Solving Money Arguments

Posted by Leave a Comment

Have you ever fought with your spouse about money?  Be honest!


Do you want to know how to make those money fights go away?


Here’s the deal: no matter how little or how much you’ve got I’m pretty sure you’ve had at least some disagreements with your lover about where that money went.  And since we’re being honest, isn’t ‘disagreement’ too polite a way of describing it?


Reports show that money is the #1 source of fights for married couples and if you think about it then it’s probably no big surprise.  But here IS a big surprise:


Fights about money are never about money.  Really.


Money is just a proxy and the fights are REALLY about values and power.  So, if the two of you are fighting about “money” take a moment and ask yourself if you’ve really got different values or if you’re jockeying for control.


You don’t need to have identical values to have a good marriage, they just need to be similar enough.  What you DO need to have is respect for each other.  Because its a resource the way someone spends money will reflect their values; all you have to do is look at where and how they spend their money to get a pretty good understanding of what’s important to them and reflects their values.


Values are one of the deepest imprints of who we are and something that we’ll vigorously defend. 


Two people who are married but with different values will suffer a never-ending supply of things to fight about and if they want the relationship to survive they’ll need to find a way to respect each other’s values and find common ground.  


Examples of values-based fights include where to live (the city, suburbs, or country), how to live (lavishly or simply), and how to raise children (“free range” or tightly disciplined).  


When it comes to allocating money here are some common expenditures that speak to different values:

  • donations to charity
  • trendy clothes or jewelry
  • books
  • classes
  • savings or retirement accounts
  • gifts
  • bars and restaurants
  • home furnishings
  • home electronics
  • cars
  • etc.


What do they mean in terms of values?  Flashy things are generally a sign that someone is attempting to be significant.  Hoarding money is a sign of insecurity and fear of what might happen.  Lots of gift-giving indicates a strong caring about other people while books and classes speak to valuing of personal growth.


And if the two of you seem to have different values?


Rest easy, there *IS* hope!


Want help working through money matter? 


Resolving fights about values is a two-step process.  First, you and your partner need to get clear (with both yourselves and each other) about what you value and really want to achieve.  Second you need to recognize that the relationship is something you get to create together and an opportunity to cooperate in deciding how and where to spend money.


And if the issue is power struggles?  Well, that requires a different approach.  


Two people can share the same values but if one is bringing much more money into the relationship than the other that imbalance can lead to conflict.  Sometimes the person who makes more money feels that they should get more of a say in how that money is spent.  Sometimes the person who makes less money feels insecure about not bringing “their share” into the relationship.


Mutual respect is the key.  


Both partners must feel like they’re on the same team, each contributing in their own way and happy for the team’s success regardless of who’s bring home more bacon.


The most painful situation is when there is both a values conflict and a financial imbalance.  In these situations the partner who is bringing less money to the relationship can feel both disrespected and disempowered, and that will lead to tremendous resentment and pain.  But even that can be overcome when both partners truly want the relationship to survive.


Here’s an exercise for you.  Marriage is all about the “we” so follow these four useful rules to avoid money clashes:

  • know your own values
  • understand your partner’s values
  • agree on common goals & contributions
  • have money for each of you to spend however you want


Spend wisely, stay generous, and keep loving!


Category: Marriage

About the Author ()

Guy Ardito is an in-demand coach, trainer and founder of Relate U., an initiative dedicated to creating a better world through extraordinary relationships. Guy helps his clients overcome even the most complex challenges with humor and creativity, skills honed with decades of experience solving relationship problems in both corporate and personal arenas. As a certified Master Coach, Strategic Interventionist and Relationship and Marriage Educator, Guy has helped singles and couples resolve conflicts, reignite passions, and experience the love they’ve always wanted. He’s proud to live in New York with his extraordinary wife and their beautiful son.

Leave a Reply