If you had to guess, what would you say is the BEST predictor of divorce in a marriage?
Household chore distribution?
Falling “out of love”?
Surprisingly, regardless of income or net worth, according to PsychCentral, the overwhelming answer is:
Money tends to bring out a person’s true motivations. Things like selfishness are really revealed when it comes to money in marriage. The way money is spent and saved tells a lot about a person’s values (which can clash) and their ability to compromise with their spouse.
I wouldn’t say that money is necessarily the cause for most divorces, but it does tend to magnify the underlying problems and feelings in the relationship.
If you’re in a marriage relationship, here are a few quick questions to ask yourself, based on your discussions about money:
- Are we “one” in the financial sense? Marriage is a unity in every way, including financially. Keeping separate bank accounts and splitting bills may sound like a good idea, but it is a recipe for trouble down the road. Who pays the higher bills? What if one partner makes more money? Can one person opt to stay home with the kids? Who will pay for a shared purchase, like furniture or appliances? There are a few odd exceptions, but generally, combining finances is an important step in marriage.
- How often do we argue about money? If money comes up repeatedly as a topic of debate, it might be that the values which each of you have about money are opposed. Finding a way to compromise and come to an agreement is important here. Agreeing on a budget and sticking to it is important, too.
- When we do argue about money, is it really about money? What starts as an argument about that impulse purchase can quickly turn into an argument about how impulsive or immature one partner is. Are you upset about the money situation, or about something deeper? Address the underlying issues so that your money arguments don’t become the beginnings of a fallout.
- Is one of us hiding things or lying about money? Without open, honest communication, a marriage is in a tough place. This includes money. If you or your spouse is lying about spending or hiding things, this needs to be resolved immediately. These money discussions just have to happen.
Lastly, for the engaged readers out there:
5. If I’m not married yet, have we talked in detail about money? Prevention is always the best option. Many people go into a marriage not even knowing how much debt the other brings with them, or how the other tends to spend or save. This is so incredibly important. Talk about money before you say “I do.” Your honeymoon is not the time to reveal your $25,000 credit card balance.
As always, remember that even if money has been a big issue for you, things can turn around. A good place to start may be with a financial adviser or a marriage counselor. Regardless of what path you choose, remember that money arguments aren’t an automatic death sentence for your marriage. Some big changes may need to be made, but it will be worth it when you’re in a place of financial freedom and marital strength.
How do you resolve money arguments with your spouse? Share in the comments below.
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