One of the core values of a healthy marriage should include healthy finances. Even more importantly, although the marital bed should be kept warm and undefiled, it can indeed become cold, unsafe and distant — the space between spouses during times of financial unrest can feel like a deep, dark, bleak abyss.
Of course, the coolness of the mattress can happen for several reasons, but studies have shown that increasing distance between spouses is often due to the misunderstanding or misalignment of goals and/or intentions of how to manage current and future uses of money in the household. And this, by far, could be one of the worst things that could happen in the marital bed.
When I first got married, money was consistently at the center of most discussions. Whether in agreement or working through differing views, the discussion of finances never went away… in fact, the conversations became more and more detailed as each of us had to peel back layers of who we were to come to a common understanding that created a workable foundation.
During those communications, I learned that it was important to set ground rules so that the frustration around the money pot would not taint the sweetness of the honey pot. Here are a few of those ground rules:
1. Transparency is key.
Have open and honest communication. No Secrets! Be honest about your past and current state financially including salary/income, number of bills, outstanding debt, etc.
2. Create a safe space.
The environment should be such that it is easier to discuss finances and possible past mismanagement so that neither or either spouse feels condemned, judged, or alone.
3. Never stop communicating.
Have the hard conversations, not only the easy ones, but the tough ones as well. These talks should occur frequently and early on in the relationship.
4. Establish roles and responsibilities early.
Lean on the stronger partner. For purposes of this discussion, stronger does not mean better or more dominant; it just means the person who is more equipped. If you are that spouse, be able to give without regret or retreat. In the event neither is capable, it is wise to enlist the help of a financial advisor, especially to manage the collective goals of the household.
Remember, the collective goals should also align with individual goals because a house divided against itself cannot stand.
5. Have a game plan and revisit it often.
It is not enough to have good intentions, but it is best to create a plan together and work on it as a team (this includes prioritization of uses of money and paying off debt). Make the discussions fun and be realistic about the goals that are set. Establish milestones and designate celebrations for reaching goals.
Our past and everything that was attached to it (and us) comes up when we get married — our finances, financial practices and preferences, as well as our personalities including pride, rebellion, insecurity, lack of prioritization, being disorganized, family teachings, etc. are not exempt.
Management of finances can reflect who you are, where you are from, and what you value. Therefore, as a commitment to the marital covenant, value, protect and nurture this part of the marriage as an equally important component of establishing a partnership pleasing unto God. And again, remember that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Author ● Executive ● Image Consultant ● Life Coach New York born and Texas raised, Kira Monique Laws is known by her peers and colleagues as a coach, a counselor, a mediator, and a friend. Combining her Love of God, her Love of Self, and her Love of Others, Kira has transitioned from an accomplished career into a new but familiar arena, Life Imaging. As an advocate for women’s affairs, Kira has a global passion for carving a path for youth and young women. Through her epithet and brand, The Modern Day Cindi, her primary focus is to not only build people, but build businesses; to not only coach individuals, but develop their ideas. Kira’s journey has placed her in education, non-profit, political, and fashion arenas. Her background as an attorney and entrepreneurial business acumen has given her the foundation to be a creative force in driving change.