Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Money and Marriage

I was watching the news the other day and I heard that divorces are up during this time of the year. I know there are many reasons for this but one that was not mentioned was stress about money.

It is very obvious in my line of work the effect that these kinds of stresses bring to a marriage. I have set in many a home where the couple are just on such different pages that it would seem impossible. But, it is not.

When money is the cause of problems in a home three things can make a huge difference.

1. Really listening to each other.
What is it that is the sticking point? Most time it is that one person is a spender and the other a saver. Sometimes one feels insecure about their knowledge about money. Often, it is that the debt level has grown so high that neither knows what to do next and the stress causes them to focus less on the relationship and more on the emergency. There are many reasons for differences, the key is hearing your spouse out and making sure you understand what is important to them.

2. Seeking a solution. Every problem has a solution. Sometimes couples need outside help to find that solution. I love being that person for my clients. While it is tough, at times, to be in an appointment that has grown to the point of hard feelings, it is always satisfying to be able to bring them together on a common goal...a solution to the problem.

3. Following the steps of the solution together. It is great to have a known solution but unless the plan is followed there will be no change. There have been times that I have simply had to decide to move on when couples would meet with me and then go off to their old pattern over and over again. They were not ready or willing to make the changes that were necessary. Others have grasped hold of the hope offered and truly made a difference in their finances, and then as a result, in their marriage. Cheerleading and coming along side a couple like this brings great joy and satisfaction!

As I heard these attorneys and marriage experts on the news I wanted to get my two cents in there. Statistics bear this out as a primary cause of divorce.

Here we are, after Christmas, in a year that gas and heating prices are at an all time high. Debt levels are really climbing in most families and they need help. Housing prices have dropped significantly in most markets. The financial atmosphere out there is scary. I am sure that many divorces could be avoided if couples were able to work together on a mutual goal...their financial future.

I am considering posting some general advice on this topic in the weeks to come. Do not consider this solicitation but general information that may help someone you know.


Tracy said...

Very good, very wise guidelines--thank's for sharing Becky! DH & I are of similar mind when it comes to money matter, so we never really fall out--thank goodness! But being aware, and having such reminders as these is always a good thing. Happy week, my friend ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your posts.

Communication I think is KEY in any sticky situation in a marriage.

I do know that Robert has saved for our Hawaii trip and it is mostly all paid off. This is also a good idea. Save for something big.