Money won't save your marriage

Marriages fray because of the relationship, not a lack of money, Hamm writes.

Chuck Kirman/Ventura County Star/AP/File
Veronica Barber shows her ring to family members after she married Bart Maciejewski in Ventura, Calif., in this November 2011 file photo. Financial woes can often trigger relationship strife, but earning more money won't fix your problems, Hamm writes.

Money is often a major conflict in marital situations. Lots of little unexpected events and some bad spending choices can quickly add up to a pretty poor financial picture and that can poison a marriage.

Many people respond to this situation by thinking that they can fix everything by earning some more money. They add overtime at work. They take a second job. They start filling their hours with odd jobs.

The hope is that this will fix up the financial issues – and that will, in turn, fix up the marital issues.

The problem is that it rarely works.

Marriages fray because of one reason: the fraying of the relationship between the two people.

Money issues do not cause that fraying. They can certainly irritate it and cause the rift to grow worse, but they’re not the root cause.

The root cause is a lack of communication and time together, paired with misplaced trust and misunderstood expectations. You don’t cure that by throwing money at the problem.

You cure it by talking through your problems. Talk about your goals. Talk about the situation you’re in and how you can dig out of it together.

You cure it by spending more time together. Go on walks. Spend evenings together. If that means backing down from some commitments, so be it.

You cure it by asking yourself what you can do to make sure that the problem doesn’t happen again, and that doesn’t mean leaning on your partner to make a change. What can you do?

You cure it by listening to what your partner is actually saying instead of just waiting for your turn to talk.

More money alone won’t solve a marital problem. Fix the marriage first, then focus together on solving the money issues.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. 

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