Marriage and Building a Healthy Financial Relationship
Money is necessary. Debt is often required, too. Understanding how each factor into a relationship is essential to happiness and refraining from financial arguments. Too many couples struggle to get on the same page about money or make arrangements that are impossible to maintain.
Failing to compromise and adapt financial decisions based on relationship needs can, and often does, interfere with intimate feelings. Therefore, to maintain a healthy marriage and relationship, you need to get on the same page financially and choose an arrangement that works best as a couple and for future goals and needs.
Yours, Mine, and Ours
Independence is a unique and desirable quality for most people. From the teenage years through the majority of young adulthood, independence is the drive or motivation behind most decisions. However, when in a marriage, each partner needs to accept some level of interdependency and scrap the idea of sole ownership.
If each person in a relationship has a job, splitting essential costs and keeping the overflow separate may sound fair, meaning whatever money is left out of your check after expenses are yours to do as you please. The principle is somewhat sound, but the execution is never as clean or clear as suggested.
If one person makes more money than the other, it is likely to sow dissent or jealousy in the relationship. The partner who earns less may grow to resent the other because they do not have as many financial restrictions.
Couples should combine their income. One benefit of marriage is increased buying power, but that only comes through the unification of funds.
A better option for couples is combining both incomes and determining a fair and equal allowance. The spendable income comes after paying for essentials and setting aside savings.
Debt and Stress
A couple often finds it challenging to share debt, especially as newlyweds. The person with less debt may not want the burden of the partner's debt or find the combination unfair.
While there is an argument for maintaining separate debt, and legally speaking, most states recognize debt before marriage as independent of the union, marriage or coupling is about unity. Therefore, as a couple, it is better to face debt obligations together. Paying down debt together accelerates credit recovery and strengthens future purchasing options.
Relationships, Marriage, and Unity
Nothing sows anger and frustration in a relationship quicker than money and finances. If a couple refuses to have difficult discussions about debt, savings, spending, and other money-related habits, they are doomed to suffer repetitive and degrading arguments. Frustration will build.
Do not doubt how quickly money can erode trust and love in a relationship. The only way to prevent future disagreements is with current and focused discussions. Talk to your significant other about debt, savings, and investment strategies. Discuss how having children will alter the plan. Look to your retirement needs and figure out how to start investing for the future.
Having frequent, open, and honest discussions about money and finances will ensure that each person maintains a voice in the relationship. It will also encourage ownership in decisions, reducing the likelihood of frivolous arguments. Remember, your relationship is built on love and respect for each other; do not let anything, especially money, get in the way of that.