Her name is Janet. Or, if you like, you can call her by any other name you’d like. The name doesn’t matter, what matters is that you know her story. She’s my friend, I’ve known her for years. She stood by me through all my upheavals. And yet, when the time came for me to do the same, I couldn’t. She wouldn’t let me. I spent hours sitting beside her watching her cry. I knew something was amiss.
I was determined to find out what had gone wrong in her life. Money issues in marriage? Or was it something to do with her personal life? Read on to find out just what was ailing my friend, and how she got through her troubles.
How Money Issues In Marriage Plagued A Happy Relationship
Rewind to eight years ago when she first found love. This in itself was a huge announcement to me, as she’d always been so content with work and never thought about getting married. She always kept busy with her work, so when she announced that she was tying the knot, her parents were on cloud nine and I was stupefied.
Her marriage was a lavish affair. No expense had been spared on the clothes, the venue, the décor, and the chicken kebabs were the softest that I’d ever eaten. Given how little regard she ever gave to marriage, I was blown away by how excited she was for this new chapter in her life.
Related Reading: Best Wedding Stories – Collection Of Romantic Stories
A glimpse of “happily ever after”
The next few years were like a fairy tale for her At least that’s what I thought every time she talked about her husband, her in-laws, her new home. Her husband had given her a new car, there seemed to be no hints of the marriage ever going through a rocky phase, let alone any money problems in the marriage. They’d go to foreign locations every so often. On paper, life seemed pretty perfect for Janet. Her in-laws encouraged her to work as well. The icing on the cake was that she had a child with her husband, a bonny girl.
Then one day she called me and asked me to meet her at our favorite haunt, Olive Garden.
She sounded calm. But I knew something was amiss. We never met on a weekday, because she always wanted to get back to her family as early as she could.
As we sat drinking iced coffee, I saw a different Janet. Her face was usually full of grit, self-composure and self-belief. That evening, however, I saw her fingers shaking. With tears steadily streaming down her face, she said to me, “He’s leaving. I didn’t stop him. We are doing it as maturely as we can.”
Money issues in marriage started causing problems
Her husband earned less than her and yet he never lost an opportunity to accuse her of being a spendthrift with his money. Such accusations instilled money issues in marriage, marring their seemingly perfect relationship with insecurities and trust issues. When in reality, she was spending her own money and that too on him, his parents and their daughter!
Where things went south in her marriage
Eventually, the husband took things to the next level. He announced that he wanted a separation because he felt that he couldn’t live with a woman who always wanted to spend rather than think about the future and save. He was fighting over money with his spouse whereas she already had insurance policies, investments in mutual funds and fixed deposits.
She could have indulged in a dirty divorce game. But she did not, that was not her. She chose the simpler and saner route.
Related Reading: When The Wife Makes More Money Than The Husband
It was just a plain and simple walking away with mutual consent, she even got possession of the baby. She did not let money arguments in the marriage cause a bitter rift and even allowed free visitation of their child to her husband. She didn’t care for his money, she had plenty of her own. Janet wasn’t one to let marriage and debt play games with her mindset. She didn’t even take any maintenance from him.
Naturally, the days that followed weren’t easy for her. Moving on from divorce is never easy. Being a single mother in the city, without parents to fall back on, is not a cakewalk. But she did it. Right from getting a place to live to connecting with her aunt who would look after her child while she was at work.
How she moved on from a failed marriage
I kept in touch with her through it all. Whenever we talked, each and every time, her wedding albums would come out. The more I told her that this was the one thing she was doing wrong, she told me, “It is all that I have left of the past.” Then she would break down and cry. She didn’t listen to me.
She would clutch the pictures close. They seemed to be her companions.
Then one day, around a couple of months ago, when I was at her place, and it was long after dinner, she took out those albums and handed them to me.
“Take these. And do whatever you want to do with them. But don’t show them to me again. I don’t need these pictures anymore,” she said.
Related Reading: How To Fight Right In Divorce
Lots of questions erupted inside me, she gave me answers to none. That’s Janet for you. She makes her own decisions. And when she does, she just does; not offering explanations till she wants to. But, since that night, I have seen a change within her. She looks and sounds more like the girl I knew ages ago. I still don’t know what it was that made her give up the albums. But I’m hoping that someday she will tell me.
As for me – I haven’t thrown away the albums. They’ve been packed into a box and put right at the back of my cupboard. I look at the box once in a while. It’s a reminder to me that things change. We always have the option to take it in our stride or give up. My friend chose the former.
How To Deal With Money Issues In Marriage
Just like in my case, financial infidelity in a marriage can be the reason why everything turned sour in an otherwise healthy relationship. Money issues in marriage can stem from insecurities, lying about the expenses/income or making financial decisions without informing your partner.
Money issues in marriage don’t have to be as severe as they were in mine, however. Once you spot that there might be some foul play involved, that’s when you should try and use some of the following steps to make sure fighting over money with your spouse doesn’t ruin your relationship.
1. Understand each other’s mindset and communicate often
To fix any existing money issues in your marriage or to make sure they never occur in the first place, have a constructive conversation with your partner about money and how you both want to go about spending/saving your finances. Does your partner want to spend more than you? Does your partner want to invest all of your money into something you’re not comfortable with?
Having a conversation about it will make sure nobody takes decisions on their own. Let your partner know that it’s absolutely inexcusable to be left out of the decision-making process.
2. Demand respect in your relationship
If financial foul play has occurred in your marriage, it may have stemmed from other factors that need to be addressed immediately. For example, if your partner doesn’t respect your opinion or decision-making, they’ll see little reason to try and include you in the process.
Let your partner know that you deserve respect and without mutual respect in a relationship, there will be no relationship in the first place.
3. Assign a budget and stick to it
The best way to organize your expenses and know which money goes where is to establish a clear budget with no room left for confusion in it. Once everything is planned out on paper, which probably means you two had a conversation about it, balancing the books and having clarity on money will be a lot easier.
4. Encourage each other to not lie
Even if you made a terrible financial decision, letting your partner know about it is important if you want to avoid money issues in marriage. Don’t let your purchases, income sources, or interests be a secret. A good marriage is built around support, honesty, and trust. When these things are established, you’ll automatically avoid money issues in your marriage.
(Name changed to protect identity)
Financial infidelity in marriage refers to when spouses hide debt, spend money, have secret accounts, or anything related to money that is being kept hidden from their partner. Financial infidelity can cause multiple money issues in marriage as well as trust issues.
Couples can and in most cases should keep their money separate from each other. Having separate accounts will lead to fewer fights over money with the spouse. However, keeping separate accounts doesn’t give you free rein to hide your income or monetary activities from your partner. Being open and truthful with your finances is a must for every marriage.