“An imperfect journey to creating a happy life.” That’s what I write about on this blog and one of the imperfect parts of my journey in life has been the trials that my husband and I have faced in our marriage related to finances. Since the economy crashed in 2008, we have struggled with a failing business, loss of income, and living paycheck to paycheck. Last year we sold our home of eight years on a short sale and moved into a rental.
I know people who have gone through much harder things financially and I think there are some couples who are simply in denial. Even if you have a good income, finances will affect your relationship. I heard the other day that 89% of divorces can be traced back to financial problems. There is no doubt that money issues can rip a couple apart.
Fortunately, I can tell you that dealing with money issues can also bring you closer together. As I look back on the challenges that Tim and I have had with money I can honestly say that the financial struggles have been a good thing for our marriage. Financial stress doesn’t have to mean divorce.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We don’t have a perfect marriage and we have worked through A LOT of issues. It’s been a bumpy ride sometimes, but even with the money issues, I am still pretty stoked to be married to my husband.
I’ve thought a lot about why we are not part of the divorce rate related to finances. I think there are two key things, which go hand in hand, that have made all the difference for us.
I cannot emphasize enough how key communication is to getting through financial crisis with your marriage in tact. I mentioned before that we did work through a lot of issues. Every time we had a problem it always had to do with not communicating with each other.
When our financial struggles began, we owned our own business, which means we did not have a regular, steady income. I hated not knowing when I would have money to pay bills and Tim dreaded when I asked for money and he didn’t have it. Fortunately, we came up with a solution that was perfect for helping us to communicate about money on a regular basis.
A Weekly Financial Meeting
We were at a breaking point and something had to change. I got an idea while listening to the Dave Ramsey Show and we started having a meeting that I affectionately call the “weekly financial powwow.”
We scheduled in time every Sunday night to talk about our finances. We never spent more than 15 minutes and that small amount of time together made all the difference in our marriage.
We weren’t perfect at holding our little powwow, and when we didn’t do it I would look up on a Wednesday and wonder why the heck we were fighting or why we were frustrated or why we were not communicating. The contention always went back to the fact that we hadn’t talked on Sunday night about our money.
I believe that our little Sunday night powwows saved our relationship.
We aren’t fighting with each other. We aren’t hiding our spending. We are a team. We are united in facing the challenge. Talking about money hasn’t made our financial difficulties go away and it hasn’t created a perfect marriage, but it has helped us to communicate and be happy despite the struggles.
Whether you are in financial crisis or not, communicating with your spouse about money can help you be happier in your relationship. It will be hard at first, but the end results are so worth it.
If you aren’t already doing it, I hope you will give a weekly financial meeting with your spouse a try. I would love to hear how it goes for you.
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