Reducing Financial Conflicts for Couples

couple_right_size.jpgMoney is the most frequent topic of disagreement among married couples. Not only is it problematic for couples, but the disagreements are also the most-heated, less easily resolved and longest lasting of their relationship.

There are many reasons why this is so difficult for the average couple. Today we will focus on one solution that can help your situation  involvement. Family strengths research has found that when couples work together as a team they can weather financial and relational storms.

A Client’s Story

A recently graduated client of mine was very dutiful in creating and following a budget each month. He knew exactly where the money was coming from and where it was going. His wife, on the other hand, was not involved at all. She would make purchases and try to pinch pennies, but didn’t really know where the limits were.

This lack of joint understanding proved to be problematic financially and it was not really helping their relationship either.

In my experience, most couples do not want to talk about money, because it is such an emotional topic. Spouses have different money histories that may actually not be congruent and cause problems when making financial decisions.

Unfortunately, most people do not seek relational help for money issues. Instead, they brush these issues under the proverbial relational carpet and let them build up. Only to have them explode on the couple at the most inopportune times.

If this is you or someone you know, there are several things that you can do right now to begin correcting this problem.

Tips to help you both be more involved in your finances

1. Money Time

  • Find a time that both of you can meet once a week to keep track of your family spending habits.
  • This is a perfect time to discuss your financial goals and what each of you can do to help contribute to better achieve them.

2. Can’t find the time? Make it!

  • The best time to do this is typically at the beginning or end of the week.
  • Set a time when there are the least distractions-children, ball games, etc.
  • Take out your calendars and schedule it and stick to it.

Research shows that when couples have time to discuss financial habits and goals they are more likely to weather financial storms and have better relationships. deskcouple.jpg

My recently graduated clients began having money time each week and it proved successful to helping them get on the same page financially. The husband was relieved to have his wife involved helping him to manage the money, while the wife was feeling much more involved in helping ease the stress her husband had been carrying alone.

If you and your spouse are not united in managing your family’s finances, then try these suggestions for a month. If you work together, your relationship and finances will change for the better!

If you enjoyed this relational finance tip, click here to get additional tips from Travis Parry from the Family Financial Institute.

Travis earned his Ph.D. in family and human development at Utah State University and has coached married couples for the past 13 years toward family financial fitness. He is an assistant professor teaching family finance at Texas State University and the owner of the Family Financial Institute. He can be reached at www.travisparry.com.