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2013: For Richer or Poorer: How Not to Fight When Money Gets Tight

Coping when your family finances are falling off the fiscal cliff.

Studies show that the number one thing couples dread talking about is, no, not sex but -- money.   Other studies reveal that even though women are out there in the work force in record numbers, when they marry, they still tend to turn over the family finances to their husbands.  It’s time for women to realize that if they can bring home the bacon, they can certainly help decide what to do with it once it gets there. 

Money represents different things to each and every one of us.  This is part of the reason why we have so much trouble talking about it without fighting about it.  For some of us money means success.  For others, it represents security.  Still others associate it with power or the ability to feel in control.   Some others believe money is for saving, while others feel it’s for spending. Most definitely, money is a loaded issue, and that’s one thing we can all agree on. 

The arguments you and your husband have about money really revolve around the issue of how each of you views money.  If your husband is a “high risk-taking kind of guy,” and you’re the “keep the money in the bank type,” you and your husband are going to keep on fighting, until you come to some kind of compromise.  For instance, you might both agree not to invest any money you need for the immediate future, but you could allow him to take a greater risk with the money you’re both saving for retirement. 

If money was at the heart of many of your parents’ battles, even broaching this topic can make you feel like you’re entering a war zone.  For this reason, you may have dealt with this painful emotional issue by simply denying its very existence.  If you’ve been telling yourself that you’re taking the high road claiming that love has nothing to do with money, do think again.  The inability to resolve money differences ranks high on “the why I got a divorce list.” 

Use these tough economic times as a wake-up call for you and your husband to stop hiding your heads in the sand, and to start talking about your finances. 

You can begin by facing the cold fact that marriage is more than a love relationship. It’s also a business partnership. Many families are in financial ruin because one or both spouses weren’t honest about what they were doing with money.  They have been guilty of fiscal infidelity.

As a relationship coach, I am stunned by the number of my clients who have no idea how much their spouses make or how much debt their spouse has incurred. When questioned, these same clients are hiding the how and why of their financial situation as well. 

Ask yourself this question.  If you had a business partner, and you had no idea how much money your partner was taking from the business or how much debt this person was incurring, would you continue to keep this business partner?  More than likely you would dissolve this partnership.  As a society, we have to stop thinking what we or our spouses don’t know can’t hurt us.  Money secrets, lies, and omissions have destroyed many a marriage.

The time has come for couples to start airing their financial dirty laundry.  Come clean with what’s going on, and stop sheltering each other from harsh financial realities.  Stop blaming and screaming at each other, and start talking -- dollars and sense.  Agree to strategies and to not dwell on the past. Approach the topic of family finances as two equal business partners sharing ideas and plans. 

See this as a test of for better or worse and richer and poorer.  Recognize that your family is a financial unit.  Commit to the family business, and do your part to keep things afloat.

Cindi Sansone-Braff, is “The Romance Whisperer,” and the author of Grant Me a Higher Love: How to Go from the Relationship from Hell to One that’s Heaven Sent by Scaling The Ladder of Love.  Visit her web site at: www.grantmeahigherlove.com.

Contact info: phone-- 631-475-4266.  Email -- cindibella1@yahoo.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Samantha Paitakis January 02, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Great article! Money was a big part of the problem leading to my divorce. I would suggest people go through some sort of financial counseling as a couple before they get married... .it would probably lead to the increase of couples staying married for the long haul in this country.
Beth January 02, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Very well said!

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