Keeping a marriage together is hard enough without having to deal with money dilemmas. Most times a couple will not have a clear money plan. Most often, we need to talk about money and understand our differences before we walk down the aisle. But we don't. The American Psychological Association (APA) found almost three-quarters of Americans are experiencing financial stress. "For the majority of Americans (64 percent), money is a somewhat or very significant source of stress, but especially for parents and younger adults (77 percent of parents, 75 percent of millennials and 76 percent of Gen Xers)," the APA found. There is more to the puzzle. Couples are also hiding money that they spend. CreditCards.com reported people spend up to $500 and didn't tell their partner. "If you do not feel safe financially with your spouse, it can erode the trust and foundation of your relationship," Money coach Deborah Price wrote. Here are 6 tips to keep money woes from trapping you.
Beware of financial infidelity.Financial infidelity is a person's unwillingness to admit missing bill payments, overspending or any other problem that siphons cash out of the bank. How do you combat this issues? Sit down with your spouse and decide what the expectations are going to be. "Show your spouse and yourself that you can be trusted and watch how your marriage improves, your spiritual life grows and how you begin to see more in your life because you can be trusted," money coach and author Leah Woodly shared.
Find common ground.If you both have different goals regarding retirement and saving for college, there is going to be issues between you. Both of you need to state your goals and work to find what is the priority. If this doesn't work, set goals as a team instead of setting them as individuals. It is so easy to focus on what’s wrong that we often forget to remember what’s good in our relationship, even when it comes to money. Make a list of what the financial goals are and work on this together. It can be saving for retirement, a vacation or planning how to pay down the mortgage. "Most financial differences are due to a failure to effectively communicate our needs, fears and grievances, which tend to accumulate over time. Learn to talk openly and calmly and without blame. If there is an issue that is too difficult to resolve alone," Price added. Maybe once a month you can go boating, golfing or enjoy a nice dinner as your reward.
Come clean.No matter how it is done, lying is lying. Cheating doesn't need to be involved in a relationship to create damage. Come clean and talk to your spouse about money that you shouldn't be spending. Broken trust, no matter what the form can cause paranoia in your relationship. Family law attorney Steven Mindel explained to businessinsider.com that marriages fall apart for more financial reasons than for fidelity reasons. "Fundamentally, marriages are built on trust and anytime you breach the trust of the other party, it damages the relationship. Getting married is like the merging of enterprises."
Roll with the punches.When we identify the source of the conflict, we can work towards a resolution to solve the matter. If tempers start to erupt, work to tackle the goal another way. Try to take a 10-second break so you can avoid a heated argument. Avoid venting as this will make you even angrier because it cements you in the present. "It's drug-like because there are brain chemicals and other behavioral reinforcements at work. If you get accustomed to blowing off steam, you become dependent on it," Lifehacker.com reported. Next time you both are seeing red, walk away and revisit it another time.
Become compassionate.Whether it’s a simple understanding or something deeper, being compassionate can strengthen your connection. We all bring in baggage from the past into the present. This is what is causing friction in your relationship. "Remember that your core money issues get triggered when you are under stress, but most likely they did not begin in your marriage. They represent unhealed wounds and patterns from childhood that you each brought into the relationship," Price proposed. The problem isn’t just finances, it can be underlined by selfishness, pride, fear or anger that causes problems. Having guidance will help facilitate these discussions in a more prolific matter if you are not getting anywhere on your own. There are emotional layers that we have to deal with and it's important to be cognizant of their influences. But if the root cause is beyond money matters, you need to find a counselor or some who can mediate.
Affirm each other.
Navigating money matters is tough. To make it better start affirming the good things that your spouse does. This is an instant confidence booster that will lighten the mood. The 7 Rings of Marriage by Jackie Bledsoe advised to love your spouse at all times and in all circumstances (even when you don't agree). “Just as a series of choices can lead to massive debt or a dead season in marriage, a series of choices can lead you out,” Bledsoe said.
Being married is hard enough without having to deal with the woes of money. You don't have to be a statistic and break-up over it. Seek hope, listen, be understanding, honest and find the support that you need to get on the corresponding financial page.