4 ways to avoid money arguments in your relationship

  • 9 August 2017
  • Angela Miccio-Harris

When it comes to navigating finances as a couple, it’s smart to “talk early and talk often". That isn’t always easy, though, as partners may have different money personalities, priorities and dreams.

Money conflicts are responsible for 27% of all divorces, making it the third leading cause, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis.

This may seem rather grim for married couples, but it doesn’t have to be. There are various steps that experts say couples can take to avoid letting money matters get the best of their marriage. So whether you’re about to say “I do” or money problems have you thinking maybe “I don’t anymore” the following tips can help prevent money from destroying your relationship.

Battles over finances are common

The number one thing couples fight about is money, but they don’t have to be.

Number 1 course for divorce in first few years of marriage is money.  Our views and beliefs in money often do not show up until you are in a relationship.

 Here are four tips from therapists and other experts:

1. Don’t sweat the differences

Different approaches to money don’t in and of themselves spell doom for a couple, but problems arise when differences get swept under the rug and left to fester. The way around that is to explore each other’s money values. Maybe your spouse likes to splurge because his parents splurged on him, and he equates lavish spending with love. Understanding your spouse’s point of view will help you avoid conflict and learn to compromise.

Man yelling at disinterested woman

2. Communicate regularly

Couples should make a point to talk about money when there’s not a problem, like a surprise medical bill or mounting credit card debt, forcing the issue.

Too often, “people wait until the tension is high and then explode,” says Mary Gresham, a psychologist in Atlanta. Instead, schedule regular money chats once a week or once a month to take stock of household money matters and divide up responsibilities.

3 Be aware of each other’s money beliefs and up-bringing around money

Savers have a belief there won’t be enough money (from childhood ). Spenders' reasoning can be positive or negative like, no point saving, we will always be poor or never be rich or I deserve it.

So stop fighting and have a deeper conversation that goes back to childhood, so then you can give the anxiety a context, by listening and understanding your other half. A conversation handled carefully and purposefully preferably before marriage, you may need help?

Arguments about money bring out our larger subconscious hopes and fears. Money arguments is common as we have had different experiences  and relationship with money, taught different things by our families which we hold in our subconscious which don’t surface until you are in a relationship. We avoid money talks as it is easily a mine field that can go terribly wrong.

  • What is your most painful memory about money?
  • What is your most joyful memory?
  • How did these experiences shape your relationship with money?
  • What 3 things did your parent s teach you about money?
  • Which lessons have you applied in your life?
  • Was your family rich poor middle class?
  • What were your family’s values around money growing up?
  • What is your greatest financial fear?
  • What are your money important financial goals?
  • What are you willing to do differently around money?

So if you both know the answers to these questions it will enable you to have a better understanding of where your partner is coming from when they react to you in their default. (Often coming from fear) Which is 80% of the time coming from past stuff. Then you can respond in a more empowering way and not just react back, which will end in disaster.

Best you both come to an agreement where you can both create your own family values and priorities are money and some short and long term goals to be working towards, so you are both heading in the same direction. But do this when you are both calm, feeling positive with a glass of wine even, basically, timing is everything.

4. Don’t keep secrets

Part of regular communication is consulting one another on big purchases. The definition of “big” is up to you—it could be $200 or $2,000, say—but whatever it is, agree to talk before making a purchase that exceeds it. “Money secrets eat at the trust of our relationship,” Doing things behind each other’s back is never a good move, and in most cases eventually gets found out, plus it stops you both moving towards your goals.

I remember a case I witnessed when I was helping a couple create a spending plan was that she was shocked to learn that the husband who was controlling the finances would throw bills away if they were short on money. “That was just beyond her imagination,”

I have seen and heard so many things going on between couples and have my own stories from my own first 7 years of marriage that quicker both parties sort this out the sooner they’ll have an amazing relationship.

About Angela Miccio-Harris

Angela is Speaker& Coach. Passionate about helping busy, motivated people who wish to live their best Life Now! with changes that lasts around actions or mindsets that last. She is strategic and goal focused with a range of tools in her toolbox that she can pull from. So you get things in place gain insight and are moving ahead, creating greater joy and satisfaction instead of staying stuck or frustrated with your life, well-being, finances or work. She is a Results Certified BBC Coach from the Neuroleadership Group and a qualified member of the International Coaching Federation. Take advantage of the wealth of experience she has to offer with her Complimentary 30 minute “discovery session” at www.angelamiccio-harris.co.nz email angela@thekingdomcentre.co.nz She works with clients throughout New Zealand via Skype or face to face.

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