During my assessment phase while working with couples, when asked what they argue about most often, I hear similar responses associated with MONEY! A 2017 study completed by Ramsey Solutions found that money is, indeed, the top issue that lead to conflict. What specifically triggers frustration and stress? Recognizing what these stressors are and facing them in healthy ways, couples can bring peace and unity back into their marital relationships. The three top stressors are: A) living above your means, B) living without financial margin C) living with the wrong attitude.
Living above your means:
To live within your financial means appears to be a simple concept, however when you have one or both partners accustomed to excess spending habits from their upbringing, this can become a significant issue that leads to perpetual conflict. Arguments typically arise on ‘how do we pay our bills’? Keeping a budget may seem too restrictive, however, there could be a healthy balance between saving and spending. The most important factor in making this change is to choose the partner whose strength is in balancing a budget. A great rule of thumb is to give first, save second, and then spend.
Living without financial margin:
For a married couple to begin living with a financial margin, it’s imperative to identify and understand the opportunities available with a savings account. What are your future goals and what are the financial steps to get there? If you are struggling about where to start, begin with building up your emergency savings. After meeting this goal, work on saving enough to cover one month of living expenses. Investing in this way would ensure that you had enough financial means to endure life’s storms and economic challenges.
Living with the wrong attitude:
It has been reported by many of the couples that I have seen that financial arguments exists because of their different goals and values. Often money becomes an identity = equates to success. We want others to know something about us by what we do with our money. When individuals take the time to view money from an eternal perspective, it provides a time to evaluate whether a couple have been faithful with their resources. Here's something to live by: God is the owner of your money so it’s not how much of your money should you give to God, but how much of God’s money should you spend on yourself? Thinking like this will likely change everything for you and bring financial unity between you and your spouse.
I encourage you to spend time with your spouse and have a healthy conversation about the changes you both would like to make towards a healthier lifestyle keeping God in the forefront of your decisions!