More so than troubling in-laws or sex-related issues, money is the greatest force that pushes married couples to start signing divorce papers.
It is too often that couples try to deal with money issues months, sometimes years, after a clear problem has been evident.
It has always been easier to prevent money problems like over spending than it has been to recover from one partner’s irresponsible decisions.
Then there is also the sheer perception of irresponsibility.
What one partner may consider an important purchase, may be considered irresponsible by the other.
This is precisely why relationship experts are urging couples to take early steps to creating a financially healthy relationship rather than wait until arguments about the bills, banking accounts and spending have already started to cause a rift in the relationship.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is for couples to realize that the “money conversation” is a talk that must be had.
“When entering a relationship, we usually bring a financial blueprint from our family of origin,” one article published by the Huffington Post explained. “Smart couples candidly identify destructive beliefs around money that trigger limiting behaviors such as overspending, excessive frugality, scarcity, or unreasonable demands.”
It’s that type of conversation that could save a relationship over time.
By sharing their own personal spending tendencies and values when it comes to money, partners are not only given a fair warning about their partner’s habits but they are also given an early chance to discuss compromises and other financial plans.
A key part of forming a financially healthy relationship is to make sure each partner’s priorities are aligned.
Discuss key matters like whether to own or rent property, whether or not you want to invest in sending your children to private school, how much money you want to add to your savings every month in case of emergencies and what kind of emergencies would constitute a reason to use money from the savings account?
There are a lot of questions to discuss, a lot of things to prioritize and a lot of space for disagreement.
That makes compromise essential.
“It is not unusual for two people with different histories to have different values and beliefs as it relates to finances,” Nikiya Spence of Black Love Forum explains on the website. “If you discover during your exploration phase that there are areas that you disagree on, continue to explore if there are still common areas that you do agree on and try to work from there.”
When there is an issue that neither party can compromise on, Spence says that both need to decide if they can “accept that you will just disagree on that particular issue” and find some sort of middle ground.
Once compromises are made and priorities are set, one will have to learn to not be an emotional decision maker.
Shopping trips on a whim, last minute trips, or cutting off another source of income out of short-term frustration could be emotionally driven decisions that are poor for the future of the relationship.
Relationship experts also recommend establishing a recurring time to sit down and discuss finances.
It’s a great way to monitor finances, address the early stages of any concerns and make adjustments if necessary.
A financially healthy relationship is extremely reliant upon both partners being on the same page even if they don’t necessarily agree on everything.
Communication and compromise is essential in any aspect of a relationship but it’s particularly important when it comes to dealing with money.
Finances are something that have the potential to impact nearly every other part of a relationship and can determine just how challenging certain phases of parenthood will be.
“The goal should always be to work as a team even if you mutually decided to set up things individually,” Spence added. “Communication overall is a team effort. Do your best to stay positive and respect each other’s needs.”