In my personal opinion, material wealth, riches, and greed of any sort should not be a factor in who you love. However, with great money comes great responsibility. If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship you know that there are consequences for unwise choices that affect both people involved, especially if the said couple is married. Suddenly, one person’s bad spending affects the other and stability becomes a thing of the past.
Money is one of the top reasons why people get divorced. Getting past greed, jealousy, and the like are important, but when one spouse’s irresponsibility is hurting the other or their family, it’s not hard to see why that so often becomes trouble in paradise. There’s no doubt that unwise spending habits, debt, and financial instability can break down the trust and comfort in a relationship.
I want to evaluate the toll that debt takes on so many relationships and how to prevent unnecessary tension due to unwise money management skills. Maybe, by preparing beforehand, we can prevent chaos from plaguing what we have with the people we love the most.
The couple becomes overworked
I have a friend whose family is in severe debt. He works himself to the bone every day due to unwise spending decisions made by him and his wife and he hardly gets time to sleep. He works all day, comes home, then goes to sleep because he cannot afford not to.
Of course this isn’t healthy. He has admitted to me that he missed out on a significant part of his kids’ lives because he had to work so much. So much of his family’s predicament has been sadly due to unwise spending habits made by his wife and him, and the compounding interest on their debts have only made things worse.
Debt causes couples to get overworked. When you are living paycheck to paycheck, it may seem like there is no other option. If this is you, I recommend giving up small expenses and putting that toward your debt. Instead of a fancy date night, your spouse and you should go on a hike and picnic. You may be able to diminish some of your living expenses. I know so many people, myself included, who complain about money but never consider they may be paying too much for rent. If you don’t own a house, consider finding a place that can meet your needs while allowing you less financial stress. Be creative with how you can save money, and maybe in the future it won’t be such a big hindrance for you.
One-on-one time gets affected
I mentioned that my friend went a long time not seeing his family due to the debt they had, since he was working so hard to keep them afloat. And with several young kids it was difficult for his wife to work long enough to help out with finances.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying that being overworked or in debt will cause a divorce. But couples need their alone time. Emotional and physical intimacy are important to maintaining a healthy connection.
Even in my own life, I’ve watched a lack of alone time affect immediate family members’ relationships. When you’re not spending time together, you forget how to communicate. Certain members of my family don’t argue or discuss issues well with their partners and I truly believe that their overworking has prevented progress from being made.
If you find yourself without time to spend with your spouse, or you are too tired to discuss conflicts between you, that’s something you want to change and figure out immediately. I know it’s not that simple, but staying up a little late one night per week (both of you compromising your schedules) may be the difference between a close marriage and a miserable one.
Intimacy and trust dwindle
Trust is what every good relationship is founded on. Bad spending habits typically involve partners not considering each other. That alone can crack away at trust, but you also have to remember that bad spending in a partnership often involves dishonesty. There’s no question to be asked: being unwise with your money can hurt the trust you and your spouse share, and it often does.
Recently my girlfriend told me she feels that I don’t consider her much and that I’ve become pretty boring in doing so. She’s not wrong — I use a lot of my time selfishly and have a habit of getting busy and our time together becomes mundane and routine. Imagine how much worse that would be if we were married and sharing our financial burdens. To feel like someone doesn’t consider you much and puts you at risk of losing your stability? As well as restricting your own freedom and fun? That is not the kind of relationship built on trust — that’s a relationship where the trust is being broken.
I find it necessary to constantly work at honesty and transparency in a relationship, so that all trust stays in tact. With your spouse, you’ve already committed the rest of your lives together. But if you’re not being honest or considerate about your money with them, that dishonesty has real life consequences that catch up to you quickly.
As long as both people in a committed relationship are able to own up to their own actions and compromise, there is hope. Don’t ever think that just because these things are happening that they have to keep happening to you. Talk to each other, be honest with each other, fight with each other, and get to a point where you can once again rely on each other! Compromise and self-sacrifice mean everything.