Psychology for Living

Gwen Randall-Young
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Finances and Marital Stress

"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility". ~ George Levinger



Financial issues can be one of the major stressors in marital relationships. Often this happens because the couple has not had an in-depth discussion and come to an agreement about how the family finances will be managed.

Will there be a joint account, or will individual finances be kept separate? How will the living expenses be shared? How will decisions be made about major purchases?

Will each individual have some funds for discretionary spending?

If these issues are not addressed, many conflicts will arise. In some cases, the man says, since he earns the money, he has control over it. The woman is given grocery money, but has to ask when she needs to make other purchases. Often she is questioned about how she used up the money so fast.

Or it may happen that the man uses all of his paycheck to support the family, while his working spouse uses hers to buy things for herself. Or one may go out and make major purchases without checking with the other.

Resentments over finances will spill over to other areas of the relationship. A healthy relationship is based on a sense of equality, and the ability to resolve issues in ways that leave both individuals feeling heard, valued and satisfied.

If you are unable to reach agreement on how finances will work in your relationship, rather than enduring years of struggle, it may be wise to get professional help so you can get things on a healthy track. You might be amazed at the positive effects this has on the entire relationship.



Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award winning Registered Psychologist in private practice. Visit her website www.gwen.ca or contact her directly: gwendall@shaw.ca Books and CDs available online www.gwen.ca.



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