Relationship Help: Talk Money Before Marriage

November 18, 2011 by

One of the top reasons that couples seek relationship help is money. In fact, it’s common to have one partner that’s frugal and one that would rather enjoy the money they have, which will naturally lead to problems.

In a 2010 survey, one third of all married people surveyed reported lying about money to their spouses. One third! It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this kind of behavior can lead to arguments, a lack of trust, and even divorce. If you don’t know how to be honest with your spouse about money or believe that your significant other is hiding money matters, you need to seek relationship help. But there’s an even better way to deal with these issues…

Relationship Help: Discuss Your Financial Heritage

As a Portland marriage counselor, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to open up about your financial past. It’s an incredibly personal, intimate thing, especially if you’ve suffered any financial setbacks like declaring bankruptcy. But if you are going to marry someone, these are things that they need to know, and if you aren’t honest with your partner about them now, they’re going to find out eventually when, say, you apply for a mortgage on a home.

Beyond even these larger potential skeletons, the two of you need to know how your parents brought you up financially and what your beliefs about money are. If one of you is a spendthrift while the other hoards every penny, it’s better to find that out as early as possible so that a compromise can be found. How will you handle saving for retirement? For your kids’ education? Even for things like that 50” flat screen you both want?

As with anything else in a relationship, how you handle money as a couple is going to have to be something you come to a mutual agreement on, and sacrifices will need to be made on both sides. Or, even if you plan to keep your finances completely separate, as some couples do, that needs to be decided upon as well rather than something a husband stumbles upon in his wife’s records come tax time.

You don’t have to go through this field of potential landmines alone. Talk to a qualified Portland marriage counselor for relationship help. Or better yet, attend our Money Habitudes Workshop™ on January 28th!