If you've been married for more than five minutes, you understand what it's like to disagree with your spouse about how to spend money. Opposites attract, after all. So more than likely, one of you is way more interested in crunching the numbers than the other. But that doesn’t mean deciding how to spend money each month should end in an argument.
Disagreements over the budget are normal. The key for working through them and coming out alive is learning how your different views on money can complement one another.
There’s no denying that men and women look at money differently. Typically, one spouse is a nerd and the other is a free spirit when it comes to the budget.
Nerds enjoy putting together the monthly budget and calculating the numbers. They like that it gives them a sense of security, and they feel like they’re taking care of their loved ones. Free spirits don’t want to have anything to do with the numbers and tend to “forget” about a budget. They may feel controlled or not cared for, and appear irresponsible to the nerd. This can be a dangerous combination that leads to problems in your money and your marriage.
Thankfully, there are ways to work around these problems. Money fights are one of the leading causes of divorce today. But when couples learn to agree on their money and are determined not to let it drive them apart, they form a unity that is crucial for a successful marriage.
The challenge in marriage is to work through the different identities, ideals and values you each bring to the relationship. You win at marriage by losing your need to get your way in every battle. You get a happy marriage by giving up selfish desires in order to win together—you create shared visions and financial goals out of your own individual goals!
That’s why it’s important for both spouses to be involved with creating the monthly budget. The partner with the natural gift can prepare the budget, but the decision-making must be done by both of you.
When you sit down with your spouse to have a budget committee meeting, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Rules for the nerd:
- Listen to the free spirit
- Let your spouse contribute
- Keep it brief
Rules for the free spirit:
- Show up to the meeting
- Contribute your opinions
- Be realistic
Remember that opposites tend to attract in marriage, so work together for maximum wisdom. When you have a budget that reflects the goals and ideals you share as a couple, you can experience fabulous unity in your marriage.
If you’re tired of budgeting with pen and paper, check out EveryDollar. It’s free and takes less than 10 minutes to set up! Now you can really get on the same page with your spouse—and work together to reach your money goals.