These 3 habits have helped us avoid conflict over money in our marriage.
As a Financial Coach, I often work with spouses who are quick to point the finger at their partner for their money woes, blaming them for their issues with debt, living paycheck to paycheck or not having any savings.
The husband will blame the wife, saying it’s her outrageous spending on clothes, shoes, hair, or visits to the home decorating store to buy sofa pillows, throw blankets and candles that smell good. The wife will blame the husband, saying it’s his frequent golf outings with his buddies, his expanding tool collection or the tickets to the Super Bowl he just had to have.
Fighting about money is such a common struggle for couples that it’s been estimated that 73% cite money conflict as the leading cause for divorce.
My husband and I have been able to break this cycle because of three things we’ve done over the years. It’s been one of the best things we’ve managed to do as a couple!
- Built trust around spending and saving: When my husband and I got married, we were both newly divorced and a bit nervous about the spending and savings habits of each other. By demonstrating again and again that we both saved the money we had committed to and spent money judiciously, a strong trust level developed over time. By following through on the financial commitments we made to each other in those early years, my husband and I now have complete trust that the other is managing our money well.
- We defined our shared values and goals: Even before we got married, we had many conversations about what values in life we both prioritized to see if they meshed. We also talked about our individual visions for our lives and our personal and professional goals to make sure we were aligned. Thankfully, we both found that what was important to us as individuals translated to what was important to us as a couple.
- We’re both frugal- sometimes ridiculously so! One of the shared values we have is frugality and saving. It’s not that we live a minimalist life or deprive ourselves of basic things. We own a lovely home, drive decent cars and splurge on things that are important to us. Our philosophy is that we’re very frugal with the things that aren’t really important to us so that we have money for the things that ARE important to us.I will admit, however, that sometimes our frugality resembles ‘cheap’, like the dumbbell that broke and my husband glued back together so we could still use it. Or our collection of plastic containers for leftovers that are warped, stained or mismatched.
Because we’ve built this trust, have shared values and have both demonstrated frugality, my husband never questions my spending at this point!
When I come home with shopping bags, he barely bats an eye! When Amazon packages arrive on our doorstep, he barely reacts! He knows that if I’ve bought something, I can afford it, I have budgeted for it and I’ve been intentional with my purchase.
It’s not really that my husband doesn’t care what I spend; it’s that he knows my spending will not hinder our ability to pay our bills, save the money we want to save or leave us ‘short’ at the end of the month.
This financial freedom in our relationship has helped us avoid conflicts over money in our marriage.
A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. ~ Dave Meurer