In the previous two articles in this series, we looked at the first two items in a list of common problems that married couples face, namely issues relating to communication and sex. This time around we are going to be covering that third major issue in the divorce trifecta, namely money!
Financial problems are a very regular cause of marital breakdown for American couples. Whether it’s a lack of money, disagreements about how money should be spent, or even who earns more, money can be the great divider of couples. So here are a few tips to help you and your partner get past some of those rougher financial spots.
Mo’ money, No money:
There is an old saying that goes, “romance without finance is nomance”. And regardless of what people may say in the throes of passion, poverty is hard. Constantly having to pinch pennies, go without, and pass up things because you can’t afford them is very stressful. In the same vein, a marriage often suffers when money is tight.
Tough as it may be, the best way to handle this situation is honesty. Sit down together and talk about your finances. Discuss your debts and your income. Talk about your financial goals as a couple, and how you plan to reach them. Address options that may lighten the load, like finding possible sources of additional income. No one ever promised it would be easy, but being on the same page will make it less difficult.
Sometimes the issues in a marriage stem from the fact that the two partners involved don’t agree about how to save versus how to spend. When one person is tucking away dollar bills in their sock drawer, and the other one hemorrhages money every time they walk past a store, there’s a problem. Disagreements about how to handle money can be a major source of strife.
The only real solution here is to create a budget, and then stick to it. If you can do this together – great! If not, hire a financial planner to come in and sit down with you and help you to get everything organized. Making an agreement that allows for some spending and some saving, so that both needs can be met, will help to ease the stress.
Change can be healthy
The sudden loss of a job can be devastating to a couple, both financially and emotionally. But what often begins as a solely financial problem, can develop with time into serious emotional problems. For example, when one spouse loses their job, if they are unable to regain some of their lost income, they may develop resentment toward the spouse who is still working. In part because of what seems like general unfairness, and in part because they resent being dependent. On the other hand, the working spouse may develop resentment about the non-working spouse, who is now more of a financial burden, and “not pulling their weight”.
This is a tough one. What can help is a joint effort to reduce your cost of living after an unexpected income loss, which will help to minimize the strain. Also, discussions about how other duties can be redistributed to lighten the load may help. For example, perhaps the non-working spouse can assume a few of the working spouse’s chores around the house so that the distribution of effort feels more evened out.
Which leads us to our next topic of discussion coming up: Domestic Duties. Join us next time to discuss this controversial topic – the distribution of work around the house. Until then, if your marriage seem unsalvageable and you can’t find a way to stay, come and talk to our skilled divorce attorneys. We have spent decades helping the people of Michigan prepare for their futures. We can help you too.