Q: I am married to someone who is really worked up about money. There are times he will check to see what I paid for something and compare them to the weekly ads to see if I got the best price. He wants me to go to two different stores to shop (even though I work full time and have twin daughters). Is this normal — or am I just sensitive? I don’t want to divorce.
A: Money and marriage is an age old problem. I have worked with hundreds of couples and have seen firsthand how money problems, worries and other financial issues can lead to unhappy marriages. If left unchecked, financial problems can ultimately destroy a marriage.
According to one source, when a spouse feels the other spends their money foolishly, it increases the likelihood of divorce by 45%. What caught my attention in the report was the word “feeling.” The researchers tell us that perceptions of how well one’s spouse handles money play a role in shaping the quality and stability of family life in the U.S.
So, obviously your husband wants a “good deal” and to make sure that he has got the best price for something. For you, the time spent looking for the best “deal” is not as important because you clearly have limited time and energy. Get to the same place on what you value and that will help inform what is “important” to your marriage. Often there is something bigger going on—is the money saved intended to go toward another greater goal?
Money styles are also something to consider. It is common to see financial opposites attract one another. For example, one couple I worked with set up a plan that pulled for each of their strengths. She loves her husband’s fun and adventure, but doesn’t like that he spends all their paycheck doing so. He loves her stability and discipline since it balances his free and relaxed nature but he is always asking her for money and wanting to tap into her savings. There is tension and resentment on each side. We came up with a plan that pulls for their strengths—the spender spends, the saver saves.
Since finances are the biggest cause of stress and stress is a major cause of disease, improving financial literacy also has the added benefit of improving your health. Keeping your values in the right place and improving finances can actually bring health, wealth and happiness. What more can you ask for?
Lisa Webb is at the Body & Mind Consulting Associates Group:
www.bodymindtn.com. Her latest book: “Boardroom to Bedroom, Using your Executive Success for your Marriage” is available at www.amazon.com