I love the subject of marriage and money, because money is one of the biggest problems within American marriages today. Knowing that makes me intrigued by the subject, because I want to be able to help married couples with money someday. I was thinking the other day about how I am such a money nerd, but my wife is even better with money than I am! She does not write in a blog, nor does she read Entrepreneur or Money magazine. She just practices good money habits, and sometimes I even get frustrated at how frugal she is! Then I thought about how lucky I am to have a wife whom is very self-controlled when it comes to handling money.
There are many of you out there that are in the opposite situation. Your spouse is out of control when it comes to spending and handling money. For whatever reason, your spouse has no concept of spending less than you make and buying bargains. This may be due to the way they were brought up or maybe they are addicted to shopping and it makes them feel good to buy something shiny and new. The problem is that marriage is not a joint venture. When you join to become one cohesive unit, your money and my money becomes OUR money. It does not matter whom is bringing in the money or whom is making more money, you both need to manage that money together or there will most likely be problems. If one partner does not share the same philosophy about money, then many marital problems may arise. Or maybe there are other marital problems that are causing a partner to lash out with the checkbook. There are three keys to resolving the problem of an out-of-control spouse.
The first thing that you must do is communicate to your spouse that it is not acceptable to buy a $500 dollar pair of shoes or a $1,000 riding lawn mower (unless you have a big chunk of cash sitting in the bank). Sometimes a spouse may not be aware that they are spending obscene amounts of money until you sit down with them and show them the bank statements. Make sure that you communicate to them about this with love. If you throw it in their face or bring them down, the spouse will react even more negative. If the spouse does not agree with you about spending less, then you have a bigger problem.
2. Be Educated
There is a chance that your spouse is not as educate as you about how money works. They may not be aware of the crazy interest rates of credit cards and that being late on bills affects you in a harshly negative way. Make sure that your spouse is up to speed with how to handle money properly. Check out courses at your local community college or what I recommend most is Financial Peace University which is a 13 week course hosted by regular people around the country and taught via tapes by Dave Ramsey whom is a well-respected financial counselor.
3. Marriage Counseling
If you and your spouse have talked about how to handle money and you are both educated on how money works, yet your spouse still continues to rack up bills that you cannot pay, then you need to go to marriage counseling. I would recommend going to a faith-based marriage counselor even if you do not consider yourself “religious” because they will guide you toward a better marriage without the thought of getting a divorce.
Marriage is tough, but you both need to be on board with how to handle money, or else it will seem worse. Talk to each other and make sure you both know each other’s cares and concerns before an argument arises from money problems.