Money can’t buy love, but money fights can certainly threaten the love you feel for your partner. Disagreements over finances are a top cause of fights among committed couples and, in a worst-case scenario, can even be a major contributing factor to divorce.
The good news is, you don’t have to let financial issues come between you and your significant other. You just need to adopt some good habits for dealing with money within your relationship.
While this may be easier said than done, research from The Ascent points toward some behaviors that may ensure money is never an obstacle to relationship bliss.
1. Each partner gets some fun money
Fighting over purchases is a leading cause of relationship strife, according to The Ascent. In fact, 82% of couples have argued over purchases, compared with just 18% who’ve never had this type of fight. Lying about purchase prices, hiding purchases, and other dishonesty surrounding shopping are the most common examples of financial infidelity committed by both men and women.
It’s not surprising so many people are arguing about what they’re buying — or even hiding purchases from their partner. Relationships tend to make people feel constrained in their spending. In fact, 65% of men and 47% of women said their relationship prevented them from owning something they wanted.
Being in love shouldn’t have to mean giving up other things you love. To make sure neither partner feels they’re missing out on things they want, try doling out some money to each partner for spending with no questions asked.
The exact amount of ‘splurge’ money allocated to each partner should fit within your budget goals. But, as long as your partner stays within pre-determined spending limits and the purchase isn’t illegal or immoral, there should be no judgments about where the cash goes.
2. Discuss purchases over a certain dollar threshold
While both partners should have their own money to blow, this doesn’t mean shared decision-making isn’t necessary when it comes to spending decisions. In fact, it’s important for you and your partner to get on the same page about how much you’re each able to spend without discussing the purchase with your partner.
Most couples agree there’s a certain price threshold above which a discussion is warranted — although there’s a slight disparity over exactly what the limit should be. Men prefer their partners notify them in advance about purchases more than $261 on average, while women want to be given the heads up about purchases topping $227. And, men believe buying decisions should be made jointly for purchases that cost $498 on average, while women want shared-decision making once a price tag reaches $427.
The good news is, these numbers aren’t too far apart. So sit down with your partner and set a rule you’re both willing to follow about how much you can each spend without involving the other.
3. Be transparent about your finances
Speaking of shared discussion — being willing to talk openly about money is pretty essential to staying in a happy relationship. After all, the choices each partner makes will affect your joint financial goals.
The good news is, The Ascent found 82% of survey respondents were transparent with their partner about their finances, compared with just 18% who kept money matters private. Further, seven in 10 people described financial discussions as easy.
If you struggle to talk about money with your partner, that’s something you need to work on. To get started, focus on the positive, such as setting shared financial goals. This can be an easier way to lead into harder subjects, including how to make a budget that gives you the spare cash to accomplish those goals.
It’s also a good idea to set aside dedicated time to talk about money each month. And, remember, try to keep judgment and blame out of conversations to encourage openness. The Ascent’s study revealed as many as 67% of men and 73% of women have committed financial infidelity, and you don’t ever want to make your partner feel like they have to lie about money to get along.
These blissful money habits will help your relationship
Now you know some of the keys to stopping money fights before they start. If you put these habits into practice, hopefully, your love can grow unimpeded by money and conflict over finances can become a thing of the past.
Originally published at https://www.fool.com on August 11, 2019.