Money and marriage. You can’t have without the other. (I totally have the theme song to Married with Children stuck in my head now!) But it’s true. Money follows us where ever we go.
I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce and 50% of those marriages site financial reasons as the reason for the divorce. Which means you have a 25% chance of money ruining your marriage… if you let it.
I’ve written enough about budgeting that I don’t feel like I need to go into it again. If you search for budgeting up there in the search bar you’ll find everything you need to know. BUT maybe I haven’t hit on the importance of budgeting as a couple enough. So here it goes…
1. Long Term Planning
Having a long term goal together as a couple keeps things moving forward. You are picturing your life together in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. When you are both excited about those long term goals you know the everyday sacrifices are for a reason. When you really believe that someday you two will retire on some sandy Caribbean beach the fact that you have a used car becomes less of an issue. The team work that goes into long term planning and daily budgeting to reach those plans helps keep the relationship strong.
Writing down in black and white exactly what you are going to do helps keep everyone accountable. By actually doing what you are say you will helps to continually build trust. For example, if I have a budget of $100 for school clothes for the kids and I spend $99.75 then I proved once again I’m worthy of my husband’s trust. Of course there have to be allowances for mistakes. Sometimes the budget isn’t reasonable, sometimes a deal is too good to pass up, sometimes we just mess up. Heaven knows my husband has had to rearrange the budget plenty of times because I’ve gone over budget.
But over all if both partners can stay reasonably within budget (and fess up when they blow it) it confirms the couple’s trust in each other.
3. Same Pageidness (just go with me here…)
Sitting down at the start of each month and planning out your finances together while keeping the long term goals in mind creates a level of being on the same page that changes the conversation. I don’t see how a couple who honestly comes to the budgeting table month after month and hammers out a budget that they both can live with and stick to could fight over money for very long. Tim Maurer over at Forbes wrote about 10 ways budgeting saved his marriage. Having an open heart and a willingness to compromise is critical if there is stress in this area.
If money fights are a problem in your marriage you might want to consider sitting down and having a true and honest conversation on how you are going to spend your money next month. See if you can reach a compromise that you can both stick to. I’d love to hear how it goes… and let me know if I can help.