Money does not come from an endless supply and it is surprising how many young couples are unaware of its limits. Too often parents supply their children with the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. They often give their children many extras, such as a car, gas allowances, and college tuition. Young people may have a job, but the money is “fun money.” There is nothing necessary to buy with the money, so it is spent on frivolous things as the mood of the young person directs.
Unfortunately, it is not until marriage that most couples face having to pay bills each month. Since young people have yet to progress up the ladder of success, they find themselves with limited funds that must be budgeted between the things they must have and the things they would like to have. Yet it is so easy to pick up temporary cash to purchase things on credit. In their eagerness to have it now, few couples consider the fact that they must eventually pay the money back – usually at excessive interest rates. Debts quickly accumulate and with the debts come stress and arguments.
Even if a couple manages to avoid the trap of credit card induced debt, money still becomes a source of contention. No matter how much or little a person makes, there are still limits to the funds available for purchases. Eventually choices have to be made. We can purchase either A or B, but we do not have the funds to buy both. The arguments start when the husband chooses A and the wife chooses B. Many wives have no problems with the husband being the head of the family until he wants to spend money on the wrong item. Many husbands claim they will consider their spouse’s desires before making a decision until he realizes she will never agree to his plan. It is much better in his mind to just make the purchase than to face an extended argument.
The solution is for both the husband and the wife to come down from their high horse of knowing they are right, remember their proper roles as a husband and wife, and start thinking as a family and not two individuals. Few decisions will make everyone happy. The reason a decision needs to be made is because one or both parties are unhappy with the choices. However, a choice must be made. If a mutually agreeable choice cannot be made, then the husband, as head of the family, must make the final decision. That doesn’t mean that the husband always gets his way. Often the best choice for the family is not the husband’s favorite decision. Yet, personal desires must be set aside for the good of the family as a whole. This also requires that wives abide by their husband’s decisions. The time for discussion is before the choice is made, not after. You might be a 100 percent certain that your husband made the wrong choice, but there are times you will have to let him face the consequences of his decision.
One of the worse ways couples “solve” their money problems is by having separate bank accounts. Couples with two accounts start thinking of their income as his money and her money. Two accounts cause a separation instead of a coming together. Disagreements arise over who is going to pay the electric bill and out of whose account will the groceries be purchased. Having separate accounts means decisions can be made without consulting your spouse. In the short term it avoids arguments, but in the long term problems are not solved. Having a single, joint account forces people to think as a unit. The first few years may be rough as you make the transition, but it is worth the discomfort in the long run.
In order for finances to be controlled, plans and budgets need to be made together. The husband has the ultimate responsibility for the goals of the family, but those goals should be set with his wife’s understanding and input. The wife has the responsibility of working within the limits of both their income and their goals. At times hard choices will have to be made, but that is a part of being responsible. The husband is responsible for the income the family has to work with, and even here there will be difficult decisions to make as you journey through life together.
What makes these separate roles work well together is when both the husband and wife work to make the duties of the other easier to manage. A husband should not feel that his wife is spending all or more than he can bring home. A wife should not feel her husband is too lazy to bring in enough money. There will be times when money is tight, but both the husband and the wife should trust that the other is doing all he can to make the best of a bad situation.