Another study on more than 4,500 couples in the journalFamily Relationships found that disagreements about money early in a relationship may be the most common predictor of whether a couple ends up divorced.
One of the most cited studies about money and relationships was Professor Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University. He found that couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were over30% more likely to get divorced than couples who disagreed about finances a few times a month.
Money might not scream romance like wedding bells, an exotic vacation, or a candlelit dinner, but aligning with your spouse financially is one of the most critical factors in a successful, long-lasting marriage.
And while70% of couples have success withcouples counseling when they’re having issues, openly talking about money with your partner might end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands, in therapy costs down the road.
Couples and money matters are indispensable. When you get married, your finances are one of many things that go from a “youandme” to a “we.” Your assets, debt and the way that you manage money will all become part of your relationship. Even if money doesn’t come up right away during your honeymoon stage, it will. Guaranteed.
While there are challenging conversations about money, like when one spouse is bringing a lot of debt to the marriage or loses a job without warning, there are also many conversations about money that can build your relationship.
Talking about money isn’t only about budgets, conversations about bills, and stressing about higher credit cards than you planned for. Money talks can also be about goals, dreams for your future, where and when you want to retire, and the types of trips you want to go on together.
Those are fun conversations that are not only healthy but can also improve your relationship bond as well.
When you navigate the different ways to get to where you want to be, this is something you can do together. By having honest conversations about money, you’re instantly creating shared life goals, often big ones, that you can work on as a team.
When you’re honest about where you’re both coming from, it also helps you take a look at the bigger picture of your relationship.
Too often, couples can get bogged down by the stresses of day-to-day finances. Still, when you have honest conversations about where you’re at and where you eventually want to be together, you can find common ground and dream together.
When you’re honest with your spouse about money, you can make finances a team sport. You share in the wins, losses, and course corrections that happen on your way to getting out of debt, building wealth, saving for a dream, and achieving goals along the way.
How to talk about money with your partner? If you’re looking to grow your relationship by talking about money, here are a few tips to help you have those first conversations:
1. Talk about goals
When to talk about finances in a relationship? Talk about goals first. Ask your spouse where they’d love to live and when they want to retire one day. You can start talking about relationship money goals in a positive way.
2. Be supportive
Whether you or your spouse are the “money person” in your relationship (and you might both be), be understanding and do your best to listen.
3. Share where you can improve (too)
How to deal with money issues in a relationship? You’d be amazed at how much a conversation can open up when we admit that we have faults. Share where you know you could do better with money, and chances are your spouse will too.
4. Create shared goals
We all have individual goals and dreams, but create a list of goals you want to achieve together in the next 1, 3, and 5 years. Maybe you want to pay off a couple of credit cards, start putting money away for your kids, or save for a home.
5. Look at some numbers
This can be tough, but look at how you’re spending money and see how that affects where you both want to be financially. See if there are areas where you could agree to make changes, even small ones at first, that would positively affect your finances.
6. Make plans
Budgets and changes to your finances often take a month or more to settle in. Whether it’s a full-fledged budget makeover, dropping an expensive subscription, or pledging to put some money away every paycheck, you can get things started by agreeing on a plan together.
The first step to financial success as a couple is to start talking about it, and you can do it. It might even help your relationship grow in ways you never knew it could.
How talking about money improves relationships – The takeaway
Why couples need to talk about money?
A person’s relationship with money can be very personal. For some, it’s something they have a tough time sharing.
When both people in a relationship speak openly about money, how their families’ managed money, and how they want to do things either the same or differently than what they saw growing up, you can learn deeply personal things about your spouse that you otherwise might have never known.
Also, you might find that when you’re talking about money, you’re learning about your spouse’s long-term desires and dreams in a completely different but tangible way. While it’s been said that love doesn’t cost a thing, many things in life do.
When you and your spouse share your financial goals, whether buying a house in your 30s, saving for your child’s college, or retiring a multi-millionaire, you might be surprised by some of the goals that your spouse brings to the table.
To start this conversation, take 5 minutes to both write down 5 short-term and long-term financial goals that each of you have.
Share them and talk about each of them. There’s a very good chance that you’ll learn something about each other, and maybe you’ll even find that you share some of the same goals.
After sharing, you can see how realistic and possible they are on your present course. You might find that you’re right on track or need to make some changes to your budget, career, or lifestyle to hit these goals.
Perhaps most importantly, when you know the goals you both want to reach together, you can fight for and advocate for each other’s goals.
You can be on each other’s team, making sacrifices and changes together to make sure that you’re both heading in the direction that you want to go. Together.
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.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addiction Counselor, EMDR trained therapist, DBT trained therapist, Trauma Center - Trauma Sensitive Yoga trained therapist, Integrated Treatment of Complex Trauma for Adolescents trained therapist
(Courtneyrose Chung is also listed in Best Marriage Therapists in Lone Tree)