Many financial experts and budget holders, accountants and financial solution providers and billionaires struggle with handling money in their relationship, as well as those of us who lack financial skills and knowledge! With the expertise and financial planning instruments that help grow organisations assets and set up much seamless payment and money receiving agents, we must wonder why these financial experts still struggle with money and love as much as some without any financial acumen!
I want to expose why couples fight over money because usually, it is not about a lack of funds.
I want to expose why couples fight over money because usually, it is not about a lack of funds. Budgeting skills, saving prowess, future investment are all technical, financial actions; they can guarantee healthy financial planning, but they fall short of creating financial stability in homes. Many of us believe that most couples “fight” about money, but the truth is sneakier and more profound, something every husband and wife needs to evaluate.
There are 24 love and money points of tension identified by research conducted and listed by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn in their book “thriving in love and money, which is the inspiration for this blog. Please get the book; it will significantly transform your money troubles.
Many of us believe that most couples “fight” about money, but the truth is sneakier…
When I looked through the list, one could immediately identify these underlying issues couples struggle with a lot. Ironically, some couples would disagree that these are the reasons behind their fight over money matters in the marriage.
Most couples focus on the money or lack of it, thinking that is the root of the problem, yet the source has more to do with the individual state of mind towards their spouse. I know couples who earn less money and happily plan their finances, whereas other couples who make more money struggle to meet their household needs.
Resentment and anger top the list of love and money tension points between couples when they fight over money.
Resentment and anger top the list of love and money tension points between couples when they fight over money. One spouse is saying in their mind – “Why do I have to be on a budget when we have plenty of money?” While the other spouse is saying – Why won’t they realise how tight things are?” Then based on the resentment towards their spouse, one will withhold money, and another may want to get more money. There starts the money tension and fights, when resentment overpowers love in a relationship, we will find arguments and fights.
Another tension point between couples fighting over money is frustration and irritation, which is rooted in their minds and expressed as – “Why don’t you see things the way I see things?” Yet two people may look at the same thing and not see it the same way. One person sees a half-filled glass as half-full, and another may see it as half-empty. Both are seeing it from their perspective. Yet imagine one person so hung up on their views and trying to prove the other person wrong or punish them for their opinions. That’s some of the reasons for relationship troubles, a rigid and myopic mindset refuses to be flexible or accepts other people’s points of view; it is dangerous indeed.
Yet two people may look at the same thing and not see it the same way.
Another tension point is “mismatch of impulsive tendency”. I am sure we know people who sees a thing, a bargain, and want to buy it immediately. What comes to their mind is ” I want to grab that” . They may have a partner who is a planner, he will probably think, “but I don’t have to get this now”. In his mind, when the partner reaches out to get an item impulsively, he may have thought, “but we didn’t plan for that”. The danger in a mismatch of impulsive tendency is the thoughts that we allow to prevail and the following actions. For example, an impulsive person might think a planner is no fun, party popper etc., whereas a planner thinks well, I have mastery over my impulses. Thought and actions lead to superiority, disdain on the part of one spouse, actions and thoughts that reveal things like, “you don’t live in the real world”, “I know how to handle money better”, “I’m not wasteful like you” “everything isn’t crisis” and “we really don’t need this right now”. Meanwhile, the other spouse is feeling judged and condescended. They may also harbour ill feelings because they have been misunderstood.
The danger in a mismatch of impulsive tendency is the thoughts that we allow to prevail and the following actions.
Now how should couples avoid getting into this money trouble? We can learn to thrive in love and money if as a couple we are willing to apply the high leverage solutions. Over three years, a research team found out three intertwined actions will ensure those money tensions points are diffused and couples can thrive in love and money.
- Build cushion for discretionary purchases – couples can have an allowance for any miscellaneous that may come up and allow your spouse and yourself to meet your needs without worrying or feeling judged. Be flexible in your approach, and both spouses must avoid extremes. If you are an impulsive buyer, you can learn to defer and if you are an acute save, please, by all means, learn to respond to your impulse sometimes. Having miscellaneous will not impact the planned money.
- Couples must be comfortable talking about money without tensions and stress. Make it easy to communicate; transparency will allow you and your spouse to speak openly without any suspicion. Can you open your bank details to your spouse? When my children ask for over and above what I can afford, I bring my accounts up and show them; they quickly say, oh mum; we can buy that next time. I have, on many occasions, printed my bank statements and handover to my partner. If there is nothing to hide, we must be able to lay it bare.
- What is underneath how we and our partner respond to money? – this is the crucial aspect that will enable couples to execute the first two points well. Can we try and understand how we react to money? What is driving how you and your partner view money and spending money? This may be an excellent starting point of discussion.
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I am a certified SYMBIS ASSESSMENT facilitator, and I would love to help you start your marriage right if you are getting married soon. If you are already married, I can also help you enrich your marriage by helping you and your partner understand how your personalities mesh. Saving Your Marriage Before IT Starts (SYMBIS) is a research-based questionnaire that couples take individually. We will generate a comprehensive report which I will help you unpack as your facilitator.
Research has shown that the couple who took the assessment reduced the divorce rate by 31%, saving one-third of couples whose marriage could have ended in divorce. Still, because they took the assessment, they were well prepared and avoided pitfalls while maximising the full potential of their relationships.
Would you mind clicking the link below to learn more about SYMBIS and how you can take the assessment and start enjoying your marriage? Take Symbis Assessment
Over 1,000,000 couples and 100,000 pastors and counsellors cannot be wrong: SYMBIS is the most widely used pre-marital assessment in existence. SYMBIS+ is excellent for already married couples.
What SYMBIS does is nothing short of revolutionary – Gary Chapman author of The Five Love Languages
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Abi Apalara loves sharing insightful information that helps couples flourish in life and their marriage relationship. I have enjoyed both good marital pleasures and challenging times in my marriage. I came to realise, the points where I missed it, were areas I lacked information on how to.
Making it up along the way, only meant I was going the wrong way. Desperately seeking to get back into marital bliss, I started exploring and reading about those areas of challenge. I also reached out to counselors and began to see what I was missing.
After a surprising move into relationship study, I have found peace of mind and happy with my marriage. I have authored the book Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus realty to share my experience and encourage men and women to work on their
marriages, by seeking knowledge and apply it to their marriage relationship.
My latest book, Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus reality focuses on discovering some of the unrealistic expectations we bring into a marriage. It comes with practical advice and a guide on how to get it right before and after getting married. You can also preorder the book here