- Budgeting and Priorities.
- What it means when they say "the most common marriage fight is around finances." (today's post)
- Why pay off your student loans if they're an investment?
Money is just a representation of goods, services, or free time. When a couple has a fight about finances, they're really thinking "This feels unfair!"
So what's unfair?
They mean "We're trading time-for-money at jobs, and I have a plan for that time/money... and you're messing with my plans!" It's both the plans and the time-for-money trade they're upset about. That's what the couple needs to talk about.
- Talking about plans.
A major point of friction in any relationship comes when the either person assumes there's an agreement. When you assume, you're being selfish. Stop it. Talk with your spouse. Let them know what's on your mind and what's important to you. Ask them what's important to them, too. I want to be Sarah's biggest fan in whatever she does. I'm happy when she gets involved in things, either on her own or as Team Behnke.
If either of us wants to get involved in something that the other doesn't agree with or support, hopefully there's a good reason. TALK ABOUT THAT REASON. Maybe I'm being unrealistic about my new idea. Maybe Sarah wants something different (better?) for us.
- Talking about time-for-money.
There are things we both want to do. However, there's only so much time per week. When either of us feel like we're not doing important stuff because of obligations, life feels unfair. It feels especially unfair when it appears the spouse is causing the problem. TALK ABOUT THIS.
Maybe the spouse isn't causing the problem. Maybe your priorities are out of wack. Maybe going back to school is unrealistic with life right now. Maybe you simply can't afford a fancy new car.
Maybe the spouse is causing the problem. TALK ABOUT IT. I can be a better husband. Sarah can be a better wife. There are books we can read, counseling sessions we can attend, friends and family we can ask for help from.
Of course, this essay doesn't cover everything. There are legitimate problems that will require professional help. There are real families being forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck. There are major, unpredictable life events. There are real temptations out there trying to destroy your marriage.
Talk with your spouse. Pray with your spouse. Write down your reasons for how you feel, and talk some more. Ask for help. Then talk some more. Money is probably not the root issue. The issue is in your assumptions and plans for life.