Staying On The Same Financial Page With Your Spouse

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Plenty of things can kill romance in your relationship.

But traditionally, money management and your financial situation always tops that list.

There is no doubt that when your bank account begins to drop, even a bit, the tempers can start to flare. Money can cause many problems in a marriage. When the wolves are at the door, couples stress, argue, and often break up.

In fact, 20 percent of couples say that financial decisions cause tension in their relationships every day, and 31 percent say money issues lead to stress weekly, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council.

The key is for couples to get on the same page about money. Tensions can’t help but grow if one spouse is extraordinarily frugal while the other is a spendthrift.

Here are three suggestions.

Sit down and talk about what is important. 

If a husband’s financial goals and a wife’s financial goals are at odds, trouble is inevitable. He might want to stash more away for retirement. Her chief concern might be saving enough to help the kids through college. The important thing is that each spouse understands the other’s priorities and concerns, and then they can work from there.

Understand that there must be a balance. 

Some couples spend recklessly, racking up massive credit-card debt, while others go to the opposite extreme, fearful of parting with money for anything other than basic necessities. Be disciplined, but treat yourselves once in a while.

An occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Couples can benefit from a dinner at a nice restaurant or a weekend trip to the beach. “The problem is when splurging becomes the norm. But life shouldn’t just be one dreary chore after another. You do need to live a little.

Don’t worry about other people. 

Let your neighbors, relatives and co-workers do what they do, buying unnecessarily expensive cars, living in houses they can’t afford and traveling to exotic destinations that are really outside their budgets. Enjoy life, but live within your means.

There are plenty of sayings about money, like ‘money can’t buy you love’ and ‘the love of money is the root of all evil. Those sayings may contain a little truth, but money also can be a useful tool, a very positive thing. If you use it wisely, it can enhance your life and your loved ones’ lives, too.

Whether you’re having financial issues or other relationship struggles, you may want to try group counseling where participants can talk and listen to each other’s concerns and progress. Online group therapy, such as ReGain, can be just as effective as individual therapy.