Once the initial romantic daydream of marriage has ended, a couple must deal with the harder facts and challenges of a life together. Financial issues tend to be high on the list of stresses that couples face whether they are newly married or have been married for many years. Financial issues often tend to be a leading source of marriage conflict and divorce. A Utah State University study showed that couples who routinely disagreed about finances, once a week or more, were 30 percent more likely to get divorced compared to other couples.
It may be impossible to completely prevent financial stress. It is a part of life the vast majority of couples will deal with at some point. By taking steps to properly prepare, the impact of finances can be minimized. By using the right approach, couples may even find they can grow their relationship stronger even when times are financially tough. The key points are proper preparation and communication.
A legal method for controlling the impact of finances on a marriage is to create a prenuptial agreement. While such agreements often have a negative association, they can actually work to strengthen a marriage and ease stress when done properly, and they can benefit those at any income level. A survey of Chicago law firms reported that 63 percent of those firms who responded saw an increase in prenuptial agreements over the past several years. The prenup allows both spouses to have a clear idea of what their partner is bringing to the marriage financially, and helps them feel much more secure about the future. Since insecurity and mystery are among the leading causes of financial mishap in a marriage, this is very important. In fact, a survey by CESI Debt Solutions reported that 30 percent of couples ranked financial infidelity to be as equally harmful to the relationship as sexual infidelity.
Open Discussions and Plans About Finances
One of the best ways to prevent finances from having a negative impact on the marriage is to ensure that both partners are equally involved in financial decisions and plans. While discussing money is not usually the most popular topic, it can be one of the most important to healthy relationships. It may also prevent finances from ever becoming a problem or argument. When both people are on the same page financially, they will both have ownership in the decisions and consequences. Even if things turn out badly, then it will be something the couple will feel more comfortable facing together, and there will be much less chance for blame to be thrown.
Avoiding an Abundance of Debt
A report by the American Psychological Association revealed that 76 percent of Americans are stressed about money at least once a month. Of those, 22 percent reported that their stress was extreme. These figures are especially true of parents with younger children. Debt is one of the leading sources of this extreme stress. Proper planning and responsible spending can prevent debt from becoming a problem. Certain kinds of debt, such as an auto loan, is expected, but couples should always buy assets responsibly, choosing what they can comfortably afford. Splurging on luxury items like an expensive car not only comes with incredible debt, but it can tag on less obvious expenses like higher car insurance premiums and maintenance fees.
Money may not be able to buy happiness but can certainly help create it. Finances are so often approached apprehensively that it is easy for couples to overlook the benefits they enjoy by managing their money responsibly. Healthy spending habits, good investments and savings give couples the freedom to use their extra money for mutual happiness. A quality vacation, tickets to a special event, or even a simple movie night out are part of what brings couples together and keeps marriages happy. When a couple realizes that money is best used to create fond memories and emotional bonds together, they can be happy whether they have a lot of extra money or just a little.