Marriage can be hard enough some days. Throw money into the mix, and things can get downright ugly. However, just as disagreements in other aspects of your married life don’t have to result in permanent rifts, disagreements over money don’t have to ruin your relationship. As with all things in marriage, money issues need to be worked through. Here are some ideas for overcoming disagreements about money in marriage:
One of the best things you can do is understand your relationship with money. In order to articulate your position on money to your partner, you need to be able understand. Think about why you spend (or save) money the way you do. You should also come to grips with why you don’t like the way your spouse handles money, and determine whether or not your own preferences and money prejudices are coloring the situations.
Avoid Money Discussions When Angry
Before discussing money, make sure that you are both calm. One way you can do this is to make an “appointment” to discuss money. That way, you know to calm yourself beforehand. Money discussions should take place when you are both as rested as possible (not after a long day of work) and when you are not hungry. Try to find a comfortable location when discussing money, so that both of you are in a more forgiving frame of mind.
Listen to Your Partner
You and your spouse should take turns listening to each other’s ideas. Listen without interrupting, except to ask clarifying questions. Then, expect the same respect from your partner. You should be able to explain your position as well. If you both agree to listen respectfully, you will get a better idea of each other’s positions, and you will have something to work with when deciding what to do next.
Remember Your Big Picture Goals
Hopefully, you have some big picture goals as a couple. When disagreeing about money, it is a good idea to pull out your shared goals for retirement, a vacation, kids’ college or your emergency fund. Together, you can determine what actions will best help you reach your bigger shared financial goals. Taking the time to re-connect to the commonalities you share will be a big help.
Let Each Person Control Some Money
You should each have control over some of the money. This should be available for you to use how you want. With separate spending abilities, it makes it possible for you buy what you want — even if your partner doesn’t agree. Make it a rule that each spouse will respect what is done with the discretionary spending each has.
In some cases, the best idea is to have separate accounts if you have a hard time agreeing on what to do with money. Make sure that each of you contributes to a central pot for household expenses, and then you can each have separate checking accounts. However, even in such a setup, it is important to touch base and make sure you are still working toward shared money goals.
Be Willing to Compromise
Finally, you have to be willing to compromise. Any relationship has some give and take, and you and your partner need to be ready to give up a little something. With some thought and planning, it is possible to disagree about money without causing serious problems.