Disputes and tension about money are some of the biggest marriage-killers of all time. So, you need to be watchful about the money mistakes to avoid in a marriage, for a smooth and fulfilling relationship.
Money represents much more than just dollars and cents; it can be used and abused, to express or withhold love, to respect and honor, or to punish and control.
No wonder money and marriage can be a dreaded combination, which often results in many painful money marriage problems.
However, with some intelligent forethought and planning, wise choices can be made, and mistakes avoided so that in fact, money can be the blessing in a marriage that it is supposed to be.
Here are the nine money mistakes to avoid in a marriage:
1. Avoid disastrous debt
Financial problems in marriage, like debt, can slowly strangle and drain the strength out of any happy relationship.
To start your marriage off with a huge debt is a big mistake which could cripple you financially and hold you back for several years.
Many couples find themselves going into severe debt due to the expenses of their wedding, honeymoon, and setting up a new home.
Although everyone wants a fairy-tale wedding-day-to-remember, it bears weighing up your options very carefully.
For the marriage and finances to not conflict later in life, consider settling for a less expensive wedding within your means, in order to save yourself the prolonged future agony of paying off your massive debts.
So, one of the crucial money mistakes to avoid in a marriage is to prevent disastrous debt!
2. Avoid arguing
Another money mistake to avoid in a marriage is constant bickering and arguing about marriage finances or money issues in marriage.
Remember, financial arguments in marriage seldom accomplish anything constructive.
It is better to stop yourselves in your tracks, nip arguing in the bud, and find some positive solutions to your money problems.
Agree on a strategy related to marital finances that you will implement together. Also, agree to talk about money problems in marriage or financial management in marriage sensibly, without arguing, blaming, or complaining.
3. Avoid keeping secrets about expenses
Playing open cards is always the best policy when it comes to marriage and money issues.
If this is not your first marriage and you have alimony and child support to pay, your new future wife deserves to know that upfront. And, if you have any outstanding loans or credit accounts, these should also be put on the table.
Nothing breaks trust in marriage as quickly as finding out that your partner lied to you, or deliberately hid something important from you.
So remember, one of the best tips on money mistakes to avoid in a marriage is to avoid keeping secrets about expenses.
4. Avoid power plays
Avoid using money and marriage problems to manipulate, punish, or control your spouse in any way.
This is called financial abuse and is one of the top money mistakes to avoid in a marriage!
It is particularly applicable if one spouse is the breadwinner while the other stays home taking care of the kids. The malignant misconception often occurs where the one earning the salary feels that he is the only one ‘working.’
Even if both are working, in a healthy marriage, there should not be the concept of ‘my money,’ but rather ‘ours.’
5. Avoid personality misunderstandings
Different personality types have different ways of handling finances in marriage. Some are savers, and some are spenders, with many variations and combinations along that continuum.
When two people get married, it can be a shock and surprise to discover how your spouse views and handles money, especially if it is quite different from the way you do.
One automatically tends to assume that ‘my way is the right way,’ and this can cause a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts. Being aware of and talking through your differences can go a long way to avoiding this mistake.
Do yourselves a favor and take the time and effort to sit down and put together a budget. Once you see exactly what income you have, and what your expenses are, then you can decide how to allocate your available funds.
When you avoid the mistake of not making a budget, you will find you discover certain freedom from the financial issues in marriage, which will be well worth the effort.
7. Avoid having different goals
As a married couple, you probably have several goals together, as well as some individual goals. When it comes to your financial goals, it is best if you are pulling together in the same direction.
Sit down, discuss and come to an agreement on what you are saving up towards, whether it is buying a new car, building your own home one day, or sending your children to the best schools.
This way, you can avoid financial stress in marriage and keep each other motivated and accountable, and you are much more likely to accomplish your goals together.
8. Avoid keeping an eagle eye on each other
Accountability is good, but one of the critical money mistakes to avoid in a marriage is checking up on every little thing your spouse buys, or every cent he or she spends.
This engenders feelings of mistrust and resentment, which will be counterproductive to your relationship.
Some couples decide on a certain amount per month which they are individually allowed to spend in any way they choose without needing to tell their spouse what they used it for unless they want to.
This brings a sense of freedom and choice rather than the feeling of being trapped.
9. Avoid going it alone
Don’t think you have to do it all alone and figure out everything about the money mistakes to avoid in a marriage for yourselves, especially if you are facing some financial challenges.
It is always good to ask for help and find a good financial adviser or counselor who can give you wise and helpful money and marriage advice.
Rather than struggling on alone and floundering, it is much better to get help in good time and set out confidently on a steady financial path.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.