One of the most common things that couples fight about is finances. It seems that every time someone talks or writes about finances in marriage, they list lots of statistics about how it’s the biggest cause of divorce, or there are X number of unhappy marriages out of ten because of finances.
I’m going to spare you that because I don’t think that the money is actually the root cause of the fights. I believe there are two root issues that cause fights about money: communication and selfishness.
I’m going to tackle selfishness first because it is actually less common. Most people want the best for their spouse and their family, and those that don’t usually don’t realize that they are acting in that way. Take a step back and think…Are my recent major purchases for me? Did I make any of them without my spouse’s approval? Are we stretching our finances for something that I really want but don’t actually need?
If you honestly answer yes to any of these questions, well, we all get there at times. I know I have. I drug Laura into a pickup purchase several years ago that was really more than we could afford or needed at that time, and I regretted it for two years before eventually getting into a more sensible vehicle. But when both of you are focused on each other’s happiness, the selfishness ends.
Communication, or lack thereof, is the most common financial stressor. I think that we often avoid conversations because they are tough, or they might lead to a fight. Avoiding a discussion now always leads to a bigger, more difficult one down the road.
Speaking from experience, it is imperative that both of you are on the same page about your financial goals and your path to get there. Most couples never sit down and have this talk, but it changed our marriage for the better.
Once you agree on a plan, you can work together to accomplish it. It isn’t always easy; in fact it never is, but when you are on the same page, it is doable. Even if your financial state isn’t great right now, a firm plan is always better than chaos. If you want to read more, I wrote this post on communication awhile back.
I’m praying that this might help you think about your finances as a couple differently. Maybe something about this gave you a nudge or an idea. I’ve included a template spreadsheet like the one we use to manage our finances and how we are progressing toward our goals.
Everyone is different, so I’m sure you’ll make some changes, but a little structure to start with always helps. May God bless your marriage and your finances.
p.s. If you'd like us to email you the Excel file of the Finances Template, please click the "Contact Us" tab at the top of site.