While we don’t need a study to tell us that married couples often fight about money, research indicates that the more a couple fights about money, the more likely they are to end up in divorce court.
It seems that, in matrimony, money really does make the world go ’round.
While couples fight about everything from child-rearing to sex to how the toilet paper is supposed to roll, “frequency of money disputes remains the single best predictor of divorce.”
Why? Being united on the finance front makes us good communicators.
Finance guru Dave Ramsey says that doing your spending together keeps the “we” in marriage vernacular. Remembering that “we have and income and we have expenses and we have goals, it keeps it being we.”
“When you’re in agreement on where the money is going … then you’re in agreement about your life,” the financial adviser maintains.
Ramsey goes on to comment that marriage counselors often use a budget to get married couples communicating about their values and goals, “life’s most important things.” Ramsey concludes that talking openly about money makes couples “learn to work together and set goals together and deal with fears and challenges together,” as opposed to having “a roommate that you happen to sleep with.”
Marriage counselors often use a budget to force people to communicate about life’s most important things where they were ignoring them before. It is vital in a marriage for you to learn to work together and set goals together and deal with your fears and challenges together—not just have a roommate that you happen to sleep with. This is not a joint venture; it’s a marriage. The preacher said, “And now you are one.” As a matter of fact, the old marriage vows, which not that many people use anymore but some do—The Book of Common Prayer—say, “Unto thee I pledge my worldly goods.” It kind of comes around in that “for richer, for poorer” section in the vows. “In sickness and in health.”
Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., notes that money is “an area of contention where attitudes of prideful self-righteousness are most likely to prevail.” When couples argue about money, their separate opinions and goals can threaten the foundation of their relationship, according to Seltzer.
“The inability to appreciate and sympathetically discuss their conflicting attitudes toward money eventuates in all kinds of misunderstandings and hurt feelings, which in turn leads to an increasing sense of alienation and loss of intimacy.”
So, how can couples come to term with money issues?
Sletzer and Ramsey both suggest that couples identify the “spender” and the “saver” in the relationship.Seltzer defines the “spender” as one who views money as a commodity. “It can be used in a multitude of ways to increase personal welfare, satisfaction, pleasure, excitement, joy, contentment, and so on,” says Seltzer of the spender’s attitude. The “saver,” on the other hand, views money as an invaluable commodity that must be valued, cherished, and coveted.
“Many therapists have stressed the importance of couples’ explicitly—and empathically—discussing their money differences if they’re to alleviate abiding financial tensions between them. And to ensure that such communication is productive, I’d strongly suggest they both reflect upon the above spender/saver dichotomy.”
Couples should also recognize that money is important, because it relates to a couple’s sense of well-being and security, among other things.
Seltzer advises couples to K=keep an open mind, and be understanding of each other. Seltzer recommends trying to understand where the other person is coming from in regards to their fears and ideas regarding money.