The key to successfully managing money and marriage

A recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) regarding money and marriage resulted in some alarming statistics. According to the results, 68 percent of respondents indicated they would feel uncomfortable discussing money with their future spouse. And five percent indicated the conversation would be so unpleasant, it would cause them to call off the wedding.

I don't know about you, but I find these numbers to be pretty alarming — on a few levels. 

  • First, if we’re handling our finances in a way that we already know others wouldn’t approve of, that’s a red flag. It’s time to reassess and reprioritize.
  • Second, we all know you can’t avoid “the talk” for too long. And if two people who are entering into a life-long commitment can’t communicate about serious subjects (no matter how unpleasant they are!), then they are setting themselves up for failure.

The key to a happy marriage lies in communication. And the key to good communication is trust. So ultimately, if you don’t trust your partner enough to believe that you could persevere through a tough conversation, there are likely some underlying issues that need to be addressed BEFORE walking down the aisle.

Don’t get me wrong, I know from personal experience that discussing finances is rarely (if ever!) a pleasant conversation. But I also know it’s a necessary conversation.

Being the daughter of a psychologist whose specialty is marriage counseling, I had it hammered into my head from a young age that open, honest communication (which also requires listening!) is important for a healthy relationship. Yet, even with that knowledge, I can tell you that 90 percent of the fights my husband (of only 10 months, mind you!) and I have had, are related to finances. So trust me, I get it!

But I also know that with every conversation, we get more comfortable talking about those hard-hitting money issues. And in the long run, it has helped to make our relationship stronger.

So whether you’re engaged, a newlywed or you’ve been married for 35 years, there’s still a lot you can do to improve your finances – and ultimately, your relationship. You just have to start talking.

Download our Love and Money eBook for more tips about starting the conversation, as well as tools and resources to help manage your finances as a couple.

How do you approach the topic of finances in your relationship? Any tips, tricks or strategies? Share your thoughts by commenting on this post!

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.