Marriage is the bonding of two people who, at the time of a wedding, agree to love one another, unconditionally. The joy, love, and common interests that bring these two people together are what is valued as a means to carry a relationship through both good times and bad. Right?
Marriage: It’s much more...
Marriage takes a lot of work. Hard, dedicated work between these two people. If the partnership is not there, it will not work, plain and simple. Issues surrounding finances are one reason why so many marriages and relationships struggle, and sadly in many cases, may end. According to a survey released by SunTrust Bank, “finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship”. This financial pressure can lead to a variety of other personal issues or interpersonal issues within the marriage.
Reasons for Financial Issues in Marriage
Money problems can come from a multitude of areas in an individual’s life. Past, current, and future anxieties can all play a role in why finances can dictate our emotions, conversations, relationships, and even our work ethics. Below are just a few of the reasons why finances can affect these aspects of our life.
- According to a report published in Clinical Psychology Review which reviewed 65 studies on debt and mental health, “the likelihood of having a mental health problem is three times higher among people who have debt”
- Types of debt
- Loans (student, auto, mortgage)
- Credit card debt
- Hidden habits (gambling, shopping)
- Spending more than you make
- Not living within realistic means
- Sudden loss of a job can greatly impact household income levels
- When one partner tries to dictate how and when money should be spent
- When one partner has a job and the other does not
- When one partner makes more money than the other
- Also known as financial bullying
Disagreements on Budgeting/Money Values
- When two people have different values, there can be a discrepancy between how much and where money should be delegated
- Saving versus spending
- Materialism (i.e. cars, vacations) versus investments (i.e. children’s education)
- If one partner comes from a poor background and the other comes from a wealthy background, the values placed on money can be the polar opposite
- One partner may value hard work earned
- While the other partner may be used to being handed anything they want
- Raising children is extremely expensive
- The average cost to raise a single child from birth to 18 years old is $300,000
- Cost of education, extracurricular activities, childcare, clothing, food, shelter, transportation, etc.
- One partner may question wanting children all together solely based on the financial stresses related to raising children
Financial Issues Turn to Mental Health Issues
Whether the above-listed issues are ignored or out in the open, financial stress is something that can take over a marriage. There are a variety of ways it can be manifested into a person’s being.
The anxiety and stress associated with financial concerns may cause an individual’s sense of self and personality to change. A once honest, positive person can slowly, or quickly, shift into a dishonest, negative person. The overwhelming emotions of worry, guilt, and concern can create emotional instability. In a marriage or relationship, dealing with a partner who is emotionally unstable will create instability within the marriage. This instability can cause greater concern within a partnership, such as:
- Feelings of hostility and negativity caused by a circumstance of condition
- Controlling anger is difficult for a partner to manage
- Please seek professional help for anger management
- Anger can trigger dangerous issues within a relationship
- Can be verbal, emotional, physical abuse
- Contact professional help and law enforcement if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse
Trying to cope with the ongoing burden of financial worries can be difficult. The stress associated with trying to keep your head above water when there is only so much cash flow is exhausting and upsetting. If you and your partner are not on the same page with saving and spending this may turn conversations into arguments, creating an emotional barrier. In addition, when one, or both, incomes are lost due to job loss, the anxiety can manifest into depression.
Depression is clearly linked to the association between financial stress and relationships. When there is financial anxiety with the addition of conflicting partners, one or both partners may spiral downwards into the hardships of depression. When depression becomes a factor in a marriage, subsequent serious mental health issues may become of concern.
- Types of addiction
- Drug use
- In some cases, addiction may precede financial issues
- The expensive habit of addiction issues may cause financial stress
- Addiction can cause a person to lose their job and income, which was helping to support the marriage and family
- A strong link between major financial loss and attempted or completed suicide
- Research shows that there has been an increase in middle-aged suicides due to external economic factors
How to Repair your Marriage & Financial Stress
- Learning to communicate about money is key to a successful marriage
- If this is a new conversation for your relationship, do not delay anymore, be open with one another about your concerns and possible solutions
Listen to your partner
- Spend time to hear your partner out
- This should give them the respect to listen to you
Stand your ground
- Taking the time to listen to your partner is a meaningful and understanding part of being in a relationship, but do not lose sight of what is important to you
- Voicing what is important to you, just as much as your partner voices what is important to them, is healthy for both of you
Talk to a financial planner
- Reaching out to a professional to help brainstorm, manage, and budget your financial concerns is a positive investment of both time and energy
- Seek out professional support and emotional guidance to help mediate conversations regarding finances and consequent interpersonal issues within the marriage