Marriage will change the way you handle your money. After all, what was once just “yours” is now “ours”. This may also mean you will be fighting with your spouse about money sometimes. Ideally, you will have discussed your financial strategy and goals before marriage, but disagreements can happen anytime. If they are becoming more frequent, here are some tips to end financial fights before it is too late.
- Listen more.
Is one spouse having a hard time with following your budget? Sit down and talk about it. Ask your partner why it is not working, and listen. The cause is likely to pop up. Maybe the budget is not realistic, dictated by only one person, or the categories were not reasonable. Whatever it is, work on it as a team. It helps if you also devise a plan on how to handle issues that may appear in the future.
- Agree on big purchases.
Before a large purchase, have a rule in place that both of you must agree on it first. It can be difficult to talk about how you are going to pay for it when the car, vacation, or other splurge has already been charged. If you find yourself objecting, find out the reason. Will it derail your budget? Is it not urgent? Can you really afford it? Spend time explaining and listening to each other until you are able to resolve your differences.
- Look to the future.
Managing your money involves planning for the future together. This gets tricky if you are the spouse who worries about retirement or investing in your first home while your partner does not even want to think about it. Discuss the future and set goals together. It is easier to save up for the future when both of you are on board. Even if your spouse is not a planner, they will be willing to budget once they realize it will help you reach your financial goals.
- Focus on one project.
The fights will stop if you are both working on the same financial goal. Pick one project that matters to you two and work together to achieve it. Whether it is paying debt, saving for your children’s college education, or sticking to a realistic budget, communicating why it is important to you will usually get your partner on board and end the fighting.