Money fights are some of the most common arguments in relationships. Managing your finances is a stressful endeavor, whether you share your money or keep your funds separate. How can you resolve these money fights, or better yet, avoid them altogether? Here are some conflict resolution tips from Urban Balance.
Is It the Money or Something Else? (Determine the Cause)
Money fights aren’t always about money. There may be a hidden source of stress that’s triggering the argument. Stress from work, lack of sleep, an imbalance of responsibilities…there are many reasons for tension in a relationship. Before the argument gets too heated, try to figure out why you’re fighting in the first place. If it is genuinely about the money, you can use some of the techniques below to resolve the conflict. Otherwise, you may need to focus on another area of your relationship.
Be Honest about Your Financial Situation
Honesty is critical in a relationship. Depending on how long you’ve been together, you may not want to share all of your financial history. If you are married or in a committed relationship, you should be honest about certain elements – specifically your debt. Financial infidelity (lying to your partner abut a credit card, bank account, etc.) can lead to tremendous stress, and for many, it’s the end of the relationship altogether. Be forthcoming about your debt, income, bills and other information as it becomes pertinent in your relationship.
Keep Your Debt as Low as Possible
Debt is an ongoing source of stress. Even if you don’t actively think about it, the debt weighs on your subconscious. Debt can also create resentment in your relationship, whether it’s individual or joint in nature.
Work together to keep your debts as low as possible. Repay the ones you have before creating new ones, especially those with large interest rates. If you make a large purchase, such as a vehicle or house, make sure the payments and overall debt are well within your means. If you feel like you’ll be stretching to make payments every month, you may consider an alternative option.
Reduce Stress in All Areas of Your Life
The more stressed you are, the bigger your fights will be. This applies to money fights and all other disputes in your relationship. If you can keep your stress low, you’ll be clear-headed and ready to discuss matters in a productive manner. This may mean turning down an extra shift at work, cancelling plans with friends, delegating a task to someone else, or taking some time for yourself. By focusing on your mental health, you can work better as a team.
Improve Your Communication Skills
Conflict resolution starts with good communication. You and your partner should work on actively listening to one another and clearly speaking your mind. This is one of the tasks we tackle in couples counseling because it is crucial for relationship building. A couples counselor can help you work through disagreements, resolve longstanding conflicts, and learn skills you can carry with you in the future.
Focus on Solutions, Not Just Problems
It’s easy to point out money problems, but what about their solutions? If there is a financial issue in your relationship, try to come up with achievable solutions for it. For instance, if eating out is causing you to spend too much money on food, consider meal prepping to reduce your costs. Agree to a meal-prepping arrangement that fits both your schedule and your budget, and then execute it accordingly.
If your money fights involve debts, make a plan to repay them. Start with the debt that has the highest interest rate, and apply as much money as possible toward it. You may decide to cut back on some expenses to clear up extra money, like cancelling your cable or adjusting your phone bill. Any extra money you free up can go toward your debt.
As long as you remain supportive, honest and proactive, you can keep money fights to a minimum. If you would like support from a licensed couples counselor, call (888) 726-7170 to schedule a confidential couples counseling appointment. Urban Balance has offices in Colorado, Illinois and Missouri, with flexible hours to accommodate your busy schedule.