How to Achieve Financial and Matrimonial Harmony
I am willing to bet that if you are married you have, at one time or another, fought about money. Money really can ruin a marriage – and according to most experts – it’s the number one problem in marriage, and the number one cause of divorce.
When you get married it is a difficult task to merge two lives into one, but most of the compromises surround things like space or time. Money is something that is quantifiable, which makes it different.
One thing that you need to learn, know, and understand, is that everyone deserves and NEEDS some kind of financial independence. This does not have to mean that you each have access to hundreds of dollars every month – it could be as little as $5.00 The main thing to remember is that each and every month, each partner needs to have “their” money. This discretionary money can be saved, spent, or used to light their cigar.
Although having that financial independence really is paramount, another important factor to remember is that you must have accountability. This means not hiding your spending habits, living within the boundaries that you have both set, and consulting your spouse before purchasing a big ticket item.
If you don’t have a budget, you and your spouse need to sit down and set one up. It is very important that you are realistic about the money you actually have coming in each month, and what bills need to get paid. Do not forget the old adage – pay yourself first!
But what happens when you live in a single income family? How do you cope with some of the problems that may come up in that type of scenario? No matter which position you are in (whether you maintain the home, or you make money outside of the home) there must be equality among both partners.
I really do believe that there is an equal share of labour in situations such as these. (And if you think I’m wrong – trade places with your partner. The “work at home” partner will understand the amount of additional stress his/her partner undergoes every day, and the “work outside of home” partner will understand the amount of skill it takes to care for the kids, manage the house, and put that dinner on every day).
If you are not quite in the same thought pattern as I am, here are some tips and thoughts to help keep the harmony in the household.
1. Always try to consider how your partner feels in the situation. What’s it like for your partner to worry about having to bring in all the money? What is it like to have to ask your partner for money?
2. Just like the example above – each partner needs to have their own money. The amount of that money depends on the budget you have prepared and what is left over every month.
3. Both partners should be taking part in the bill paying process and the budget making.
4. Remember that without your partner doing what they are doing, YOU would be paying the price. Think of it like this: if you partner did not go out to work every day, the “stay at home” partner would have to find and pay for daycare in order to work outside of the home every day. And if the “stay at home” partner did not keep up their end of the situation, the partner who works outside of the home would have to work longer or harder in order to pay for someone to take over the duties of their partner at home. No matter how you look at the situation, remember that both partners contribute equal shares of work even if it isn’t the exact same type of work within the family. Although your co-worker doesn’t do the exact same job as you do, he/she is just as important as you.