by Jaynee Sasso
In the minds of many, money is their greatest treasure and consequently is the pathway to their heart. As a result, many couples have often found it easier to commit their bodies to one another before they have committed their checkbooks. But money problems are among the top sources of tension for many couples today. How can you budget your way to a great marriage?
Improve the lines of communication within your marriage. Lack of communication places strain on the relationship. It also decreases the chance that the marriage will weather economic storms. Discuss expectations about how money will be managed throughout their relationship.
Establish a budget together and commit time each month to evaluate it. Budgeting is a great way to establish boundaries and accountability. Both foster an environment that builds trust and furthers personal and family goals. Couples should utilize their family budget to clarify goals and the path to reach them. As each person receives income, the other should already be aware of how it will be disbursed based on the budget guidelines. Budgeting takes all the guesswork out of who has committed to pay what and when.
Encourage one another to have the right attitude. Budgeting should not be viewed as a system of deprivation. It’s about positioning yourself to get more of what you want out of life.
Make the connection. Functioning as individuals rather than as a unit leaves the door wide open for financial infidelity, poor decision making, and an overall misunderstanding of common goals or priorities. Couples who separate household bills according to “my bill” and “your bill” aren’t making the connection that if one person falls off track, it affects the entire family. A spouse struggling with debt contributes less to the family’s resources and hinders the family’s ability to reach its goal of financial stability and security.
Remember, you’re in this together. People often feel they can solve financial problems by getting a divorce. However, that can make life more complicated because then there are two households to manage instead of one. Setting aside time to assemble a family budget is well worth the investment and will give your family an edge to overcome life’s challenges – together.