Money problems can derail a relationship.

“Money may not buy love, but fighting about it will bankrupt your relationship.”

— Michelle Singletary, Author & Award-Winning Personal Finance Columnist for The Washington Post. 

In her book, “Your Money and Your Man: How You and Prince Charming Can Spend Well and Live Rich,” not only does she offer practical advice for women on how to manage, plan and invest their finances, but she addresses the emotional aspects of money’s role in a relationship. 

There is widespread evidence that money disputes are seldom solely about numbers. It goes way deeper than that – as we have touched on in previous articles.

A perfect example is that of accountant Estelle Gibson, who (despite having the practical knowledge) gave up her financial independence in marriage due to money beliefs instilled in childhood. This marriage did not work out. 

Money beliefs go hand in hand with one’s personal values and life goals. At the same time, there is a very definite link between money, power and trust in a relationship. It is usually imbalances in these areas rather than money itself that causes relationship problems.

As with anything, when it comes to money, you and your partner will naturally have different ideas about it and how it should be managed and/or used. If the added element of debt is then thrown into the mix, the stress this brings with it is often the tipping point. However, this certainly does not have to be the case.

Again, as with anything, communication is key!

Managing conflict is part and parcel of any relationship, and debt is just one of the challenges. 

Unless there are underlying issues of concern, for example, in communication and coping skills, debt should not be something that tears you apart. But you need to be aware of this, and it may need some work. It is important to develop insight into your own relationship with money and that of your partner’s.

Marriage counsellor, Brent Sweitzer, emphasises that communication is much more than simply airing your grievances to each other. 

“It’s seeking to understand the other person and the many factors that shaped them. If both people can seek to understand, they can both feel understood,” Sweitzer says. 

”Then debt could be a catalyst for connecting at a deeper level and uncovering solutions to problems that each person wouldn’t have come up with on their own.”

Similarly, psychologist Joy Lee says, “without agreement, a plan and a united front to address the issue, debt has the potential to result in the death of a relationship.” However, “It also can be a powerful catalyst for change and growth. When couples can identify a shared obstacle or challenge, begin to strategize collaboratively and work together to overcome a problem, this can actually be used as an opportunity to deepen their bond and strengthen their relationship.”

Let’s use this knowledge to work together on all levels and to strengthen our relationships, both personally and professionally. We at WellsFaber value what is important to you and seek to understand your unique needs in achieving your life goals – together and debt-free.