You probably know that money matters are one of the biggest causes of divorce, and for good reason. It is hard to feel happy and in love with your spouse when you are trying to save money and they are trying to spend it all. Indeed, if you are both on different pages when it comes to financial goals, it can lead to nasty arguments, bitterness, frustration, anger, and much more.
However, some couples actually see their relationship improve as they struggle with finances together. But this is only if the couple can communicate in an effective manner. They have to work it out together and not be combative, which is easier said than done. It is a lot easier to blame someone for financial issues, especially if one person has been putting in much more effort than the other by working multiple jobs and saving money regularly.
The pandemic has not helped things. Many people have lost their jobs, Inflation is through the roof. The cost of living has increased dramatically. While these issues typically cause a lot of stress in a marriage, they do not have to. Not all couples have to be adversely affected because they tighten their budgets and work together. Here are some things to consider when it comes to communicating about finances.
Types of Communication Pathways
There are varying degrees of communication: unifying, thriving, pragmatic, and at-risk. These four patterns predicted stress and potential for divorce. The couples whose communication pathways were identified as unified or thriving tended to have higher levels of psychological well-being as well as less stress and anxiety. They also had a lower risk of divorce compared to pragmatic or at-risk couples.
How does a couple make their communication unified or thriving? They do so by managing their financial uncertainty together. They lift each other up and communicate as a unified front. They re-affirmed each other’s family contributions and celebrated their partner instead of blaming them. In short, they reacted positively to the situation and as a result, this attitude brought these couples closer together.
Thriving couples have all of the communication patterns used by unified couples, and they also have the ability to grow from stress and financial uncertainty. Thriving couples actually verbalized their personal growth. They may have learned something positive or new from the recession, or grew personally from the experience.
Then there are pragmatic couples, who showed to be less emotional in the ways they discussed money. They were more likely to focus on basic needs such as gas and groceries. These couples tend to be practical and objective. They focus on discussing the problem itself, rather than getting emotionally involved.
The fourth type of couples are identified as “at-risk.” At-risk couples turn on each other when discussing finances. They act negatively instead of positively, creating a rift. They do not act as a team, like unified and thriving couples. Instead, they blame each other, make threats, and engage in other negative behavioral patterns toward their partners.
Dealing with financial stress can be hard for partners. That is because everyone handles stress differently. Many react with anger and blame. They do not want to admit that they may be the cause of the financial problems they are facing. Maybe they do not want to take steps to fix it.
Money and work are the two biggest causes of stress in the United States, affecting a whopping 75% of adults. Stress can sometimes be helpful, as it can improve motivation. If a person knows that they need an extra $100 to pay rent this month, for example, they will find ways to earn this money or cut back in other areas. Stress can help people deal with anxiety-provoking situations. On the other hand, too much stress on a regular basis can reduce the ability to function effectively and result in distress and angst.
The good news is that there are strategies that people can use to handle financial stress. They include the following.
- Identify areas of personal control. It is easier to achieve your goals when you know what you can and cannot control. While you cannot control inflation, you can choose to listen to the news about the economy. You can choose to adjust your budget accordingly. Try to avoid panic and despair.
- Determine financial stressors and make a plan. Write down your particular financial situation and make a list of solutions and goals so you can come up with a solid plan. This can be a little stress, but in return, you will be reducing stress in the long run. You may also want to account for worst case scenarios. Think about all the things you can do to improve financial freedom, such as earning more money, cutting out unnecessary expenses, and reducing debt.
- Get rid of unhealthy coping strategies. Economic stress can cause some people to use alcohol and drugs or smoke or gamble. Choose healthier habits to reduce stress, such as listening to music, exercising, or spending time with friends. Find ways to spend your time wisely. Mediation and positive thinking can also work wonders.
Seek Legal Help
While working through financial struggles can strengthen a marriage, there are plenty of situations in which money matters can lead to arguments and divorce. This is especially true when the couple cannot fight fairly.
If you are ready to end your marriage over finances or other issues, seek legal help from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler right away. We’ll help you understand your legal rights so you can divorce quickly. To schedule a consultation, call (954) 398-5712 or fill out the online form.