I met Jon and Linda when they had only been married for two years. They were already struggling.
When I probed about the major issue causing them problems, Linda explained that Jon had lied. She considered it equal to cheating.
It wasn’t over sex. No co-worker indiscretion. No flirting text messages to old ex-girlfriends.
He had been deceptive about their finances. Specifically the money he was using to gamble, play golf, and support his hobbies.
Some call it: The destructive sin of financial unfaithfulness that ruins marriages! If you are guilty of this relationship sin, here is some sound financial advice for young couples.
Unfaithfulness is Not Just About Sex
Mention unfaithfulness in a marriage and more than likely your thoughts will focus on sexual relationships.
Yet over 50% of divorces are not at all related to sexual unfaithfulness but rather financial unfaithfulness.
In today’s debt ridden society, the face of unfaithfulness is financial and divorces are happening much more repeatedly as a result of uncovered financial secrets. More often then not, women are financially unfaithful compared to men however financial unfaithfulness is wide ranging and will annihilate a marriage as quickly as sexual unfaithfulness.
Unfortunately, debt is common among young married couples. Too often they enter the relationship with school debt, car payments, mortgages, and lifestyle debt from credit cards.
Many times one partner will be secretive about spending simply to avoid a confrontation. This often backfires and their partner feels violated. Deception destroys trust and breaks communication.
The Snowball of Debt
As soon as the unfaithfulness begins, it usually does not stop until it hits the point of no return.
When this happens, debt is so big, it’s impossible to hide.
If the problem is not addressed, not only does debt mount up, but feelings of frustration, anger and bitterness reach the boiling point. Many times it is the beginning of the end.
Most young couples fail to realize how devastating this type of deception is for their relationship. Trust is the foundation of a healthy marriage. Without, there cannot be true intimacy, communication or shared values.
Men seem to be less apt to handle the financial unfaithfulness then women and when it is discovered that their spouse has been financially unfaithful then a battle will often begin.
How can a young married couple to do to avoid this disaster?
1) Live with a Budget
A predefined spending plan resolves most problems.
When you know ahead of time what you can spend, it eliminates arguments, struggles and problems.
A budget should be set before a couple gets married. And it should be set by both parties so you both feel responsible and accountable to the budget.Wise couples set a budget before they get married. And it should be set by both parties so you both feel responsible and accountable to the budget. Click To Tweet
Years ago (when I was managing a staff of employees) I learned that pre-defined job descriptions and expectations kept me from feeling bad about confronting an employee over poor performance. The written job description was the measure; not my arbitrary ideas.
When talking with them about their performance, I simply went back to the agreement and written expectations. They became their own judge in the matter. Plus it was easy to get back on track.
The same applies to marriage and budgets. The budget becomes the judge. Not you as a spouse.
2) Be accountable to one another and help each other prepare and maintain the budget.
When only one spouse has their hand in control of the cookie jar, temptation can often cause for the hand to dip in more then its fair share. This can often start out innocently but quickly grows into a problem while the other partner sits by innocently unaware of the financial burden that is starting.
Sometimes one partner is more skilled with finances. This is normal. However, even if one partner ‘takes care of the money, it is vital to schedule a weekly time to go over finances together.
During this time you should:
• Review the expenditures for the week
• Balance your budget (make sure you are not spending more than you make)
• Discuss concerns and issues
• Hold each other accountable
This extra step of accountability will avoid things from getting so far out of control that you drown in mismanagement.
3) Live below your means.
This simply means spend less than you make.
If you don’t have it. Don’t spend it. Never live on credit just to have a few things you desire.
Save for the things that matter. You’ll find you even enjoy them better if you have saved and sacrificed for them.
This is difficult for many couples. The pressure to have, do and possess everything your friends have is more than many couples can handle.
This is another reason for a budget.
The principle of living below your ensures that you will never have finances out of control. It may mean you do without a few luxuries. But you will never be over your head in debt if you simply spend less than you make.The principle of living below your ensures that you will never have finances out of control. It may mean you do without a few luxuries. But you will never be over your head in debt if you simply spend less than you make. Click To Tweet
These three, practical principles will help you manage your money in a way that eliminates marital unfaithfulness over finances.
When money problems cause problems in your marriage, your partner (who should be your best friend) suddenly becomes your enemy. You lie, deceive, cheat and live in secrecy. This is not the ingredients for a healthy marriage.When money problems cause problems in your marriage, your partner (who should be your best friend) suddenly becomes your enemy. Click To Tweet
It erodes the very foundation of your relationship – which is trust.
If you have financial issues you need to discuss with your spouse, don’t put it off. Schedule a time to discuss where you are financially and how to get back on track.
Putting this off will only prolong the inevitable.
If you need help getting your financial life in order, check out the resources below.
Marital unfaithfulness is not just about sex. More often than not, money problems erode the relationship.
There are three steps you can take to make sure you keep your marriage safe from financial disaster.
- Unfaithfulness is Not Just About Sex
- The Snowball of Debt
- 1) Live with a Budget
- 2) Be accountable to one another and help each other prepare and maintain the budget.
- 3) Live below your means.