How we feel about money is decided by a lot of factors, like how we were raised, if our family talked openly about money and how we manage money personally. Money is one of those important issues in a relationship that manages to show gaping differences in our attitudes. It is no surprise that it is one of the primary issues that couples argue over. So now is a good time to decide on how you will financially plan for your future together.
You need to understand one another’s approach to money so you can spot potential problems, compromise and move forward together. If your attitude is more business-like, viewing money more like a quid pro quo rather than a marriage, it’s not getting off to the best of starts. Marriage means being totally transparent and open in all areas, including finances; if you get into a ‘mine and yours’ mentality it will only lead to lots of petty squabbles and down the line and bigger issues.
For example, what happens if your spouse loses their job or is working in the home caring for children and not earning any money? Do they suddenly have to use ‘your’ money, feeling a lack of independence and beholding to you? What happens to the share of the bills that spouse was paying?
If you enter into this mentality under the guise of ‘fairness’ it will create automatic tension because one spouse will always value their own efforts more.
Does it mean you only contribute an equal amount and you keep the rest, if one is working overtime should your partner have to do the same? If you focus on what is ‘fair’ you will tend to do what is right for you rather than for your family. Getting married means you now have to have the other person’s back through thick and thin, through rich and poor.
If you change your attitude and you are working together on your household budget and financial goals, this builds on the new reality that you are a team, you are partners and you are in this together. It also fosters good joint habits, compared to say just dividing up the bills and keeping what’s left, it means saving and keeping a lid on spending is much easier.
Accountability when it comes to spending is important, most marriages will live on a tight budget, which means working together to try and not rack up debt, regardless of who earns more. This way you can see the big picture together and will encourage you to spend your money wisely.
There are many elements of our lives and attitudes that have to adapt when we get married and decide to share our life with the one we love; in many areas we can’t simply go on the way we did when we were single.
It’s not always an easy transition but through communication and praying for a heart that wants that selfless ‘all-in’ approach it will only strengthen your marriage and help your love (and in this case hopefully your finances!) to flourish.