Is debt ruining your marriage?

Couple is upset, probably because they aren't on a budget and they're fighting about money.
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Sweet marital bliss. That’s what’ we’re all aiming for. Wouldn’t it be nice if those lovely feelings from the wedding day lasted forever?

For the couple that is striving for such a fairy tale, it may or may not surprise you to know that money stress can be holding you back from happily ever after. There are some alarming statistics about personal finance that hit marriage specifically.

  • 41% of people fight with their spouse when they talk about money*
  • Money is the number one issue married couples argue about.*
  • 86% of couples who got married in the last five years started out in debt.*
  • Money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity.*
  • 31% of married folks have a credit card or debt their spouse doesn’t know about*

Do any of these ring true for you? These fights or stress or hidden figures may be once and a while or they may permeate your marriage. You’re not alone. It is, as you can see, all too common. The really good news is there is a clear, sure fire way forward. Perhaps you weren’t equipped with the tools or language to deal with money, especially when adding another human to the equation. Please know that you are officially, completely and totally normal.

Normal isn’t good enough.

We want to help you! We believe in you, we believe in your marriage and we really want to help you. Here are some tips. And, scroll to the bottom if you’re interested in financial coaching.

How to solve it:

  • Rip the bandaid. If you can both agree to get everything out on the table without fear and with grace, then let’s do that. Most of the time, things look worse than they are. Avoiding looking at the actual numbers can let your brain and imagination go on overdrive. What makes matters worse is you & your anxiety are trapped in a no-solution, vicious cycle. Putting everything on the table gives you and your money nowhere to hide-but that’s a good thing. Once you “rip the bandaid” and get everything out on the table, you’ll feel so much better because it’s not bottled up inside, it’s not a mystery and you can begin to make a plan forward. That’s where the magic of hope starts to breed.
  • Set goals. When you got married, you had dreams and plans and hopes for your future together as a couple. Life can bog us down and keep up from staying excited and hopeful like we once were. Money can begin to only be associated with stress. However, if you set goals and really talk about your future and dreams together, you can revive that lust for life you had and you can start to change the attitude and baggage that is associated with money. You will be amazed at how setting a goal and working toward it together can revitalize your marriage.

“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”

– Fawn Weaver
  • Get on a budget. Well, you knew this one was coming. But once you’ve faced the music and set goals as a couple, it’s time to put your. money where your mouth is. Match your money to your goals and give every dollar a job. In your budget, you should first tithe if God calls you to it, then cover the four walls (food, housing, transportation) and then your other wants (phones, internet, restaurants, gym, Netflix, etc). Be sure you include your debt payments and other obligations. Be sure you include your goals (is it getting debt free, is it saving for the first family vacation, is it finally saving ahead of time for Christmas so you don’t fight about how much to spend on the kids?)
  • Add spending money as a line item. This is probably the most sacred budget item for the marriage. This gives each person the ability to spend some money on whatever they want without any guilt or commentary. This is so important for each person, do not miss it. Sometimes w are inclined to skip this one because our goals and dreams seem so much more important. However, you work hard and should see at least some fruit of that in your day-to-day life. We also know from experience that if we DO NOT set this money aside, couples will steal from other categories. Finally, it is an important step to changing your relationship with money. It helps you to not FEEL broke while also building on the habit of planning and paying cash for things!
  • Sinking funds! Once you’ve cast a vision for the big things in your life you want to fund, let’s start figuring out how we’re going to fund them. Nothing motivates you more than knowing you’re actually saving for your dreams and bucket list items!
  • Don’t talk about money expect at the monthly/weekly budget meetings. There is typically one spouse who wants to talk about money more than the other. Or there may be one spouse who is more motivated than the other and, in good faith, wants to talk about it all day, every day. But don’t! Instead, relegate all discussion about money / debt to your budget meetings. This is especially important in the beginning of your journey of budgeting / getting out of debt. You will reduce fighting by not trying to get something across to your spouse as they are walking out of the door or in the other room. It will also ensure you’re both mentally prepared and ready to discuss all things money. Finally, it will ensure anyone who is anxious about money that they can be “free” from having to talk about it for a while. It’s just a best practice.

Ideal Balance is The Life Coaching Facility in Navarre, Florida that focuses on Fitness, Family & Finance. We help our clients create the discipline & habits they need to strip off what’s holding them back from living the life God created them to live. We work with clients in 1-on-1 sessions in person, virtually and in small groups. We offer life coaching, financial coaching, health coaching. We also offer personal training and home organization locally here in Navarre, Florida. Fill out the information below if you’re interested in our help and we will contact you.

One response to “Is debt ruining your marriage?”

  1. […] 41% of people fight with their spouse when they talk about money* […]

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