It can be hard enough to keep a marriage together when times are good, let alone surviving something as stressful as financial hardship. The stress of finances can lead to arguments, resentment, conflict and even divorce.
Below are a few tips for dealing with the stress of a financially strained marriage:
When you avoid talking about money, money problems only become worse. Talk to your spouse about all things to do with money. Financial stress causes everyone to become more sensitive and when we are feeling sensitive about a certain subject we may avoid discussions about that subject.
Just because you are feeling sensitive or overwhelmed does not mean you get a free pass from discussing your current financial situation with your spouse. Problems aren’t solved unless they are discussed and aired out.
- Make a Plan:
Set a budget and a time each week to sit down and discuss the budget. This will help you and your spouse stay focused on any possible problems with the new budget and resolving those problems.
- Share Financial Responsibilities:
Both spouses should be involved in marital finances. In this day and age, it normally takes two incomes to keep a family afloat financially. One spouse may earn a higher income than the other may but this does not mean that both are not equally responsible for making sure all financial responsibilities are met.
Sharing in the responsibilities equally keeps one spouse from feeling over-burdened which, in turn lessens stress that can negatively affect the marriage. So, if you are a stay at home mom or a working wife or husband whose income is the smallest please, don’t think you don’t bare as much financial responsibility to your marriage.
- Don’t Share Debt: Some may argue this point with me but in my opinion, spouses should keep their debts separate. The only debt you should have in common is a mortgage. Smaller debts acquired on items for each spouse should be in that spouse’s name alone.
- Have An Emergency Plan:
Stash come cash away for a rainy day. In today’s economy setting aside savings could be your saving grace should you or your spouse lose a job or have their work hours cut.
Make sure you have insurance that will cover all issues that arise should you have a car accident or damage to your home. Have a low deductible because the lower the deductible the less money out of your pocket should an emergency arise.
Doing this protects you from irresponsible actions by your spouse. If your husband has a tendency to buy lots of toys on credit, let him be the one responsible for paying off that debt. If your wife loves to shop for shoes and has a credit card for every department store in town, let her be responsible for those debts.
Not commingling credit card debt keeps down the stress of feeling responsible for someone else’s spending. It can also protect your individual credit score should your spouse be late on or not make payments on his/her debts.
In the end remember that as long as you have a roof over your head and food on the table, things may not be as bad as they seem. Be appreciative that you still have each other and be thankful that you can ride out the financial storm together. Take it from someone who knows, it is easier to navigate financial stress with someone than alone. Divorce will only make worse and already tense situation.