No money, no honey!

This is the chant of many divorcing couples today as you may be familiar with the fact that money troubles break many a marriage apart.

So it’s no surprise that financial conflict and communication issues are up there on the list of marriage busters. 

Let’s take a look at why the almighty Benjamin might be ruining your marriage.

You haven’t set any boundaries or guidelines, yet

Your relationship is defined mutually by you and your partner. You both need to make sure that you’re comfortable with the guidelines you set. That means striking a compromise that won’t end up building resentment in the long run.

Set a time when you can sit together to write down your specific financial goals, and work out your plan.  

This might include lending money to friends and family, what’s the baseline purchase amount that one of you would need to consult with the other before moving forward with the purchase?  How will your accounts be set up?  Yours, his, ours?  Do you both have access to all?  Yes – those questions.  Put it al on the table.  

The questions that you cringe about discussing are the first that need to be discussed.

You value money over your relationship

If both of you are materialistic, research says that you’re likely to rate low on the happiness scale. A William Paterson University and BYU study concluded that materialistic spouses scored lower on almost every relationship measure in the research. 

Although there was no lack of money in the marriage, researchers found that materialism itself was the culprit. Take a look at what’s fueling your spending habits, and whether it can be addressed through other emotionally satisfying ways.

In other words, money keeps the materialistic couple together.  There’s rarely an emotional connection outside of the money they earn which allows them to buy the things which keeps them happy.  Once the money stops flowing, so will the “love” that keeps the union together.  Are you that couple?

You force yourselves into traditional roles

It’s traditional for the husband to be the breadwinner of the family and to handle the investments and financial planning, while the women take care of daily expenses. However, if your husband is passionate and adept at managing the cash flow, if he’s got a skill for it, you may be better off switching roles.  Do what works for your relationship based on skills and strengths.  Not traditional gender roles.

You don’t check in with each other

Are you both still on the same financial path? Are your eyes still on the same financial prize? Financial expectations and priorities shift as time rolls by, because, well, life happens. A good idea might be to sit down once a year, and see where you are on the financial spectrum, as well as discuss future plans. It also helps if the spouse that’s not working finds a way to bring in money on the side, by selling 2nd-hand items or providing a service. It’ll only make them feel that much more powerful.

You hide bills from each other

Deeper issues might be the reason behind hiding any bills, credit card statements, or other expenses. Whether it’s backed by guilt or fear of a reaction, make sure you come together and go on this financial journey with a clean slate.

If you both understand each other’s financial views and values, and begin to open lines of communication, you can lessen the probability of conflict in the future. It must be dealt with up front and not tucked away in the back of the financial closet.