When I first got married, my wife and I did a lot of premarital counseling. We wanted to make sure our marriage would work. We didn’t want to be another statistic.
Everyone who was married told us that there would be two things that you will dominate in your fights: money and sex.
I though okay, great. Good to know. Except, I didn’t want to fight. I wanted to know how we could just avoid fighting about money. Most premarital counselors and “marriage experts” taught us how to fight, but not how to avoid fighting.
This is interesting. Why do so many people spend their time teaching married couples, and those in long-term relationships, the proper way to fight — don’t raise your voice, respect each other, etc.
We should start teaching couples how to avoid fighting. When couples do the work required to make a marriage successful, they don’t need to know how to fight.
I had to learn all of this through trail and error. My wife and I fought about money. But through the experience I learned there are four types of couples when it comes to money.
Here are the four types of couples. While you read it, try to find the one that fits your marriage. Understanding this can go a long way in helping you correct financial problems in your marriage.
Couple #1: The Perfect Couple
Consider yourself lucky if you fall under this category. You likely don’t fight about money at all — either because you have a lot of money or you are really good at budgeting.
If you fall under this category, you are a rare minority. They have somehow naturally solved the money problem that exists in many marriages. Most money problems occur when couples do not have enough money for all of the things they want to do.
The perfect couple has enough money for the things they care about. I am not going to spend too much time talking about this couple, since they are pretty good when it comes to money. For most of us, we will fall under one of the next three types of couples.
Couple #2: The Apathetic Couple
My wife and I were this type of couple. We both didn’t really care about money. We spend to stay within our budget, but we also don’t like to track every penny. We can only do this because we make enough now. But when we got married I had to keep a budget.
My budget was so complex. It took me about an hour every single week to record all of our purchases and income. Then I would have to decide what we can spend for the next week. I spent hours every month doing the budget, while my wife took no part in the planning.
I resented it because I didn’t really want to be doing it. I just knew it needed to get done. It made me feel like she didn’t care about the money. We had a lot of “discussion” about how she needs to be more involved.
After about two years, I built an automatic financial system. It paid my bills automatically, kept track of my budget, and recorded my income. I used the budgeting program called Learnvest.
Life, and marriage, became a lot more simple.
If you, or your spouse, doesn’t care about money, then start building automatic systems. Decrease the time and effort it takes to keep track of your money. It is difficult to make people care about money. Most people never will.
Couple #3 : The Aggravators
I hear a lot of stories about spouses who overspend. Their partner blows way past the budget — if they even have one. They buy and often find themselves in massive debt. If I had a nickle for all of the stories I have heard about a spouse who blows a bunch of money on junk, but then can’t pay the mortgage bill, well I would have a nice bank account.
There are various reasons why you, or your spouse, might overspend. A majority of them are related to how you view money. A vast majority of money problems come from addictions such as drugs, porn, alcohol, etc. To stop overspending, it is important to do an addiction check.
Is there anything in your life that is taking all of your money, but isn’t really returning any value on your life?
The other reason you might be overspending is because you are accustomed to a certain lifestyle. You want to be perceived in a certain way. Seeking status is normal. It has helped us survive all of these years, but it doesn’t have a place in our modern society.
If your fall under this couple, then you want to work through your money mindsets. Ask yourself questions like this:
- Why do I buy item X? What am I trying to get out of it?
- How does money make me feel? Good, bad, guilty, etc.?
Couple #4 The Allowancers
This one of the hardest situations in a marriage. It causes a lot of strife – a lot. For whatever reason, if you are this couple, you like to keep your finance separate.
You give your spouse a weekly allowance. Typically, the husband gives the wife a weekly allowance. She has to buy everything needed on a tiny amount of money, while the husband spends on himself and gives himself financial freedom.
The spouse who controls all of the money has control issues. This is not a situation couples can fix overnight. This will take hard work and the controlling spouse has to be willing to work it out. If you find yourself in this situation, I would recommend seeking professional help.
People who have control issues have deep issues from their childhood. If professional help doesn’t work, then the only solution is for you to start earning more money. Stay-at-home-moms can start a side-business or do something to get some extra cash.
If you are lucky to not fight about money in your marriage, then you are pretty rare. Most people fall into one of the three other categories.
Do not worry though. Rather than teaching you how to fight and communicate about money, I think it can be prevented by controlling the triggers. It comes down to two simple things: Simplifying your finances and earning more money.
What couple best fits your marriage?