By: Cha Cababaro
She’s thrifty, he’s a spender.
She’s always on a shopping spree, he’s always looking for ways to be debt-free.
She’s a planner, he’s spontaneous.
We all know couples who fall into one of these criteria. You might even add one where you and your hubby would fit.
Included in an officiating body’s first questions to a bride and groom is their willingness to take each other no matter what the state of love, health, life, and finances. This goes to show that marriage indeed promises ups and downs. No couple goes through married life smoothly all the way, since the union is made up of two different people molded from different backgrounds, culture, and upbringing.
Experts agree that finances can be on top of the list when it comes to marital strain. Yes, it can be challenging to balance the checkbook to the last penny while your partner is a splurge or vice versa. It can be draining if one of you wants separate accounts but conjugal debts. But hang in there, finance talk in marriage is not all that. There are workarounds.
As a team and “the” team that makes up your family, there are 5 tips you and your spouse can try to ease what’s already a taxing part of your journey as husband and wife:
#1 Talk money.
Couples who aren’t avid on communicating could encounter problems with money matters. Money talk shouldn’t be taboo and should clearly be included in conversations on a regular basis. Do you know how much each of you is earning? Does your husband know when the next tuition fee is due? Does your partner give you enough to spend on basic needs? Does your spouse know about your greatest spend this month? For some, talking about these things are red flags for fights, but as long as you lovingly and constantly remind your significant other that you are on the same team, then openness about everything will follow.
Let it be, firstly, an agreed-upon topic you and your partner will discuss and manage daily. It won’t help if only one of you initiates, catching the other off-guard. This is also a matter that you can include your children in on – especially the sides of it that concern them and their “wants” because needs are non-negotiable.
#2 Plan, not react.
A young newlywed couple just moved into their first home… only to separate even before their first year is through. They had just experienced knee-deep debts from a grandiose wedding and loans for the posh house and car they had bought prior to getting married. An IG-worthy venue, a roof over your heads, and hot wheels are not bad at all. But have you spent more than you can pay off?
When you fail to plan ahead as a couple, the tendency is to react to the outcomes of your financial decisions. Set your financial goals and objectives for your marriage and family life with forward-thinking and foresight – you can do this annually with monthly or quarterly checkpoints just to see if you’re on the right track. Prioritize paying off existing debts and staying free from them.
#3 Balance the beams.
In a common setting, it’s usually the wives who do the balancing while the husbands go to the grind. Whatever setup your home may be in, there should be one of you who plays record keeper. This should keep track of how much money comes in and how much is being spent, where it is and should be allocated, and the like. This “bookkeeper” should have honest scales – needless to say – because he or she values their hard-earned money. Keep your finances under control so it would not do so to your marriage.
#4 Get schooled.
In this day and age, learning about finances is as easy as a tap of a button on our phones. As a couple, try to get educated on managing and stewarding your riches and assets efficiently. It’s important to do this early on to better address problems that may arise in the future. If you have not done this yet, then it’s a good time to invest in financial knowledge. It also helps if both of you learn together to understand where your partner is coming from should there be any heated discussion about a money matter.
#5 Enjoy the process.
Money is already a serious case in itself. At times, when financial troubles come, they take away that unity painstakingly being worked on in love. There will always be shortcomings and lack, but remember that your spouse is your constant too. If there is something that needs to be out of the picture, it’s not your partner. Be encouraged in the truth that God has a special purpose for your marriage, and that He has brought the two of you together so that you can achieve more than what you could accomplish on your own. Let your love and joy in God be larger than your spending and purchases!
Cha is a 20-ish something Christian, solo, millennial Nanay to a soon-to-be 4-year old little girl. While working as a creative in an advertising agency, she finds time making music, travelling, and spacing out once in a while.