Over the years, I have heard so many different reasons why couples argue and fight. Most, if not all couples, have had an argument at some point in the marriage, and if you have not, congrats – you’re the only ones!
Arguments and fights happen, and it is OK. I have noticed the arguments that tend to happen over and over again for couples stem from one or more of 10 key areas. Over the next 10 weeks, I’m going to highlight these areas that most often cause fights and arguments and ways to begin to change the conversations surrounding them.
So first, can you guess the most common area couples fight about?
Money tends to be one of the hardest areas for individuals and couples alike to talk about. It can be so hard to sit down and look at finances and spending habits that couples will go years without ever talking about money.
Often couples fall into one of two camps:
- Couples that just check the bank account once in a while or look at the bills when they get paid (if they get paid), and don’t look further.
- One partner does all of the banking and the other one just doesn’t ask or even look at the bank account.
Do one of these sound like you and your partner? No matter which rings true for a couple, fights about money happen for a variety of reasons. One person may spend too much while one person does not spend at all. One wants to save, one wants to spend. One wants to buy new and more things, the other one is happy with what they already have. If left unchecked all of these little spending habits can erupt into a huge argument!
Tips for Having the “Money” Talk
There are different ways of looking at and talking about spending habits and money management systems as a couple:
Make the time to talk. My first recommendation is always to sit down at a mutually agreed upon time and look at your finances together. It doesn’t matter if you are newly engaged or married for 50 years – sit down and identify what comes in and what goes out on a monthly basis.
Be honest. As we often hear: marriage and relationships are about compromise and honesty. The reason you’ll hear this so often is because it’s true! So, be honest and tell each other what you want to purchase and why it is important to each of you. Couples who are intentional about talking about what they want to spend their money on are more likely to be open in other areas of life.
Listen and collaborate. After listening to what is important to each other, work together to develop a plan for spending based on what is important to each of you. For some couples, this means having separate accounts so they can spend their money how they want and contribute equally to the bills that are due. Other couples each take an allowance of spending money for a week or 2 weeks and then can spend the money how they see fit.
Seek out additional resources. There are tons of resources to help guide you in your money conversations. Some of my favorites are Naked and Unashamed-10 Conversations Every Couple Must Have and Money Talks: The Ultimate Couple’s Guide to Communicating About Money.
If you are still having a hard time with getting a handle on your finances, you can seek out a financial planner to help.
A couples counselor can also help you minimize defensiveness and guide you on having upfront and honest conversations about money.
If you find you and your spouse always arguing about money, it’s OK – you are not alone! Again, this all boils down to communication and honesty. We are more afraid of talking about money than we need to be. It can take some practice, but truly, it is not painful to be honest about your finances!
Until next time – live truly, love fully!