Q&A: Creating better spending habits

Q: My wife and I have been married for six years and overall, we have a good marriage. But her impulsive spending habits are a source of constant stress. Every month, we have the same argument when the credit card statement arrives. She cries and apologises – and then keeps spending! What can I do?

A: It’s been said that “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We probably all fit that definition to some extent! But it’s clear from your description of what’s happening in your marriage that your current strategy is in need of a different approach.

Money is a very emotional topic. People spend and save for a variety of reasons that are often rooted in needs like security, comfort, relational power and validation. So, when you and your wife have your monthly credit card confrontation, you’re not just discussing ringgits and cents.

Instead of reacting to the bill every month, we’d suggest you be proactive in addressing this issue.  You may also explore our Resources to get additional tools.

Because financial issues involve emotions and relational tension, you may also want to enlist the help of a wise and caring marriage counsellor. Yes, this requires an investment of time and expense up front. But with financial stress and disagreement consistently listed as a leading cause of divorce, it’s an investment that will give your family’s finances – and your marriage – the best chance of staying on the positive side of the ledger.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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