Do you and your partner argue about finances? Are money matters a point of contention between the two of you? If so, you are not alone. Research shows that finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship and the primary cause of arguments for couples. In addition, the larger a couples' debt, the more likely they are to say that finances are one of the top issues they argue over. Conflict that is caused by financial stress can be addressed in a similar manner as any other conflict. The most important piece is open and honest communication specifically about finances. Couples should have a discussion early on in their relationship to discuss their "money philosophy" which is basically a conversation about how to spend and save money. If one partner is a spender and the other a saver, eventually this will lead to arguments down the road. So, talking about money honestly and clearly will help alleviate some conflict. If finances change, such as due to job loss, again, it is vital that couples discuss this change and set up new expectations and goals. Having a weekly or monthly budget can also help as it will set up expectations of what is to be spent and where, and what is to be saved.
There are times when arguments over finances are due to the cumulative effect of other, addtional stressors a couple may be experiencing. If there are numerous conflicts that are starting to impact the relationship negatively and profoundly, professional help from a counselor may be necessary to help a couple navigate through barriers and improve communication skills.