A study in the US surveyed almost 1,000 couples who had been married five years or less and identified sex, work and finances as the top three problem and adjustment issues for couples (Risch, Riley & Lawler: 2003).
The top three issues identified were:
- frequency of sexual relations
- balancing job and family
- financial issues
Continuing from last weeks article, financial issues can be difficult and whilst common, can pose significant issues for couples married for a short time.
3. Financial Issues: As a couple you may have separate finances, savings, assets, debts, credit cards etc. and at some point you will need to either talk about your individual situation or your combined financial position.
Understanding what are our individual drivers are with regards to Money: Discuss your orientation to money and understand your partners orientation to understand the pitfalls and to capitalise on each other’s strengths. Are you concerned about money as proving status, security, enjoyment or control? Are you a spender or saver? Compare with your partner.
Setting financial goals:
What are your short and long-term goals and how much money is required to achieve those goals. Set down plans to how much you will spend and save. Determine who is best placed to manage the finances and communicate regularly with each other on how you are tracking.
Developing a budget to understand your incoming and outgoings is the fundamental. Listing and controlling your expenditure can be very empowering and required where access to credit is easily obtained. Whilst understanding how much we spend compared to how much we earn is key, realising the link with our spend or saving habits in our relationship is also required.
Gambling and other spend related issues may require counseling or assistance from a financial advisor. I encourage you to seek it should you feel that your finances are out of control. Often this help is available free of charge.
Looking to having your financial situation in order isn’t that sexy but it does assist in freeing up the mind and the left hand side of the brain to concentrate on other priorities in your relationship. Freeing your mind from the daily grind of managing your budget can do wonders for other areas of your relationship, particularly intimacy.
Tune in next week for more tips next week.
Source: Risch, Gail S; Riley, Lisa A; Lawler, Michael G., Problematic issues in the early years of marriage: Content for premarital education. Journal of Psychology Theology, 2003, 31, 253-26.
The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy.
The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customisation of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.