Dealing with finances in marriage

Dealing with finances in marriage

Harold Mawela, a marriage counsellor and founder of Relation Ships or Sinks, offers advice on how to ensure money doesn’t cause division in your marriage.

Couple arguing about money
Couple arguing about money/ iStock

Many couples squabble over money. In fact, according to Ramsey Solutions, a leading company in financial education, money is one of the top reasons why people divorce.

Harold Mawela, a marriage counsellor, says this is because money is an essential part of our everyday lives. “Because of that significance, it is also a notorious cause of stress. The worst stress on earth is financial stress,” he says.

Because money is so important, Harold says couples need to have the same understanding of the role of money in their marriage and lives.

” When a couple fights, money is almost always part of that disagreement. It’s vital that you and your spouse get on the same page when it comes to money,” he says.

Although some people believe one should only open up about their finances after getting married, Harold disagrees. He says the talk needs to happen before you walk down the aisle and commit.

“Before walking down the aisle, you and your soon-to-be should have the money talk. It’s critical that you understand each other’s values on money. The talk isn’t always an easy conversation to have. However, these talks should be a priority, since poor money communication can lead to unhappiness in a marriage. Merging your finances and your lives may be challenging without a firm foundation. As difficult as the talks may be, each partner needs to bring honesty and realistic goals to the conversation,” he says.

“Many people find it difficult to discuss finances - usually because they’re embarrassed about debt, their spending habits, or income - but how can you expect to plan a future together if this topic never comes up?”

Harold says it is important to not only be completely honest with your spouse about your finances but to support each other in your struggles and have the same goal in mind.

“Speaking openly and honestly about money empowers a couple to set financial goals and to support each other in pursuit of those goals. Be honest, even if you struggle with basic money management and especially if you have a poor credit history or credit card debt. These are things your partner needs and deserves to know so that together, you can both carve a much better path forward,” he says.

“Build your marriage on a foundation of trust and open communication. Talk about major purchases and show respect to one another through the whole process,” says Harold.

He concludes that “remember that money is a great tool, but it’s not nearly as valuable as your marriage, so keep your priorities in check.”

READ: Are you comfortable sharing your finances with your partner?

Image courtesy of iStock/ JackF

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