How to avoid fighting about money

- Statistically speaking, money conflicts are one of biggest harbingers of doom in a relationship.

According to a Utah State University study by Jeffrey Drew, couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get a divorce than those who reported disagreeing about money matters a few times a month.

But there is a lot couples can do to avoid money conflicts:

1) Make a plan together.

Get on the same financial page by sitting down together, creating a realistic budget, and joint money goals. Knowing that you are working towards a common goal can take some of the power struggle out of finances. If you find that talking about money is too high conflict for the two of you to do together, get help from professionals. A neutral mediator, such as a financial expert—an accountant, a business manager, or, if that is not financially possible, a third party both people respect—can help you both. If fighting fairly is the issue, a therapist or mediator, go a long way toward keeping the peace.

2) Have a weekly meeting.

I recommend all couples have a weekly family business meeting. In this meeting you should discuss bill paying, upcoming expenses, financial troubles, spending, large purchases, vacations and any other family business. Try to have them on the same day, at the same time every week and keep them limited to 20, no more than 30 minutes a sitting. 

3) Be honest and transparent.

Hiding shopping bags and golf clubs does not lead to trust and good teamwork or realistic budgeting. Couples need to know what is really happening in their financial life.

4) Work through you historical money hot buttons.

We all have money not buttons. Most of them come from our childhood or past relationships. It is crucial to work through those issues so you do not get triggered having money discussions. When we are aware of what sets us off, we can have more effective conversations and negotiations with our partner.

5) Learn how to negotiate financial issues in a respectful way.

No matter how much you love your partner, you will not always see eye to eye about financial decisions. Knowing how to listen, express yourself in a non-threatening way, understand your partner, and speak respectfully are crucial to negotiation in a romantic relationship. For more tips, read my chapter about negotiating in a relationship in my book The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn's 6-Step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy.

Dr. Jenn Mann is a license psychotherapist, most know for her hit shows on VH1- Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn (6 seasons) and Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn. She writes a popular weekly sex and relationship advice column for In Style Magazine called Hump Day with Dr. Jenn. She is the author of three best selling books The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn's 6-Step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy, SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years and The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids. Dr. Jenn has been in private practice for almost three decades. She lives in Beverly Hills, California with her family. To learn more about Dr. Jenn visit DoctorJenn.com or check out her Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat @DrJennMann. 

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