Money is one of the leading topics of marital arguments, and it’s not surprising. We each have a money style – a collection of feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that we learned from our parents and other significant people in our lives. When two people make a commitment together, these money styles can clash. How they come together determines whether the result will be frustration or teamwork.

So how do you tell when disagreements are just difference in money styles, and when they are creating a serious problem in a relationship? Here are five things to look at.

1.Communication. Couples with different money styles can talk things over. It might not always be comfortable, but they can usually find some common ground. If instead you find your self arguing about spending, saving, and budgeting, then you may have a money problem.

2.Feelings. Money is a resource, a way to trade what you do for what you need. Money has only the meaning we give it. So if you find yourself feeling afraid, guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed, you may have a money problem.

3.Openness. Couples with different money styles can negotiate their differences. If you finding yourself keeping secrets about what you spend or what you owe, you may have a money problem.

4.Patterns. Sometimes people buy things they don’t need, or regret a purchase. But if overspending, increasing debt, and “workaholism” are patterns in your relationship, you probably have a money problem.

5.Control. Making a budget and sticking to it are key skills for every couple. Can you hold off on spending when you don’t have the cash? If you can’t agree with your partner and stick to your budget, you may have a money problem.

How to Resolve Money Conflicts

Talk. Share your feelings about your financial dreams and goals, and also about your past. How was money handled in your family? Where did you learn your money patterns? The more you and your partner share, the more deeply you will understand each other, and the more you will be able to work together around money.

Learn. You have mastered many things in your life, and you can master money management. Start by learning where your money goes now. Develop a saving strategy, and increase the amount you save each month until you reach your goal. Read about investment strategies, find one that works for you, and start small.

Plan. Together with your partner, create a vision of what you want your life to be like. Set a few specific goals, and write them down -- people are much more likely to meet goals that are in writing. Decide what resources you will need to meet those goals. Then create a budget, track expenses, and design action steps.

Evaluate. Track the progress you make, and post the results in a place where you can see them. Update your goals together every month.

Get help when you need it. Read some of the excellent books on managing finances,such as the two recommended to the right. If emotions are keeping you from managing your money effectively, a Couples Counselor can help. Counseling can help you talk about money respectfully, create a vision of the life you want together, help you balance work and family life, help you be more aware of the money choices you make, and help you stick to the financial plans you make.

If you work together to solve your money problems, then you can honor each other’s money style. When you do, you’ll find that despite your different viewpoints, you can work as a team. You might even end up with more money as a result.

Author's Bio: 

Do you want to feel the joy of a deep connection with your partner? Maybe you’ve been arguing a lot, or hide your needs to avoid starting a fight. Maybe you disagree about sex, parenting, or money. Perhaps you are facing the trauma of an affair, or worry that the two of you are growing apart. But deep down you long for your relationship to work.

Dr. LaDouceur help couples make changes in relationships, using a research-backed approach to marriage therapy that has helped 85% of couples improve their relationships. Step-by-step, you learn skills tailored to your situation, and make the changes you want. You learn to disagree in ways that bring you closer, work as a team around money and parenting, and learn to support each other’s life dreams. Counseling services available to California residents only. Requests for article or newsletter topics welcome

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