Yet I am amazed at how few couples actually create a budget. For some reason people just don’t see the connection between budgeting and marriage building. When a couple creates a budget together, they agree together on where they will spend their money.
Where someone spends their money, reveals their priorities and values. So, when a couple decides together where they are going to spend their money, they are agreeing on a common set of priorities and values. Creating a budget forces a couple to talk about their needs and wants.
The deepest of needs are brought from secrecy into open discussion, which in itself is intimacy. Open communication about money produces an intimate relationship. Now let’s talk about some of the common reasons used for NOT budgeting.
(1) “Budgeting or talking about money causes us to fight”
I agree, creating a budget can cause a fight, but it’s better to get everything out in the open about how you want to spend money before you spend it. Once you spend money without the other person’s awareness, you break down the trust between each other and encourage the other person to keep secrets (as they have done to you) about what they plan to spend money on.
Keeping secrets from each other is the opposite of intimacy and can lead to lying to protect those secrets. If communication is the key to a healthy marriage, then keeping secrets from each other is going to decrease the health of your marriage.
(2) “If we create a budget, he or she will use it to control me”
I agree, sometimes a spouse wants to create a budget just to control the spending of the other. If you think that your spouse wants to use the budget to control you, then bring that up for discussion and make it clear that you do not want a budget to be used to control you, but to openly discuss and come to a common agreement on the priorities, values, needs and wants of the family.
Again, you’re better off having this discussion now than later. Having the discussion after someone has spent money that the other person was planning for something else, leads to individual money accounts with separate spending of ‘my money’ and ‘your money’.
There’s nothing wrong with individual money accounts or who spends the money, as long as you agree on how the money will be spent beforehand.
(3) “Budgeting is too complicated”
I agree, when I look at a budget from someone that has been budgeting for a long time, it looks too complicated. But, your budget doesn’t have to be like that. It could be three columns written on a napkin, hung on the fridge. Then, as time goes on and you have more discussion, the budget can grow into more columns.
This argument is a cop-out. If you’re not budgeting because of weak arguments like this, then you’re really not interested in bettering your marriage. Creating a family budget increases the most valuable possession a family has, your marriage. Budgeting increases open communication, trust and intimacy.
If more people realized the marriage building concepts of budgeting, they too would start budget. If you want to increase the intimacy of your marriage, I encourage you to create a budget and spend some time talking about it.
Here is an easy tool for creating a budget, Free Budgeting Tool.