We all know that the economic times are tough: stocks are down, unemployment is up. While the economy certainly affects our wallet, it can also affect our family. Did you know that money worries are the # 1 cause of couple disputes? In a recent study Authors, Papp, Cumings and Goeke-Morey, in the February 2009 edition of Family Relations found that often couples did not rank money as #1 when asked to rank what they thought were the biggest causes of conflict. However, when they were observed working through different conflicts, money was often more emotional, tended to last longer, and were more likely to remain unresolved than conflicts not related to finances.
As couples navigate these tricky issues, and perhaps find an even greater need to deal with them in these tough times, it is important to be aware of the emotion and tension that is often involved. Here are a few tips for these tough discussions:
- Don’t place blame, rather focus on how to resolve and work through the problem
- Be patient with your partner…and with yourself
- Take a break if you need to cool off- go for a walk or separate for a little while to calm down. But come back to resolve the issue. Don’t let the issue stay unresolved.
- Don’t bring up past issues—this is not productive and only serves to hurt the current discussion.
- Often, in the case of money, a budget or action plan is always good to have- to refer to when discussing money issues. Try to make this budget or plan together, with both sides inputting.
- Involve the whole family in financial planning. This can help children and teens begin to learn to manage money
- Try to think of things to do with your kids that do not involve money such as:
- Family Mealtimes together
- Picnic in the Park
- Having a game night
- Doing volunteer work together
Resolving money issues is never easy. But if you are able to work through these hard issues with patience and compassion, your relationship may end up stronger in the end!