Q&A: Resolving conflict over finances

Q: My wife and I fight about money all the time. We both hate the conflict, but we feel stuck in this pattern – especially since there never seems to be enough cash in the bank. What do you suggest?

A: Conflict over finances can be hard on a marriage. In fact, research shows couples who argue about money are twice as likely to divorce as those who don’t. So above all, you’ll want to emphasise the health of your relationship over the details of accounting. Once you’re on the same team, it’s easier to implement a couple of practical solutions.

The first step is deciding to live within your means. More than likely, you’ll have to take a closer look at the cost of your lifestyle. Most couples struggling with debt have no clear idea how much they spend each month on groceries, car payments, and entertainment. Without a willingness to live on what you earn, it’s not a matter of if, but when, your finances will crash.

The second important step is to establish a budget. There are many resources available to walk you through the nuts and bolts of doing that. But, for now, understand that a plan is a crucial tool to help you live within your means and to make saving for a rainy day possible.

Why? Because budgets force you to prioritise your spending habits. It’ll probably mean less of “this” and no more of “that” – which, admittedly, are tough decisions and key reasons many folks avoid budgets altogether. But remember the goal: getting your money under control together, so you can reduce the conflict threatening your relationship. If you feel like you need more guidance in this matter, explore our Resources.

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

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