Aleteia

Do you fight about money as a couple?

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Finances can be a major source of conflict in marriage. Here’s something to keep in mind.

The joint bank account of Mark and Sabrina is always in the red. The situation has turned into a constant source of conflict between them. “Sabrina can’t see that her gym membership and expensive taste in clothing put a strain on our budget,” says Mark, putting the blame on his wife for reckless spending. In her turn, Sabrina accuses her husband of wasting too much money on “wining, dining and partying”  — parties he claims she also enjoys.

Among many other things, Mark wishes they could put away some money for vacations at the ski resort he is fond of. But it’s not Sabrina’s idea of a great vacation. At this point, they both admit that each of them is selfishly pursuing his own interests without giving a thought to the well-being of the other. Coming up with plans together is something they have put on hold and in an attempt to get the upper hand, they’ve become embroiled in a merciless tug of war. 

A long term objective of living together and going over the budget

To overcome the conflict, Sabrina and Mark will have to hear each other out and negotiate their future spending. They must ask themselves a few basic questions concerning their hopes and fears: how do they see their life together in 5, 10, or 20 years? Do they plan to buy a house?  What kind of lifestyle do they aspire to? Are they worried about not having enough money to finance their children’s education, to retire? 

They must determine their common goals and share their expectations to project their future together. A long-term plan, albeit a provisional one, will help Mark and Sabrina to reach their common objectives. Examining their budget together will help them readjust their initial expectations. Even if this process won’t solve all of their problems, it will help them in mapping out their course.

Marie-Noël Florant

 

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