Money, like politics, is a very polarizing subject. Ask five people how they handle money and you’ll get five different answers. It seems that everyone has an opinion about how best to handle money in a relationship.
My wife and I are no different. Before we met, she was never interested in money other than spending it. (I hope she doesn’t get mad at me!)
Then there’s me. As a kid, I always knew how much money I had on any given day. Once a week it seemed, I’d empty out my piggy bank onto the floor and amaze myself with the shiny coins that would come tumbling out. I would count each and every penny, put them into neat little stacks, and take pictures of my creation. Sometimes I would even go get dad and try to impress him with my savings.
Fast forward to today. My interest in money and personal finance has continued to develop and my wife has become somewhat more interested in our financial situation. She’s mostly concerned that the bills are paid and that we have a little left over for the fun stuff. She has even started to brag that her credit score is better than mine!
Disagreements over money are a common cause of tension in a marriage and often lead to divorce. What many couples fail to realize is that men and women are different. Women tend to be more conservative with money and lean towards savings and security, while men take more risks and aren’t quick to discuss or admit financial problems when they come up.
We’ve all heard that opposites attract. We’re drawn to those who possess the qualities we lack. This means that often, one person in a relationship is interested in finances while the other isn’t. The problem comes when the one who manages the finances neglects the wishes and needs of the other.
How Do We Get Around This?
In a word: Communication. Realize that marriage is an equal partnership in which both parties should be able to voice their desires. The money manager needs to consider the input of his or her partner, and the partner should in turn be involved in financial decisions and take an active interest in the couple’s finances.
It’s important to communicate often about our needs and wants. To do this, you need to tell your partner what your goals are. Then you need to listen when they’re talking to you. Once you’ve heard each other out and are clear about what the other wants, it’s time to compromise. In a relationship you’re never going to get everything you want. At times you’ll need to give up what you want. This unselfish behavior, if practiced and perfected, will make a relationship thrive.
What if you can’t get your partner to participate in the family’s finances? Lecturing or criticizing will only make him or her more reclusive. Try to understand the reasons behind the disinterest. Above all, being patient with your partner is the best thing you can do.
Who Handles Our Finances?
In our marriage, money isn’t something we argue over. We have disagreements once in a while about what we each think is the best use for our money, but we don’t let our differences get between us. What I’ve found is that we’re both moving toward the center – I’m learning to live a little and she’s getting her save on.
Because of my interest in finances and a thrifty lifestyle, I’m the one who manages money in our relationship. But most importantly, my wife is okay with this. Because we communicate and compromise often, our opposite qualities come together in a way that makes us stronger than before.
Who handles the money in your relationship?
Photo by thesilverpurse.com