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Creating Space Series: Relationships

Money and Marriage

We have touched on finances in relationships in the past before but it is a very important aspect of financial stress because it affects multiple people and it can cause far more damage than any credit card bill could ever hope to.  We have stressed the importance of making sure that both people are on the level about finances and how taking finances on as a team is an absolute must.  There is strength in numbers, and it is invaluable to have a co-pilot and a best friend sitting right next to you as you both go through the thick and thin.

After it is all said and done, it may have been one of the events that brought you closest together with one another.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out that way because people go about it in the wrong manner.  Often times, finances break up a marriage rather than make it stronger.  There are a number of reasons that can be cited such as needless spending, deceitful spending, overly frugal, and plain greed.  Any relationship can overcome these problems but the relationship with one another must be stronger than the relationship between one and the money.

Admit and Commit to Financial Change

There are men that are addicted to TVs, and there are women addicted to hair stylists, there are men addicted to boats, and there are women addicted to purses and it can go on forever.  What is important is to, firstly, get on the same page with your spouse.  You both must WANT to better your financial picture.  Don’t assume that the little bit of debt is OK, and you guys are in “alright” condition.  This is an unhealthy co-dependence where the two of you support each other’s consumption habits by convincing each other that there is no problem.

Do you know how to tell if there really is a financial problem in your relationship?  Picture your ideal life with your spouse at retirement.  Be sure to consider house, food, location, and activities.  Really go all out with this vision, and then compare it to where the two of you are now.  If your life is not anywhere near what you have pictured then the two of you have work to do.  Many people wouldn’t consider this a “problem” but it provides a sense of urgency.  The two of you need to sit down and look honestly at your financial goals and your financial status.  Build some budgets together and try to break some habits together.  Agree to keep each other in check and do your best to get where the two of you want to be.

Revealing Your Financial Skeletons

Keep no more financial secrets, be open and transparent, and go for your goals together.  Having a team-mate that is tied to the same fate as you is a huge blessing and a huge asset to have in your life.  Instead of the two of you living separate financial lives, you both need to become one and share your financial goals, burdens, and dreams.  Work as a team, achieve as a team, and in the end celebrate as a team.  It is the only proper way to handle finances in your relationship.  This concludes the Creating Space Series and we hope that it may have assisted you.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you have financial secrets in your relationship?
  2. How transparent are your finances?
  3. Do you separate finances?
  4. Do you plan budgets together?
  5. Do you plan savings and investments together?
  6. Do you tackle problems together?
  7. What benefits do you see to working together rather than working separately?
  8. What disadvantages are there to working by yourself?
  9. What is stopping you from working as a team?
  10. Have you considered openly discussing your concerns about working together to see if they can be worked out?
  11. Do you trust each other?
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