Money is one of the largest stressors in long-term relationships and marriages. Financial stress can be an especially difficult aspect of relationships to manage. It requires talking to your partner about income and budgets, which are not the most romantic topics.
When you’re in love with someone, you want to be able to treat them to special gifts, exotic trips and fancy meals. But these spending habits can quickly drain your budget and create possible tension in the future. However, long-term relationships are all about communication. If the love is real then your partner’s ultimate concern will be spending fun and meaningful time with you.
Talking About Money
Money and finances is an incredibly important conversation to have with your significant other. Although, it’s often an uncomfortable one. When you reach a point in your relationship when you love each other and plan on settling down, you should talk about the money — especially if you plan on having and raising a child together, as this is an expensive and lifelong commitment. It’s not necessary to fully disclose your income. Let your partner know when the date-nights are getting too pricey for you or if you want to budget to grow your savings.
If you and your hubby or wifey both work, you should both have your own expendable income to rely on. That goes double if you’re living together and splitting house bills. However, if one of you is taking on the roll of stay-at-home-parent, this conversation is unavoidable because one spouse is being fiscally responsible for the entire family. At that point, it’s a good idea to create a shared bank account that you can use to manage funds and make sure you’re both taking care of each other’s needs.
This is even more important if the stay-at-home-parent feels they’re being taken for granted in the relationship, or vice versa. This can happen when the working person in the relationship isn’t sufficiently giving to their partner, or the person who isn’t working spends too much on themselves and neglects shopping for necessary household items like groceries or toiletries. This can cause a lot of financial strain on the relationship, and is usually avoidable if you and your partner talk about money and budgeting.
Creating a Budget Together
Creating a budget is a good practice towards being financially responsible and stable. It’s often a step that people don’t take individually. However, when you are sharing a life with someone and your finances are tied closely together, not having a budget can give rise to any number of problems. By creating a budget that allows you to go out on dates but still live within your means to avoid financial stress, you’re able to grow as a couple and instead of seeing money as a stress and concern, and it can be a chance to accomplish goals together.
Take a note from Brittany and Tony Ingram, who got out of $100,000 of debt together by creating a budget and limiting their spending on unnecessary luxuries. This was a difficult step to take in the beginning. But they became a lot happier once they organized their priorities and no longer had to worry about money. There’s time for luxury later, when your checkbooks are balanced enough for you to enjoy big-ticket items.
Setting a budget and working together as a team means you’ll be able to pay your bills on time. You may even still have enough money left over for a bottle of wine with dinner or a date night at your favorite restaurant once a week. However, this only happens if you’re honest about how much money you can spend when you go out. It’s preferable to breaking your bank at the bar only to be stressed about money later. Or feeling unable to talk to your partner about it.
The Bottom Line
Communication is the key to happy long-term relationships. By taking the step to talk about budgeting, you’re opening up the door to an important conversation. It’s one that your partner has probably been wanting to talk about as well.