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Financial Issues


Money is one of the most significant areas of potential conflict in marriage and is consistently among the top four reasons for divorce. Financial issues occur between couples across the economic spectrum from wealth to poverty. Having a lot of money is not a guarantee of happiness or ease of dealing with money.


Part of the real work of marriage involves making money and managing money. Couples who work together as a team and can reach agreement about financial matters are happier than couples who perpetually disagree about finances. Closely related to financial matters are two other important areas which couples must consider: career decisions and desired level of affluence/lifestyle. Career goals and attainment of material wealth can often be in conflict with relationship goals. What is most important to you and do the two of you agree about that? Do you think it's possible to "have it all"? A frank exploration of financial styles, expectations and goals is extremely important to marriage success.


Money means different things to different people. Financial attitudes often reflect one's most basic feelings about the world and are usually learned in one's culture and family of origin. Some people regard money as an important element in ensuring happiness, while others see it more as a way of ensuring security and a defense against fears. Some people are "savers"; others are "spenders". Some people feel discomfort just talking about money. Others are more open about money. Some people think being in debt is fine. Others are scared of debt. Status, security, freedom and control are just a few of the things people associate with money to different degrees.


Disagreements about money often reflect hidden issues between a couple. Money issues are seldom just about money. Financial matters can be a trigger for deeper issues in the following areas of a relationship:


Power and control
Dependence and independence


By exploring what money means to each of you and how its meaning influences your financial behavior, you can begin to sort out the role that money will play in your relationship. These issues are behind many more concrete differences concerning finances. Once you've come to terms with your feelings about money, it will be less difficult to make satisfactory financial plans and resolve financial problems. Advice about budgeting, credit problems, financial planning, etc., is relatively easy to find. It's your feelings and attitudes that are more primary.


References and Reading:


David Bach, Smart Couples Finish Rich. A values-oriented approach to financial issues.

Click here to learn more about or buy this book through our bookstore link.


MST pre-marriage preparation seminars are designed to help couples build the skills and understanding that they will need to succeed in marriage, including help to overcome all of the issues that challenge couples in modern marriage. MST is religion-neutral and based on the latest marriage research.


Don't wait for problems to emerge, take preventive action to promote the happiness and success of your marriage.


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Copyright 2003, Patricia S. & Gregory A. Kuhlman. You may copy this article for non-commercial use provided that no changes are made and this copyright notice, author credit and source citation are included.




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