The word couple refers to more than one; so, you’d be right to appreciate the differences and similarities between you and your partner.
While love may be the major reason why people choose to marry, it is not the only one. Each couple commits to marriage because it supports their dreams and values and serves their needs. Top among these is financial goals and needs, which means your partner can be your biggest asset or liability to your financial future.
To help start and set you off to better marital finances, here's the low-down on six top financial issues that end marriages.
Is it Mine? Yours? Ours!
It’s normal and expected for a couple to have different opinions on what their financial priorities, goals and habits should be. Problems arise mainly due to a lack of mutual agreement, for example, one wants to save for a new home, while their spouse prefers to save for a new car and a home is down the priorities list.
“To have and to hold from this day forward for better, for worse, …” remember this part in the marriage vows? That includes your spouse’s debt and all debt-related baggage.
It may look like a two-for-one solution for your debt woes but if your spouse is an impulse buyer, a gambler or lazy about their finance management - nothing’s solved
This is a revealing experience and often neither person’s fault.
When blind-sided by circumstances, like unplanned expensive house / car repairs, school fees increase and unexpected large medical bills, your best efforts are how to solve the problem.
Unfortunately, whether this breaks a relationship or strengthens a relationship depends on how well each spouse’s personality complements the other.
Tip: Though this specific challenge may be completely out of either person’s control, a couple has the option to take a step back before having a conversation and/or including a professional or unbiased party to mediate.
Dealing with family is a sensitive issue and you’re better off keeping all discussions open and cordial rather than leaving financial matters as a vague affair for everyone involved – before and after you get married.
For example, if your spouse financially supported their parents before you got married, the reasonable thing is not to expect them to abandon their parents. Instead, discuss how to protect your financial future while honouring their caregiver role to your in-laws
Tip: Include a financial planner / expert / mediator (no family relation); to provide unbiased views and solutions on how to co-manage finances that respect the goals, needs, and expectations each spouse has regarding their own family, in-laws and extended family members
Power play is the act of trying to gain an upper hand by deliberately showing the other person you are more powerful than them.
Some examples of power play tactics in a relationship include deliberately delaying responses, ghosting, shaming, blaming, stonewalling, feigning disinterest and withdrawing affection or interest with no reason.
This leaves the other partner in a waiting or chasing role - such that they are forced to wait on the other partner to make decisions on their relationship when their needs remain unmet.
To really grasp how “power play” destroys relationships (marriage include), lets share some synonyms: uproar, seizure of power, turmoil, sabotage, tizzy, brawl, fuss, rebellion, coup, fracas - are just a few out of over fifty alternative words
So, how does one recognise “power play” as the problem?
Here are four scenarios that often lead to unconstructive damaging “power play” moves:-
A key conversation to have before marriage and continuously during your marriage is about each person’s finances, such as whether to keep your money separate (or) to open a joint account (or) have both options.
Learn more in this article on the benefits of opening a joint account with your spouse and find out whether that is the right option for you.
In the event that one spouse is for and the other is against – with the help of a financial-legal expert you can draft a modified division of assets agreement to suit your request as a couple
More factors exist that could end a marriage; nevertheless, as long as you are attentive and proactive, you will get to a suitable solution.
There is no magic wand… yet!