Most couple who plan on living together and building a future together, would eventually find themselves fighting over money at some point. Below are few tips to avoid the financial strain on your relationship:
Put it all out on the table
Sit down with your partner, pour a glass of wine and talk about the state of your finances and your respective attitudes toward money. It is not that money itself poses a problem; it is the lack of communication about money that does. Once a couple gets past the dating phase and decides to get married, each party has to come clean and be as open about their financial status as with their heart and everything else. Discussing about money might not be easy, but it is essential to deal with the elephant in the room. You do not want to get married and then start fighting about who pays for what, how this party is stingy and this other party has bad spending habits and all of that. Coming clean about your money history and habits can be scary, so make a pact up front that this will be a judgement free zone, and don’t hold back. Talk, talk and then talk some more.
Determine your goals as a couple
Money may not buy love but poor money management can ruin and has ruined many relationships. Setting goals such as saving for a bigger apartment, buying a house or saving for vacations and children’s education; and keeping them upfront and center will keep things in perspective and everyone in check.
Make a plan and stick to it
Because we all come from different backgrounds, we inherently have different views and values on issues, even money issues. Some people are of the school of thought that the expenditure of the home should be shouldered by both parties, while some believe that it is the man’s responsibility to cater for the family and the woman should use her own money for whatever she wants to…like fancy bags, make up kit, asoebi, a new car etc. Having a three hour conversation about how you are going to divide rent and utilities, saving and expenditure is not the sexiest way to spend a evening together, but if it would prevent fights in the future, it is so worth every minute! Whatever plan you settle on, let the goal be for mutual support and ensure that no party feel cheated.
It’s okay if you need help
Being in a serious relationship means allowing yourself to be vulnerable in all ways, including financially. Life happens; you might lose your job or need emergency funds that you don’t have available. No matter how independent you are, it’s ok to ask your partner for help and to lean on him when things get rough. It is important that you both share and understand each other’s perspective.
A lot of couples also believe that if they made more money, their money problems would go away. How erroneous this is. The problems do not go away; they only advance from cheap problems to expensive problems. A lady I know was once dating a guy and they had ‘small’ money problems. He was accustomed to borrowing money from his ‘bae’ and never paying back. The sweet lady just kept praying for him to get his own job and hit it big, so he can stop borrowing from her, and start taking care of her. When they got married, and he did get a good job, his money went to his mum, sisters and the clubs around town. He had gotten so used to her taking care of herself, that he left her to continue taking care of herself and the home. Meanwhile, she had been waiting all along for a decent job to come by, so she can relax and get taken care of. Their money issues just escalated over time and it took the intervention of pastoral counseling before things got back on track for them.
Money is pretty much important in a relationship, trust me. When you are just dating, you can sing JLo’s ‘Love don’t cost a thing’ but by the time you have to start planning for a family, buying baby things and making investments, you soon realize that love is free but costly. Let us endeavour to talk out all money issues with our partners; giving room for compromise and setting the pace for peace.