Oregon Marriage Counselor: Money Is a Leading Cause of Relationship Problems

March 22, 2012 by

Oregon Marriage Counselor: Money Is a Leading Cause of Relationship Problems

As a Bend, Oregon marriage counselor, I know just how many relationships fall by the wayside due to arguments over money, and it’s not a pretty picture. The worst part is that “having money problems” doesn’t necessarily mean that a couple is struggling financially – some of my most well-off clients also suffer from relationship problems because they, too, argue over money. It isn’t about how much you have – much like other relationship problems, it’s about fear and a lack of communication.

An Oregon Marriage Counselor Discusses Ways Money Causes Arguments

Why is money such a volatile issue? Because the way that we deal with our finances is a highly personal thing, often learned in childhood from our parents. There are all kinds of money matters that can cause a couple to fight

  • Too little – When money is scarce, everyone’s stress levels rise.
  • Too much – Believe it or not, I’ve had Oregon marriage counselor clients come in because they can’t agree how excess money should be spent.
  • Wastefulness vs. Miserliness – If one person is always buying things without thinking about it and the other wants to save every dime, conflict is inevitable.
  • Lying – Some people hide money from their significant other, either out of habit or actual mistrust; whatever the reason, it always causes relationship problems.

You Can Overcome Money Conflicts, Says Oregon Marriage Counselor

If each person honestly discussed their needs and point of view and worked with the other, they’d discover that a lot of money problems disappear. My advice to solve your relationship problems is this:

Budget. Sit down, put all of your monetary cards on the table, and hammer out your monthly expenses together. Be willing to listen when your spouse labels golf club membership or weekly beauty salon visits as a necessity, but be realistic about everything. Spending more in one area means spending less in another.

Compromise. If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, find the mid-point where you’re both happy. Many couples create automatic savings deductions from their budget, but also include an “overflow” or “miscellaneous” fund to spend on whatever you want. Both amounts might be lower than each of you hoped, but you’ll both be getting something.

Talk it out. Because our financial behaviors are so deeply ingrained, they can be hard to explain, much less change, but you have to try. You might be surprised to find that you actually understand why your spouse has been hiding a separate account from you, or discover, after sharing your reasons, that you don’t feel the need to hide money anymore.

If you’re having trouble talking about finances in an open, honest manner, get help from a Bend, Oregon marriage counselor at our upcoming Money Habitudes workshop.