Money. You never talk about it, but it's the reason you're always fighting. Most marriages end not because of sexual problems, abuse, affairs and other commonly cited reasons, but because of disagreements about finances.
This does not have to be you. Fix this and you'll be closer and happier together.
In our culture, talking about money is a huge no-no. We'll happily discuss even the most sordid details of our sex lives, but just mention finances and we clam up. If you're married or living with a partner then you must get over this common inhibition; there's simply no other way to build a fulfilling relationship, or to be financially fit.
There are good reasons why money is such a difficult topic of discussion. We all have baggage. We're all influenced by our upbringing. It might be that your partner feels embarrassed by her or his spending habits or one of you feels inadequate because of what you perceive to be a small salary. It's a minefield talking about this extremely important subject; it's all too easy to get uncomfortable, or to offend.
Talking about money can be painful, but refusing to engage in this discussion will doom your relationship to failure.
I am not a counsellor or therapist, but I'm lucky to be in a marriage where we both greatly value open communication, honesty and patience with each other and I hope my suggestions will help some couples. I've learned to not focus on the negatives such as inappropriate spending, but to rather concentrate on future goals we share and the positive steps we need to take to achieve these goals.
I'm sure many who read this will have more experience (good and bad) in these matters than I do. If you can add anything to what I've said please post a comment below this article. Who knows, it might just help someone.
Are you worried about money, but don't know how to broach the subject with your spouse or partner? Here's how to talk about it:
1. Realise that your partner wants to help
Some people, stereotypically men, feel that they should not burden their partner with their worries about money. They'll hide their anxiety and try to deal with problems on their own.
You are in a relationship - share the burden! Understanding that your partner wants to help will lighten your load. If there's trouble, he or she will almost certainly want to be part of the solution.
Your partner loves you and they want to be there for you when times are tough.
2. Don't judge
When people fight about money it's usually very intense. Arguments will go on for hours without resolving anything. Both parties will tend to be very judgmental about the other's spending habits. The one may be angry about the other's new iPad, while the other might be furious about an expensive dinner with a friend.
When couples start judging each other, what usually happens is that they increasingly hide purchases. To keep your relationship open and honest you must be as judgment-free as possible. Remember, no-one is perfect and you wouldn't want to be judged either.
It's easier said than done, but train yourself to not get angry when your partner buys something that you don't think she or he needs.
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