Financial Infidelity in Marriage

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of FINANCIAL INFIDELITY… do you see mine up? YEP. In some form or fashion, we’ve ALL done it.

Here’s the deal.. Financial Infidelity shows up in BIG ways.. and in some small, subtle ways. See if any of these resonate with you.

- A husband JUST finds out that his wife of 5 years has debts from BEFORE they were married, and he NEVER knew about it.
- A wife tells hers kids, “don’t tell daddy about ____”, as she buys them yet ANOTHER toy after her and her husband agreed that the kids have WAAAY too many.
- A husband eats out with his coworkers daily… but his wife thinks he eats out once a week.
- A wife brings home a free puppy or kitten without talking it over with her husband.. It’s cute, but you gotta FEED it!
- A husband tears up the bathroom on a whim with a sledgehammer and starts a big remodeling project, but it wasn’t a planned expense.
- A wife has a closet full of clothes and shoes she purchased without her husbands knowledge.
- A husband, knowing that money is tight, says yes to a trip across the state because he can’t say NO to his wife. He puts on a facade that “Everythings ok” when he knows that they are behind in the bills.

These were just a few examples.. but all are very REAL circumstances that I’ve either witnessed or been a part of. I’ve also used the terms Husbands and Wives a lot in these examples.. because married partners should be 100% accountable to each other. Each time one spouse tells a little white lie, makes a hidden purchase, or buys something without speaking to the other, it UNDERMINES the relationship. If you’re single.. the only person you’re really accountable to is yourself, however once you tie the knot, your finances and your credit will be co-mingled with your spouse. I don’t mean to scare the engaged couple.. after all, two heads are better than one and when you make decisions together, you do it to benefit the both of you.

If you’re currently committing Financial Infidelity.. you may be closing off the person who can help you the most… your SPOUSE!

The wife, who had debt before she got married, it all blew up when she couldn’t pay those “Hidden” bills. When her husband found out.. was he mad? Absolutely.. but then he asked…”Why didn’t you let me know you were in over your head?”. Now he is working to help her pay down the debt.

Who are you hurting the most? Why… it’s YOU!

If you’re married…sit down with your spouse regularly and go over all your finances. Adopt a policy of FULL DISCLOSURE will all your purchases. Then set some goals and work on them together. Accomplishing goals as a partnership will bond you closer together and it is a beautiful thing.

If you’re engaged…make plans to mingle your finances together after you get married and make sure you are BOTH involved in the decision making process. When one spouse controls all the money… it becomes way to tempting to make a hidden purchase here or there while the other has to ASK for money.. this is not wise. All accounts, passwords, bills, and expenses should be shared.

Should each of you have SOME money that you can spend without being accountable? A small amount is fine.. but be careful.. if it causes resentment in your spouse.. you may want to rethink that. I know someone who always spent HIS money on games… and she was spending HER money on HIM.. does that seem fair?

Best thing to do, right now.. it to start being HONEST with your partner. Don’t make big decisions by yourself. Don’t start new projects that cost money without your confidante’s support. Don’t keep your partner in the dark either… if you know something bad is coming (like a potential layoff), don’t let your partner get blindsided by the news or be told by someone else.

Finally, be honest with yourself.

Your comments are welcome!

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When You’re Away from Your Spouse…

There are times when you have to be apart from your spouse for a little while. Your employer might send you to a training class or you might have to attend a seminar somewhere else in the country. Maybe you’re going on a man or woman’s retreat or attending a convention or conference. Before you go, don’t forget about the person you are leaving behind: your spouse.

Your spouse is an important person. So when you are leaving them for a few days or more, make sure they are taken care of at home. For example: One wife might make sure that her husband has some frozen meals on hand before she leaves for a convention. She knows that her husband won’t cook for himself but he’ll not starve if he has something quick to make. Another example is a husband who leaves for training and makes sure that he calls home often to touch base and say hello. He knows his wife wants to update him on what’s going on, so when they talk he gives her his full attention.

The key to understand is that while you are away, you CONTINUE your relationship instead of putting it on hold. With that in mind, here are some do’s and don’ts with regards to being away from your spouse.

THE DO’s:

1) Check in often - Call your spouse a few times per day to say hello and that you miss them.  For me this is like touching home base.  Don’t just talk about the logistical stuff (what did the kids eat?), but talk about whats happening in both of your lives.

2) Take care of your spouse’s needs – Make sure your spouse at home has everything they need before you leave.  Men, make sure your wife has enough cash on hand and transportation.  Ladies, make sure your husband have enough food and clear instructions (if needed) on how to run the household.

3) Update your spouse – Let your spouse know when you’re getting on the plane, when you land, and when you arrive at your destination.  Traveling is stressful, not only for you, but also for your spouse.  Let them know that you are okay and you made it to the next part of your trip.

4) Be understanding – Your spouse is left to do things that you normally do around the house, and they may not do them exactly the same way you do.  With that in mind, show your appreciation for any amount of effort your spouse puts in at home while you’re away.

THE DON’Ts

1) Don’t brag – While it’s normal to enjoy yourself while you are away, don’t call your spouse to tell them what their missing out on.  They might be at home taking care of the kids, they don’t need to hear “Woo Hoo!” in the background while you’re at the dance club.  If circumstances were different, your spouse would be able to be there with you.  So don’t rub it in, it’s cruel.

2) Don’t ignore your spouse – When your spouse calls you, give them your full attention.  Things can happen at home and you may be needed to make a quick decision.  Don’t blow off your spouse and say something like “Don’t bother me unless it’s life of death…”

3) Don’t leave angry – Those moments leading up to your trip can sometimes be awkward and tense.  Don’t fight with your spouse just before you leave.  If you do, call quickly and apologize.

4) Don’t relax immediately when you get home – Men, don’t come home and leave the unpacking for your wife to do.  When you walk in the door, be prepared to offer your help to whatever needs to be done in the house, and then relax WITH your wife later.

Even if you only travel away from your spouse a few times a year there is still an impact on your spouse.  Make sure that impact is minimized and that your spouse is taken care of.  When you get back, spend time with your spouse and your children.  Time spent reconnecting will go farther than any gift or souvenir you can bring home.

How has traveling away from your spouse affected your marriage?

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Walking in Agreement

Imagine a couple taking a walk down the beach. You’ve seen them… walking side by side…talking with each other. They started at the same place… and the ended at the same place.

When you walk together financially with your spouse… it’s as beautiful as walking down a beach together. You start on the same page… you both know what your financial situation looks like… you both know what your goals are and you both agree on the steps to reach those goals.

When a couple does not talk about money.. does not have the same goals… does not have the same methods.. does not start in the same place with the same information… how can they possible walk together in agreement? The outside observer will witness one partner walking north and the other partner walking south. They are so far away that they can’t possibly HEAR each other.

What happens when a couple doesn’t communicate? They start living separate lives under one roof. There is division…disunity…it opens the door for financial infidelity…and it causes pain. But it doesn’t have to be this way.. because a couple can learn how to communicate financially.

Let’s take a classic example of a Spender/Saver relationship. He’s a spender… She’s a saver… He likes to have fun, and buy gifts for people… She like’s to have cash on hand and cannot stand wasting money.

At first this couple clashes big time: He calls her a tightwad… she calls him a child.. He says she is no fun at all… she says he’ll spend all the money until they’re broke. They are focused on each others flaws…and the negativity continues until their both start walking in different directions financially.. and then communication completely stops.

Instead… if they focus on each others STRENGTHS… they can then realize their OWN flaws… and work together to walk along the same path.

He can realize that she DOES like to have fun… she just doesn’t want to pay FULL PRICE for fun. So he can say to her.. “Honey.. I’d like to go to this water park.. are they running any specials?”. This gets HER excited, because she loves deals. So they start planning a trip to the water park when it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

She can realize that he’s not wasteful, but generous! She realizes his gift giving for what it is..and she can also realize the joy in giving to others. So she starts finding ways to buy gifts for less. He doesn’t mind buying gifts cheap… because now he can buy more gifts than he used to.

So if you’re in financial discord with your partner…try to understand what strengths your partner has…and focus on those instead of their flaws. Start being honest with your partner in what you’re doing too, and if you need help.. ask for it.

Two people can’t walk together unless they agree. They have to agree on where to start, what pace to walk, and where they are going. Walking together financially is a beautiful thing. Just like a walk down the beach.

What are your thoughts?

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