The sun was shining, your family members were smiling, and your dress flowed just the way you wanted it to when you started walking down the aisle. To most eyes, your wedding day looked perfect. The only thing that held you back from having the best day of your life was the underlying knowledge that your new spouse was drowning in debt.
So, how do you handle the fact that the love of your life makes poor financial decisions? There are a few ways you can approach this scenario.
Encourage honest communication.
Talking about finances, especially if you know you have a hard time managing your finances, can be a major challenge. It may seem impossible to keep a certain level of pride and talk to your spouse about your financial issues. And that’s okay. Marriage often consists of knowing each other’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. So, sharing your financial mistakes and failures with one another shouldn’t be something you both cower and hide from. If your spouse has a rather dark financial past, you should encourage them to openly share why they think they fell into a financial black hole and what their current plan is to get out of it. Remember that it’s important to create an environment where they feel that they can trust you with this information and not ruin your relationship. Having honest communication regarding financial differences and management can not only help your spouse feel more connected to you but can also save your marriage from potential future financial infidelity situations.
Working together, in this situation, is crucial if you want to keep a good relationship with your spouse. Financial downfalls can happen without warning, and your spouse’s financial downfall may have left them hopeless. If this is the case, you could start by telling them you will support them and help them through their financial hardship. For example, if they have an overwhelmingly large amount of debt on their shoulders, you could work together to create an action plan to pay off their debt. Another benefit of working together is that you can hold one another financially accountable. Having someone to hold you financially accountable can help you stray away from your poor financial habits.
Developing and maintaining financial trust with your spouse is important for a successful marriage, but if you or your spouse is knowingly bad with making financial decisions, boundaries should be set. These boundaries can vary depending on what type of financial aspect you or your partner struggles with. For instance, your spouse could struggle with staying within their credit card limit, or you could find that you struggle with sticking to a budget. Whatever the case, learn from your mistakes and set boundaries to protect you and your spouse from a future financial mishap. These boundaries could include setting up text notifications whenever a purchase with the joint credit card is made, limiting you or your partner’s non-necessity spending, choosing which partner is the main grocery shopper, etc. Find what works for you and your spouse and remember that these limitations or boundaries are designed to help you and your spouse create a brighter financial future together.
Seek professional advice.
If you and your spouse can’t figure out a good action plan/a way to work out your financial differences, then you might want to consider seeking professional financial advice. Although receiving help in this area of your lives may not seem like something you want to do, it can potentially keep you from financial harm and even end up saving your relationship with your spouse. As previously mentioned, many marriages result in separation or divorce because of money issues and things like financial infidelity. It’s pretty safe to assume that financial infidelity occurs because one spouse either doesn’t trust the other or they are ashamed of their financial misdoings. To avoid ruining your marriage via finances, you and your spouse could seek advice from a certified financial professional. They could help you figure out a plan to get out of your financial distress and help educate you and your spouse on important financial matters like credit, debt, taxes, budgeting, and more.
The importance of investing in your marriage first.
Marriage can be the best decision or worst decision you ever make. One way to hopefully avoid the latter is to invest in your marriage before anything else. For example, if your spouse struggles with finances and you can tell it takes a toll on them, then step in. Show that you are supportive and help them through their financial ups and downs. Adopt the saying that “no one is perfect” and work through your hardships together. Encouraging honest communication, choosing to work together, setting proper boundaries, and even seeking professional financial advice can help you, and your spouse maintains a healthy relationship as well as a financially strong path. So, even if you know that your future spouse waiting at the end of that aisle has financial struggles, keep in mind that there are many ways you can build a financially strong and loving life together.
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