For many years I dreaded payday. Why you may ask? Because it was always a day that Aaron and I would get in a huge fight over the budget. Financial planning for married couples can be the source of so much strife, anger, and resentment. I can tell you it was a huge contributor to my and Aaron’s divorce. And even after we re-married and fixed many of our other problems. The fight over money never disappeared. That is until I found a solution.
Mine and Aaron’s fights over money were pretty bad. There would be yelling, cussing, and slamming of doors. It was really sad actually. Because most of the time it could be attributed to miscommunication and no education in personal finance on both our parts. This is often the case with most couples. We go into marriage with rose-tinted glasses thinking every part of it is going to be sunshine and lollipops. After all, we’re in love! But the reality is that life has a way of yanking us back down from the clouds. And if you don’t nip the problem in bud sooner rather than later it can destroy your marriage.
Common Reasons Married Couples Fight Over Money
The reasons couples fight over money can be numerous. But they all have a common thread. A lot of time it really comes down to communication, getting on the same page, and having common goals. One of the biggest lessons Aaron and I learned about how to stop all the fighting was you really have to change the mindset that it’s you against them. When you got married you became a team for life after all. So, to end the fighting you have to change to the us vs. the problem mentality. You also have to get to the root of the problem. Here are some of the many reasons couples fight over money.
- Spending too much on little things: It’s amazing how quickly trips to the coffee shop can add up. How much are you eating out when you have a fridge full of food at home? I like to call this the convenience black hole.
- One Person is Doing the Budget: Even if one person is physically doing the bills, the other partner needs to have input. This helps avoid one person feeling like everything is on their shoulders. Once a month you should have a budget meeting.
- Not Being Honest With Your Partner About Your Spending: There is nothing more damaging to a marriage than lying. That holds true for withholding information as well. You can’t have a clear view of how to budget if you don’t have all the details. This can be very bad for any financial goals you have if not all the cards are the table. It is better to hurt someone with the truth than to hurt them with lies.
- Communicating About Financial Goals: It is extremely important to get on the same page with your spouse about financial goals. Remember you are a team! And the only way to reach your financial goals is to agree on what you both want to achieve.
- Not Having a Knowledge of How to Properly Budget: One of the biggest contributors to marital strife over money, especially for a new marriage, is not having a knowledge of how to budget properly. Parents usually rely on high school or college to teach their kids about budgeting. But unfortunately, it is usually not an adequate education. It is really important that we as adults take the initiative when we’re young to seek out courses on how to properly budget our money.
Financial Planning for Married Couples Doesn’t Have to Be Painful
With all the different reasons we fight over money, it can be hard to see the silver lining. How can couples truly overcome these obstacles? And will we ever really get to a point when the fights end. The short answer is, yes. There is hope. You just have to have the proper tools.
Trust me when I say arguing over money is never going to completely go away. But you can certainly lessen the amount and intensity of the fights. We are human after all and miscommunication can always happen. The true turn-around for Aaron and I happened when we finally found a solution that would help us become a team. The key was learning to stop fighting each other and start attacking the problem. Below are some of the biggest tools that helped us stop fighting over our finances.
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Resources for Couples to Better Manage Your Finances
- Financial Peace University: This was our magic bullet! When I discovered FPU and Aaron and I signed up to take the course, it truly changed everything. Yes, there is a cost to join the course. (we are not affiliates, just true fans.) But the cost was minimal and we were willing to try anything to get our financial planning under control. For the first time in our marriage, we saw hope in the future. We were able to get our money under control and we actually look forward to budget day now!
- Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey: If you can’t swing FPU at the moment at least get Dave’s book. The knowledge in this book is gold! It will help you start to learn the principles of a zero-based budget.
- Zero-Based Budget: This is the foundation of Financial Peace University. Before I discovered FPU I had found another resource that really got Aaron and I started on the path to a better budget, YNAB. You Need A Budget is also based off of the zero-based budget idea. It’s a great resource and they have free courses you can take to help you understand all the principles. A zero-based budget is when you take your income and assign it to your debt and bills by level of importance. All of your money will be allotted to the different areas of your budget and you work from there. This is where honesty is super important. It truly is the best method for those of us who are not so great with money.
- Budgets Made Easy: Ashley Patrick’s blog is an amazing resource for financial planning for married couples. She and her husband have an amazing story about how they paid off $47,000 of debt in 17 months. On her blog, she gives you the tools she used to make that possible. She also features others on her blog who have similar amazing stories of paying off tremendous debt and now live debt-free.
Aaron and I swear by these resources. They have helped us finally see a future of living debt-free. I truly hope if you are struggling with debt you take a look at them. It can really make a difference in how you and your spouse deal with your financial life.
Building Your Financial Future as a Couple
Financial planning for married couples can literally make or break your relationship. But using the proper tools, being honest, and communicating with each other can really make all the difference. One of the ways Aaron and I addressed our budget needs was to have a meeting with each other. We sat down and wrote out our dream for our future. We decided as a couple what we wanted in our life and that was our “why” when it came to buckling down and sticking to our budget. Aaron and I have dreams. We want to get rid of our debt and be able to live free. One day soon we want to build a small home on our dream property and live a life of self-reliance.
The only way we knew we would be able to heal our marriage, stop fighting over money, and get to our big goal was to get on the same page. If you really want to have a happier marriage and be on the way to an amazing life, it’s time to sit down and have a financial planning meeting. Be honest with each other and write out a mission statement for your family. Once you realize you’re on the same team financial planning can actually be exciting and fun!