Posted on: 21 July 2015
Whether you're getting married or you're currently married, there are some conversations that are unavoidable. Money issues will come up again and again in your lifetime. They have a big impact on how well your relationship progresses. If you're concerned about tackling this aspect of married life with your partner, you might want to consider employing a marriage counselor or financial coach to help you get on your feet. If you're relationship seems to be crumbling around you, this is another time to get guidance from a counselor.
Learn to Discuss, Not Fight
One of the reasons counseling is so effective is that it provides a safe playing field. You are less likely to blow up and fight about financial issues if you have someone in the room with you. Sometimes a counselor acts as a spectator and simply observes your interactions as a couple. Other times the counselor steps in as your coach and gives guidelines for how to discuss your money and how to respond to your spouse about it. It's then up to you to go home and practice until your discussions feel natural.
Get to the Heart of the Problem
It doesn't matter how much you and your partner make if you don't know how to budget and spend wisely. For most couples, financial problems are simply a matter of making a solid budget and sticking to it. However, there are circumstances that make budgeting nearly impossible. These include instances of "financial infidelity", where your spouse has a separate account and makes large purchases without your knowledge of it. You might also have to address addictive spending habits (gambling, impulse buying, etc.) that break your budget on a regular basis. Either of these issues calls for counseling. You have to address the problem, change habits, and rebuild trust – and for your marriage to be a healthy one, you need to have open communication and trust.
Determine Your Financial Stance
Everyone views money differently. You might feel like an emergency fund is imperative, while your spouse might need some "fun money" each month. Determining your view on money will help you and your spouse understand and respect each other better. You might realize that you feel more secure with a higher emergency fund, but your spouse feels controlled without the fun money. Another concern is that you might feel like job security and a home is necessary before starting a family while your spouse would rather start a family and worry about the financial obligations of providing for another person as they come up.
Marriage counselors don't simply offer budgeting advice, they help you understand the emotions that lead to tension and disagreements. Feelings of insecurity in one area might lead to similar feelings in another, which decreases your self-confidence and trust. However, eliminating personal spending cash from the budget might leave your spouse feeling restricted and tense. These feelings could manifest themselves in your intimate relationship. Determining when it's right to start a family is between you and your spouse, but a counselor might help you realize why one of you is hesitating (can you afford it?) and why another is anxious (how old will you be before having a child?). Whatever the emotions are, they are not limited to your financial difficulties but are manifest in all aspects of your marriage.
Financial counseling is a great way for you and your partner to prepare for or work through a major marital stress. It can save not only your financial situation, but your marriage as well. Through couples counseling, you can determine what the main problem is, the emotions you and your spouse struggle with because of it, and how to overcome them together. The only way for your marriage to stay strong is to work together with trust, respect, and love.Share