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What makes finances so hard to talk about in marriage?

 

Financial decisions and planning can be a stressful topic for couples. A person can have deep feelings attached to money decisions. So the topic can feel very personal. The Prepare/Enrich material for couples doing premarital or marital education has a section on finances and focuses on financial goal setting. Separate worksheets are provided for the couple to complete and then share and discuss their goals. This can be informative but may not help a couple understand their different approaches or what may seem like opposing attitudes toward money. Evans and Kelsey in their book Strengths Based Marriage (2016) note research on “The Four Money Languages."

Drivers — Drivers express love through the use of money in their lives. This can create an over dependence on money.

Analytics — Analytics use money to avoid problems. They are likely to be good financial planners. There can be a danger of becoming more focused on money than others.

Amiables — Amiables use their money to focus on relationships and people. They can lack discipline.

Expressives — Expressives use money to gain acceptance and admiration. This may be done to hide pain or insecurity.

A section on managing finances in the book Empowering Couples by Olson and Olson (2000) describe “Four Orientations Toward Money."

Money as Status — view money as power

Money as Security — focuses on saving money

Money as Enjoyment — satisfaction is gained through spending

Money as Control — money is a way of keeping control over one's life and independence from others

Understanding how money is viewed and what it means to your spouse can make a big difference in working together to plan the ways money is spent and saved in a household. Learning the personal story behind how your spouse views money can be revealing and help a couple to better work together. It is important to value and show respect to each person's view of money and look for ways to live these values out in the relationship in some form. Money is a resource God has provided and learning to be a good steward of that resource can be a significant challenge.

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