving a marriage. Overcoming financial difficulties can be done effectively by avoiding common mistakes that can destroy your marriage. Although having financial difficulties will put a strain on your marriage, there are strategies for surviving with your marriage intact.
Avoid the blame game – whose fault is it?
Although it can be tempting to blame when serious financial difficulties arise, each member of the couple must take some responsibility for their situation. It is not uncommon for one spouse to be unaware of financial problems until a financial crisis strikes. It is a reasonable practice for both spouses to pay attention to finances. If both spouses pay attention, mistakes can be discovered and financial problems in the marriage avoided.
Communication – Find your way
Communicating with each other is the first step to resolving your financial situation. No matter who is at fault, your financial situation is a shared responsibility and must be resolved in order for your marriage and life to move forward.
During this stressful time, you may want to think about the things that drew you to each other at the beginning of your relationship and the commitment you have to each other.
Communicate about your financial situation:
• Choose a time and place where you can talk without interruptions or distractions.
• Avoid shifting blame
• No put-downs or sarcasm
• Forget about being right and your partner being wrong.
• Listen to your spouse without interrupting.
• Avoid phrases like “you never” or “you always”
• Listen and reflect on your partner’s point of view, don’t ignore or dismiss it.
• Stay calm – DON’T YELL!
• Give your spouse some reinforcement that you are listening to what you are saying (nodding, eye contact, other positive body language).
• Discuss your current financial situation, how much it is, and what is the best way to handle things given your current financial situation.
Recover confidence in money matters:
Just like any other area of marriage, financial trust is a big deal, and once it’s lost, it can be hard to get it back.
Some useful tips to regain financial confidence:
• Total honesty and openness about finances and debt
• Keep your spouse informed, even if he shows little or no interest: Have a place where financial information is kept and available for both of you to see at any time.
• Have no secrets and do NOT have secret accounts or stashes of money.
• Establish a plan to keep things under control: Make sure your spouse is involved and agrees with the plan.
• You may want to split bill-paying responsibilities so you both feel involved.
• Have regular meetings with your spouse to discuss finances: at home, away from home, for dinner, for a walk, etc.
• ABSOLUTELY NO SECRETS!
Tips for dealing with financial problems in marriages:
• Set a budget
• Determine which bills need to be paid and agree who pays what
• Have a set time to discuss your finances.
• If you cannot pay your bills, know your rights and consider seeking professional advice.
• Set aside time to spend alone time together (going for a walk, to the movies, playing cards/board games, etc.)
Wherever you are financially in your marriage, you got to that point together and you will have to work together to solve this problem. While many marriages take a nosedive under financial stress, other marriages can get over it and move on.