Money is a very touchy subject for a lot of couples. Some couples go as far as avoiding the topic altogether, and then down the road the real trouble begins when secret bills or expenditures come to light. Unfortunately, financial issues are a source of anger and anxiety during good economic times, and they can actually strain a marriage during tough economic times. It is for this reason that couples must pull closer together and work as a team to manage their financial situation.
*Quality time together. When times are tough, it is important to make time for each other. Instead of avoiding each other and the possible heated discussions, try spending some quality time together doing something that does not require spending money. Go on a walk together, or have a romantic picnic for two in your backyard or in front of the television while watching a mutually enjoyed movie. Money is an important thing to manage, but so is your relationship. Just because money and times are tough, does not mean you should ignore each other. After all, you probably did not get married because of money, you got married because you love each other and enjoy being together.
*Agree on budget. This is sometimes a difficult thing to do when both people are working and feel entitled to “spoiling” themselves once in awhile. When money is tight there is a lot less wiggle room for frivolous spending. Sit down together and figure out the monthly bills that have to be paid (rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, groceries, etc.). Then figure out what is left over. The last step is to set a certain amount for each item that must be paid and allow for things that happen that you cannot always expect like car repairs, illness and home repairs. All these thing must be worked into a budget and sometimes that does not leave much room for “fun” stuff. This is why it important to work out a budget both people can agree on and then stick to it.
*Compromise. This is an important part of a relationship in general. Compromising during tough economic times means both people are probably going to have to give up something they really enjoy in order to save money. This should be an equal sacrifice on both parts. One person should not be expected to give up everything they like while the other one continues spending money willy nilly. If she is expected to give up weekly trips to the salon, then he should be expected to give up golfing on the weekends, for example. The compromises should be equal and fair.
*Communicate. This is a big problem in many marriages when it comes to money matters. Some couples do not talk about financial issues in order to avoid arguments. This is understandable, but not a good idea. It is very important for couples to be able to talk about every aspect of their relationship, including money. Couples need to know what each other’s goals are, what is planned for retirement and where money is going each payday.
Part of being married is weathering tough times together and financial hardships are part of those tough times. Instead of letting allowing money to drive a wedge in your marriage, figure out a way to let it bring you closer together.