Published in: Banks | June 10, 2019

How to Stop Fighting With Your Partner About Money

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Money can put a strain on any relationship, but you can turn those fights into positive conversations about your finances.
Wedding cake with angry spouses facing opposite each other.

Image source: Getty Images. 

Money is one of the most common reasons for relationship problems, and unfortunately, fights about finances are a major cause of divorces and separations.

If you find that you and your partner are among the many couples that constantly have arguments about money, it's better to take action before resentment builds up and little tiffs turn into big blowouts.

Putting an end to financial strife is easier said than done, but there are a few tips you can follow that should significantly reduce the arguments and, ideally, help you get on the same page about accomplishing joint goals.

1. Have your money discussions at a scheduled meeting

No one likes to be nagged about their financial habits all the time, so it's natural that your spouse might feel resentful if you're constantly commenting on their spending or hectoring them about the bills you have to pay. At the same time, when you see your spouse making financial decisions you don't agree with, it's easy to fly off the handle in the moment and say something you end up regretting.

You can avoid a lot of these problems -- like saying harsh words in anger or feeling nagged -- if you schedule regular money meetings and commit to discussing your financial issues during these times. You can schedule meetings once a week or once a month, depending on how much work you and your partner have to do -- but the key is to try to limit talks about money to these times only.

Scheduling regular meetings gives everyone time to think about financial issues before speaking, as well as the opportunity to talk about your progress on joint goals while you're in the right frame of mind. You can give each other your full attention, and once the money talk is over, you can focus on more fun things for a while.

2. Get on the same page about your financial goals

If you and your partner have goals you're both excited to achieve together, then you're both much more likely to make responsible spending and saving decisions. Setting specific and actionable goals also allows you to track your progress so it will become much more clear to both of you whether sacrifices need to be made.

If you both know you want to save for a down payment on a home or early retirement, it's easier -- and more fun -- to talk about what you're willing to change to achieve these big objectives. You can focus on the good things you want to accomplish, rather than just lamenting the fact that you have to cut out spending you want to do.

3. Agree on some basic guiding principles

You and your partner should not only have some shared goals, but you should also have some basic parameters you agree to live within so you're not making major financial decisions your partner doesn't like.

You could decide together, for example, that you won't make purchases over $200 unless you both agree to them. Or you could both decide you want to avoid getting into credit card debt and make a commitment not to use your cards unless you can pay the bill in full.

You don't want to put so many rules in place that you feel constrained, so limit yourselves to two or three foundational principles that are important to both of you. Then make sure you both treat these principles as sacrosanct, with no exceptions for either of you unless you both agree.

4. Take the time to listen instead of judging

If you and your partner are constantly fighting over particular financial habits, it's easy to jump straight to anger or blame.

Instead of getting mad at your partner for overspending again or forgetting to pay another bill, take the time to ask why it happened -- and make sure you come from a place of love and understanding. Maybe your partner feels overwhelmed by being responsible for all the bill-paying duties or feels too constrained by the budget you have.

If you take the time to listen carefully and find the root of the problem, you may find a way to eliminate it together.

5. Give each spouse a little leeway

Just because you have a partner doesn't mean you don't want to make some spending decisions yourself -- and perhaps even buy things your paramour doesn't see the point of. There needs to be room for each person in a couple to do their own thing, so be sure to allocate some "fun" money to each of you that can be spent with no questions asked.

You could do this out of a joint account, or you could have separate savings accounts that you put some cash into each month. Unless your partner is doing something really damaging or dangerous with this "fun" money, you should do your best not to pry or complain.

It really is possible to stop fighting about money

If you can agree on some joint financial goals and a few guiding principles, it should be a lot easier to quit fighting about money -- especially if you listen to each other, allow each other some leeway, and limit how often you bring up financial issues. Your relationship is worth more than money, so try these tips today so you can finally stop the money fights for good.

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