Oh, money… money… money… Well, isn’t money considered one of the top stressors in relationships? Yes! Why? because money touches everything in our lives—what we eat, what we drive, where we live, and how we live in general. Stress works in much the same way—no matter where it strikes us, it always seems to spread out and touch everything else in our lives as well. But when it comes to stress in your relationship, it’s very likely to be about how one of you is, or isn’t, handling money, and it can be a deal breaker.
Honesty is Key
The best way to handle money stress in a relationship is to be honest with yourself and your spouse or significant other. A survey of couples suffering from money stress revealed a somewhat strange confirmation that opposites do attract: In over 50% of cases, one was a spender and one was a saver. But not being on the same page financially can really put stress on your blissful existence. So whether you’ve been a couple for a while or you’re just starting out, here are a few ways to handle money stress in your relationships:
You’re not the police or their parent—you’re their partner. Whether their spending habits could use an overhaul or they lose their job or face some other financial hardship, be the best, most understanding and helpful partner you can be. Offer help and make suggestions. Let your partner know they can lean on you and be honest with you without being judged.
Be an Open Book
If you’re willing to get naked in front of someone, you should also be willing to open up your checkbook in front of them. Sit down with your significant other and be honest about your spending habits. Find out if your lover is a spender or a saver. The trick to having a successful meeting of the minds is to be open and non-judgmental.
Set up a budget that will not only get you out of any stressful situations you’re currently facing, but also set up a budget for going forward. Periodically, make sure you’re on track and make adjustments for anything new coming up in life, like needing a car or having a baby, etc. If you’re both on the same track, it will be much easier to handle upcoming challenges and handle money stress in your relationship—together.
Make a Long-Term Plan
Aside from handling money stress from current situations, and aside from deciding how you’re going to handle money issues going forward, make a long-term plan with your eyes on the future. If you both have a goal to work for such as living in your dream home, retirement or taking that trip around the country in a Winnebago, you’ll both work harder to get there. Think of your long-term plan as your prize for putting all of your current money stress to rest.