MONEY AND MARRIAGE DON’T ALWAYS MIX WELL. In fact, financial issues are a LEADING stressor among marriages all over the globe! It has all sorts of strings and emotions attached to it, and it means something different to every person. For some, it’s security and freedom, and for others, it’s a trophy of their success. Some people were raised to be generous with their money, and others were raised to hold on to it tightly with both hands and never let go.
No matter how you were raised, I am pretty confident that your spouse was most likely raised with very different “money values” than you were.
When it comes to money and your marriage, it can get really messy, so it’s important that you and your spouse remain a united front. Here are a few tips to help you stay on the same team:
1. Financial Issues Tip #1: Have a Weekly Budget Meeting
Marriages can have business meetings, too! In fact, we encourage you to do so! If you are a member at MyMarriage365, you can actually find our Weekly Marriage Business Meeting guide and webcast. Having a weekly budget check-in ensures that you and your spouse tell your money where it is going, instead of your money telling you. This is a great time to make sure that all of your bills are on track to be paid on time, that you are putting enough in savings for your future, and that you are working toward paying off debt you may have.
2. Financial Issues Tip #2: Have Personal Spending Money
We call it our “blow fund.” The goal here is that each of you gets a set amount of money per paycheck to spend freely. That way if you feel that you HAVE to have that new video game or you can’t live without a drink from Starbucks (because your kids refused to sleep last night), you already have it budgeted and you won’t get into a fight with your spouse about breaking the bank. You can even save up your entertainment money for something big. It’s kind of like having your own “allowance” if you will, and it has done WONDERS for our marriage. The one rule you MUST follow is that you cannot judge or make comments about the way they spend their blow fund.
3. Financial Issues Tip #3: Use the Phrase “OUR” Money
The quickest way to let money come in between you and your spouse is to start using phrases like “It’s my money and I can do whatever I want with it.” When you got married, you pledged your lifetime and everything that comes with that to your spouse, good or bad. That means all of the frustration that comes with your credit card debt or school loans, and all of the joy that comes with being responsible with your savings account, 401k, or retirement plan. When you use phrases like “my money,” you are telling your spouse that there’s something in your marriage that comes before him or her, and that’s painful and dangerous. You’re in marriage together; highs and lows of money and all. You’re a team, so don’t forget that.
4. Financial Issues Tip #4: Keep Open Communication
If you are feeling like you and your spouse are not handling your joint finances well, communicate about it! Keeping it to yourself causes bitterness and resentment to grow in your heart against your spouse, so make sure you’re having regular conversations about your budget so that you are both on the same page!
Here are some connecting questions to get you started:
• Do you consider yourself a saver, a spender or a little of both?
• What does being financially comfortable look like to you?
• What one thing do you really want to purchase but can’t afford?