Money is often a major source of tension in relationships. Far too often couples break up over this. Many relationships could overcome the issue and end up in healthier relationships if they applied simply proven methods to address the problem.

Approaching the emotionally charged topic of money is tough if you cannot see yourself financially secure. It is important to recognize that money can often be a symptom of other issues. The most common underlying issue is communication.

I am going to share with you 3 ways to develop financial harmony with your partner that I have used with numerous couples over the years. We will focus on the two most common money types: the spender and the hoarder.

  1. Identify your specific spending pattern
    In identifying the problem, it is essential that you understand the differences between you and your partner when it comes to money. What are your spending habits? How does your partner spend? Are you a hoarder or spender? If you are a hoarder, you enjoy holding on to your money. It may be difficult to spend money on pleasures and luxury items. If you are a spender, you love to buy whatever brings you happiness. You have difficulty delaying instant gratification. You have a hard time saving and budgeting. At times your spending pattern can be impulsive. Understanding, identifying and admitting your and your partner’s spending patterns is important as you work through money problems.
  2. Discuss your money history
    You want to talk about your spending and saving preferences to fully understand your respective relationships with money. Talk about what you learned from your family and friends about money. Compare childhood stories to gain insight into each other’s approach to money. Your financial conflicts are often based on acquired family habits and cultural standards. Have conversations about what your family taught you about money. Do not allow current arguments about money into the conversations. These talks must focus on discovering and developing constructive insight into your partner’s sentiments about money. The goal is to have a greater understanding and appreciation of your partner’s thinking.
  3. Have weekly money dates
    It is essential that you communicate with your partner about the source of money conflict in your relationship. Make time for weekly money dates. These structured weekly discussions can create safe boundaries within which you or your partner can confront and intelligently work out differences and reach acceptable compromises. Weekly money dates will help you budget and avoid financial conflict.

While these tips can help prevent arguments and remedy the problem, sometimes the financial conflicts can be too extreme for couples to work through themselves. If, after applying these steps the gaps and tensions remain, it is advisable to consider seeking professional help to mediate. I often help couples that are unable to resolve their financial issues on their own to figure out underlying triggers over money that are causing dysfunction in their relationship. Counseling can often bring about the epiphanies and self-recognition required to resolve the problem.

Learn more about Premarital Counseling »