Are you struggling with money problems in YOUR marriage? If you are, you’re not alone...
FACT: An estimated 80% of all divorces are the result of “money problems”.
FACT: In almost every study, money ranks as one of the most disputed topics for married couples.
Do these facts prove that a leading cause of divorce is the issue of money problems in marriage? Yes...and NO.
It may come as a surprise to you that money is NOT what couples are actually arguing about. Instead, what these couples ARE arguing about is their value systems.
I think it’s about time someone lets you in on what’s REALLY going on when you and your spouse are fighting over money.
See if this sounds familiar…
You: “Honey, what happened to the hundred dollar bill I set on the kitchen table?”
Your spouse: “Oh, I took it when I went to the Mall - it’s the biggest sale of the year, so I thought I could get some good deals.”
You: “What?!? I told you I was going to deposit that money in our bank account to start saving for our big trip this year! You have to get your spending habits under control!”
This is an example of what I call “sport spending.” Your spouse spends money for the same reason that men attend professional sporting events. Husbands get an ‘emotional high’ when their team wins the game, while wives get an ‘emotional high’ when they get a great deal from a store.
(In essence, they see this as ‘winning’ because they believe they’ve got the upper hand over the store.)
Or maybe you’re the spender and your spouse is the saver. You view him/her as a “penny pincher” because your view of money is, “what’s the point of having money if it just sits in a bank account somewhere?”
This is a very common scenario of the spender vs. the saver. But what’s REALLY going on is something much deeper than just money. What you’re really fighting over is your “childhood values”.
First of all, let’s talk about how your childhood values shaped the way you handle money.
Now let me ask you, when your parents raised you, were they savers…or spenders? Now think about your spouse. Were his/her parents’ savers or spenders?
What is your spouse’s view of money today?
Your parents shaped your thoughts, hopes, feelings and beliefs about life whether you liked it or not. You unknowingly picked up their value system on everything from money to manners.
So let’s just say that your spouse is absolutely terrible with money. And let’s also assume that his/her parents were also very careless when it came to their finances.
Since it’s true that your spouse’s parents shaped his/her way of living, is it fair to blame your spouse for his/her lack of ability to handle money? Of course not!
Here’s The Point: Both You and Your Spouse Did NOT Ask To Be ‘Dropped’ Into Your Childhood Homes.
If your parents had some bad habits that you took on…it is NOT YOUR FAULT because that was out of your control at the time. You were just a child who could not shape your own opinions, so instead, you picked up the behavior of the adults around you (your parents).
And your parents were doing their best to raise you according to the way that THEY were raised by their parents. (Your grandparents)
So let me say this again because it’s important that you don’t miss this critical concept….
It is NOT your fault if you picked up on some of your parent’s destructive beliefs. (Like anger/yelling, frivolous spending habits, gambling, etc.)
BUT….it IS your responsibility to correct some of these destructive habits or values if they are interfering with your family, social or work life.
Got it? Good. Now let’s move on to the second money problem in marriage…
The Second Money-related Problem Couples Struggle With In Their Marriage Is…Not Having Enough!
I’ve already explained that couples argue about managing their money (spending vs. saving), but there is a second money related problem that affects just as many married couples…not having enough.
The first question you should ask yourself is “Why don’t people have enough money?”
At first you might think they don’t have enough money because pay raises don’t match the rising cost of living, but this problem is not about things like inflation or raises.
Not having enough money has to do with how it is earned in the first place.
Most people don’t know this, but the true meaning of a dollar bill is this: a dollar is actually a “confidence vote” from one person to another.
I’ll prove it.
Let’s suppose you want to move up to a middle class lifestyle, but you’re struggling to make enough money to sustain that way of life and the expenses that go with it.
But since every dollar earned is a confidence vote earned, the only way to move into the middle class way of life is by being confident in your ability to serve other people with your skills and talents.
If the people who give you confidence votes (your boss or your customers) do not feel your confidence, you won’t get enough “votes” to maintain this way of life.
Successful people who’ve earned financial security or wealth have achieved it because they’ve had confidence in their ability to serve the people who find them to be both convincing and valuable.
(Once again, this would be their boss - or customers if self-employed.)
Time after time, managers reward people whose skills and talents come packaged with self confidence. These people are the most difficult to replace, but they also make the most money.
Once you understand this little-known definition, it will help you realize that not having enough money is actually a problem of not having enough confidence.
I hope you’re starting to realize why it is so important to realize the connection between not having money and not having confidence.
If you are struggling financially in your marriage, instead of wasting your effort by arguing about it, try working on building your confidence instead. I guarantee if you do this successfully, money will no longer be an issue in your marriage.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your parents did not inspire you to be confident during the first ten years of your life, you will most likely struggle with confidence throughout your lifetime unless you learn where confidence actually originates.
Only then can you transform your insecurity into confidence.
And that is exactly why I wrote the book Softhearted Woman Hard World. After trying to figure out how to improve my self-esteem during the most difficult period of my life, (which happened to be the first 27 years of my marriage) I decided that I needed to document the methods I used so others can build their confidence as well.
I originally wrote this book for women, but I’ve found that more and more men have found it to be useful in understanding their wives. This book will not only help you improve your confidence, but it will also make a big difference in your marriage as well.
(Now that you now know what “money problems” REALLY are.)
1. Know Your Spouse’s spending Values…and Let Them Know Yours!
People have 2 different ways of handling money in their marriage. By SPENDING and by SAVING. Let’s start with the spenders.
These people SPEND for one of 2 reasons – “Buying love” – As sad as it is, these people spend money to get other people to like and accept them. They can also buy things to feel good inside emotionally.
“If I can’t...you can’t” – These people buy things to get back at their spouse. They try to spend money as fast as they can…before their spouse has a chance to spend it.
Now let’s look at the SAVERS. There are 2 reasons that people save…
“It’s Only a Matter of Time…” – These people look for every possible way to save as much money as they can. Their accounts are stuffed with cash, but rather than feeling comfortable and secure, they always fear that the worst is yet to come. Only a constant growing pile of cash can protect these people from this “upcoming disaster”.
“The Empire Builders” – These people are putting cash away because they see their future empire as a source of satisfaction. They have no problem with spending money because every expense is a carefully calculated transaction. They deny themselves pleasures now and then in order to build their assets for the future.
What value are you fighting for when you and your spouse argue over money?
Try to find ways to minimize the weaknesses of BOTH you and your spouse’s money habits.
Try to acknowledge each others’ differences and find a happy medium so you can avoid marriage troubles in the future.
2. Live for today….save for the future!
If you are planning on saving for the future, be sure to use 5-10% of your income for things you enjoy and look forward to TODAY. There is a real danger in living only for your future happiness.
3. Watch out for those credit cards
Credit cards can be very handy when you’re short on cash, but it is VERY easy to rack up thousands of dollars in a short amount of time. (Trust me on this one; I’ve made this mistake before!)
Once the amount on your credit card reaches the thousands, instead of paying off the balance, you’re stuck paying off the interest alone if you only pay the minimum amount each month.
4. Have a list of your dreams and goals you can share with each other
Everyone needs to have dreams or goals they can look forward to in the future. Make a list of goals that you and your spouse can share. When your partner reaches one of their dreams or goals, you can celebrate because you’re in this together.
Look at your realistic dreams and goals on a regular basis to stay on the right track.
5. Each of you must have money to spend as you wish
If you follow ANY of these tips, make sure it is this one. As an adult, you should not have to ask for an allowance or justify every little transaction. Determine in advance how much money each of you can spend in any way you want…no questions asked.
Spenders can spend the money and savers can save it…WITHOUT being hassled by the other partner.
When you follow these tips and remember what you're REALLY fighting about, you’ll be able to rid your marriage of the guilt and blame that has been holding you back from getting the marriage you’ve always wanted.
If you REALLY want to overcome the money problems in your marriage and make this marriage a success, you MUST understand the CRITICAL role that you and your spouse’s values take on in your marriage. Once you do, conflicts can be resolved quickly, with no hard feelings on either side.
To learn all about what values are and where they came from in your own life, watch the video titled "Why You Fight: The REAL Reason Couples End Up In Conflict They Can't Control" here.
This vital piece of information will help you not only discover what will make your marriage a success, but it will help you shape your children’s future and ensure their happiness and success as well.