When it comes to love, we’ve all heard the saying – opposites attract, must have something in common and people gravitate to the type of person they want to be like etc. And it’s fascinating the right answer can be all of the above when talking about a relationship.
But when it comes to couple finances, one thing for sure is, being financially incompatible or out of sync is a train wreck waiting to happen. Not just for your finances, but also for your marriage. Because there isn’t much that causes more strain in a relationship than constant money arguments, distrust and secrets.
No wonder money tops the charts for the leading cause of divorce, even above infidelity!
So for the preservation of your marriage, and your sanity, we should be constantly looking out for signs that suggest we are out of sync financially in our relationships so we can quickly make the necessary changes to get back on track.
So how can you tell if you and your prospective mate or spouse are out of sync? Or that the anxiety you feel about your financial situation is more than just in your head?
1. You’re cutting back but your hunny is ‘cutting a rug!’
Your spouse is making ‘fun’ purchases while you have been sacrificing every penny you earn, and picking up every penny you find on the street, to build up the emergency fund.
2. You’re making plans … by yourself.
You are ready to buy a house, and he wants to do anything/everything else (buy a new car, get out of debt, keep renting).
3. Your spouse wants to talk finances, and you want to exit
Your spouse might be eager to have the finance conversation, but every time they bring it up you want to find the nearest exit.
4. You fear debt like the plague, and he’s got lots of it … and doesn’t mind
If you are working your butt off to try and get out debt, but your hubby has loads of debt, and doesn’t mind and/or isn’t working to pay it down.
5. You don’t trust your spouse’s financial decisions
If you can’t fathom the idea of leaving your hunny to pay the mortgage because you think he’ll screw it up or spend the money on something unnecessary.
6. You are finding unexpected unpaid bills
If you are finding unpaid bills or final notices in the mail when you thought all your expenses were covered.
If you (or your spouse) agreed to one or all of the feelings then there needs to be some plan to address the financial discrepancies.
So what do you do now?
Time for a talk.
It’s not fun having a ‘Come to Jesus’ talk with your honey. And I can understand if you might want to avoid it altogether.
It’s like seeing someone driving like a psycho and you just want to change lanes, slow down, come off the highway, basically do anything to get out of their path so you don’t get sucked into their world. But this is your honey, the person you love. And it’s your life and your money so we can’t mess this up.
But there is some good news.
Getting back in sync only takes 1 thing…
A money date!
A money date is a time and place where you take the opportunity to focus on your money situation with no distractions to vie for your attention.
You make a plan for at least an hour of undisturbed quiet time where you can talk. Hang out in the living room without the tv off or a restaurant – my hunny and I prefer to hang out on the back porch in the evening – or any place you feel comfortable to discuss your finances. As long as you won’t have any rugrats to distract you, or anything else to prevent your undivided attention, you can do whatever you like.
And talk about your money! Your financial goals, where you are now, how you need to get there.
Don’t forget your feelings too – Your anxiety and fears about money, what’s your money mindset etc.
There is no hard or fast way of doing a money date, as longs as you talk about your money as a couple.
Sure marriages and relationships are about love and feelings, but it also includes finances. And it’s complicated and messy. You can fall out of sync with them just as quickly as losing intimacy in a relationship if you don’t work at it.
Our hope in this series on relationships and money is to get couples thinking about the not so fun and cute side of relationships and approach it with eyes open, honesty and truth with each other. Helping us recognize when there is a problem and ways to resolve it.