Marriage can be hard enough, but when you throw in a big pile of credit card debt it can make things nigh-on impossible. Even if financial problems aren’t the main issue within an ailing marriage, trouble paying the bills will, at the very least, makes any existing issues infinitely more difficult to deal with.
Couples can have disagreements about how to do the laundry and how to discipline the kids, so it’s no wonder that they might have some disagreements about how to handle credit card debt. One person may want to attack the credit card debt aggressively until it’s paid in full while the other person might prefer to make minimum payments so they can save up to pay cash for a vacation. Whatever the situation, credit card debt is rarely something that brings two people closer together!
Some marriage experts site financial problems as the single biggest reason for divorce, while other experts suggest that financial difficulties might just be a problem that couples can blame all their other problems on. Most agree, however, that you need to be in synch with your spouse when it comes to how you handle your debt if you want your marriage to last the distance.
Are you financially cheating on your spouse? In other words, do you hide purchases on credit cards and obligate money out before you talk it over with your husband or wife? In situations like this it becomes more than just bad spending habit, and instead becomes a trust issue. If your spouse can’t trust you with money, how will he or she trust you with anything else?
Here are a few things that couples can do in order to deal with credit card debt and avoid it becoming a relationship-ending problem.
1. Share information. You may not have merged your finances, but your spouse should still have an accurate idea of your financial situation (no matter how embarrassing).
2. Plan your attack. Figure out a budget you can both stick to while also staying fair to the both of you. For example, don’t decide that you’d rather work aggressively to pay off your personal debt and then work on your spouse’s, unless this is something you both agree to.
3. Stick to the plan. Keep each other accountable in all financial matters. Don’t run out and buy a new TV on your credit card unless it’s in your budget and you both agree to the purchase.
4. Forgive each other. You’ll probably both slip up occasionally when it comes to paying off your credit card debt. A healthy marriage will allow both partners sporadic mistakes in dealing with money and in other areas.
Credit Card Debt and Stress
Having a bunch of credit card debt can be stressful, and anyone who has ever been married knows that stress can sometimes lead to arguments and marital problems. When partners start to blame each other for the credit card debt it can’t be good for the marriage.
Approach this just like any other marital conflict. Instead of wasting time and energy on pointing fingers, concentrate on solving the problem. Getting your credit card debt in order – and maybe even paid off entirely – will probably bring the two of you even closer together.
Wouldn’t that be nice?