Why Money Is a Leading Cause of Relationship Conflicts

Freed - Why Money is a Leading...In long-term relationships, money matters.

Many of us recite vows that include some version of “for richer or poorer.” But that means something very different if only one of you is earning the vast majority of the income. Or if one person is a saver, and the other is a spender.

And when people start to stress over money, relationship conflicts often follow. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new. But you might not realize how truly big the problem it is.

According to a recent poll, money is the number one reason people in relationships fight. Even worse? A study from a few years ago found that fighting over money was the top predictor of divorce.

So if you often find yourself at odds with your spouse over financial matters, you need to take note. Figure out how to deal with each other in a more productive way.

The first step in doing this: understand why money can cause such big conflicts in our marriages.

We may feel off-balance. If one partner is earning significantly more than another partner, or one partner is spending significantly more, then we might feel off-balance in our relationship.

This is never a good thing. For a partnership to work, you need to feel like equals.

It’s a give and take. Excessive spending habits can cause your partner to feel like you are taking something away from them. And vice versa.

If one spouse does not communicate with their spouse about the amount they are spending, it may take away their chance to save up for a big purchase. That’s frustrating and inconsiderate. But it’s also not okay for one partner to “hold the purse strings” and prevent the other person from making any financial decisions.

It reflects our values. Spending habits tell us much more about our partners than whether or not they like a fancy meal or enjoy buying new clothes. Our relationship with money can provide good insight about how we view our future, how we make decisions, and what we value in life.

If you and your partner have disagreements about how to plan your budget, you may be showing deeper disagreements and mismatched priorities.

It’s not easy to communicate about money. Many people were raised with the idea that finances, salary, and budgets are private topics. Plus, it is hard to continuously tell your partner when and where you are spending your money.

Take the time to sit down with your partner and create a budget. It will be a big relief at the end of the month when your bank accounts reflect your expectations.

Budgeting isn’t fun, and it isn’t always easy. This is a true test of negotiation. Each of you will have to make sacrifices every month.

You may have to give up a shopping trip or two with your friends. And your partner might have to cut back on the morning coffee at the café across from work. But making these decisions together will provide much needed relief to marital stress.

And remember, take the time to budget in a few date nights: a night out at dinner, babysitter’s fees, whatever you need to get out of the house and enjoy an evening with your partner.

It will be a much more fun date night when you don’t have to worry about who’s paying the bill.

Rooting for you!

Sara Freed


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