As a Houston couples counselor, I talk to a lot of married couples about their financial disputes, and more often than not, I find that the root of the problem is that they are simply not communicating! In fact, many of them have never sat down and discussed their short-term and long-term financial goals together. This is why money issues is one area I emphasis in premarital counseling, and also when counseling existing marriages. In my experience, it seems like usually people partner up as one person is from The Tribe of Spenders with someone from The Tribe of Savers.  Funny how that is often the case

Houston Couples Counselor: Why Money Matters for Premarital Counseling Houston and Marriage Counseling

Where we want to spend our money often says a lot about our values, so by discussing differences in financial goals, we often uncover other more deep-rooted relationship problems.

For example, one spouse may want to save up for a mortgage down payment and a college fund for their future children, while the other may be more focused on saving up for a month-long tour through Europe. Neither goal is more or less important than the other, but it says a lot about where each person’s mindset is. One is ready to settle down and start a family, while the other seems more prepared to enjoy the freedom of being young and unencumbered.

By working with a Houston couples counselor, this couple could find ways to talk through these differences, ensure their future goals really are compatible, and find a way to meet in the middle. Of course, not all issues are this extreme, but it’s better to talk through any issues – even smaller ones – in premarital counseling.  By working together toward mutually agreed on goals, you can build a more stable financial future and avoid future stress and relationship problems. And when you’re saying your vows, you’ll be better prepared to commit until “death to us part.” You’ll have a better (and joint!) vision of what that life together looks like.

If you are currently dealing with financial disputes in your marriage, or if you are happily engaged and ready to take the next step in your relationship, contact our center for premarital counseling Houston or marriage counseling from an experienced Houston couples counselor.

As a Houston Marriage counselor, I can tell you that unemployment can have a profound effect on your relationship.The couple’s money issues that may have existed before the job loss are now heightened. If one partner is still working, he or she may feel resentment towards the one who is staying at home. And the overall stress of the situation can lead to cranky moods, anxiety, and even depression.

How much does unemployment matter? 75% of women said they wouldn’t marry someone who was unemployed, yet, in the same survey from YourTango and ForbesWoman, 91% of single women say they would marry for love over money. These findings might seem contradictory, but, from my experience as a Houston marriage counselor, I don’t think they are.

Houston Marriage Counselor on Unemployment’s Effect on Relationships

When we get married, we want both fiscal and emotional stability. Finding the right partner can help us to achieve both. We may not be sure if we are ready to jump into a lifetime commitment with someone when everything is so up in the air. But before you break up with your significant other or head to divorce court, consider this: unemployment is a temporary situation. Whether it takes weeks, months, or even years, it will eventually end.

This is a time when you can be there for your significant other, and good news, at least one of you has more time to work on those relationship problems. Support them on the days they are feeling depressed and hopeless, and provide them with the encouragement they need to keep trying to find work. Work on your communication skills, particularly in regards to money matters.

You may be pressed for cash, but you still need to find ways to relieve stress and enjoy each other’s company. Going out for a date night doesn’t have to cost a dime. Go for a walk in the park, make breakfast in bed, enjoy a nice soothing bath together. Be creative!  And frugal! ALL people, including couples, need to have a budget and update it regularly.  Couples need to communicate regularly about the budget, especially with big changes on the income (or expense) side occurring.

You can emerge from this tough time as a stronger unit. Seek help from friends and family. And if you are still struggling with relationship problems as a result of unemployment, consider getting professional help from an experienced Houston marriage counselor.

As a Houston relationship counselor, I can tell you that one of the most common relationship problems that couples face is disagreements about their finances. We all approach money slightly differently. You may have different comfort levels taking risks with your money or using credit. One of you may be more prone to saving up than the other. You may even have different priorities when it comes to where to spend your money.

But I’ve noticed in my time as a Houston relationship counselor that these differences can be strengths if you are able to make compromises. Someone that tends to save away all their money for a rainy day may be helped by a partner who helps them live a little once and a while. And big spenders may benefit from having a partner with a more long-term outlook that involves some savings and investing. But reaching middle ground isn’t always easy. Avoid relationship problems by having honest, open discussions about your finances on a regular basis.

3 Tips to Preventing Arguments over Money from a Houston Relationship Counselor

Make a budget. Getting it all down on paper can make your financial situation clearer. You may find income you didn’t realize you had or recognize hidden expenses.

Discuss long-term priorities. Make sure you’re both on the same page about where the money you are saving will be used in the future. Will it go towards retirement, a college account for the kids, the down payment for a new home, or a little bit of each? It can help to create separate accounts for each goal.

Visit a financial advisor. Between mortgages, tax deductions, 401ks, IRAs, CDs, and the dozens of other financial terms that you may need to discuss, it isn’t always easy to see what you can afford or how much you should be saving. A financial advisor can make sure you both understand where you stand and how to reach your goals together. But before going there, it can be beneficial to make a list of those long-term goals in order of priority.

Accept your differences. As a Houston relationship counselor, this is something I work with my clients on in all areas of their lives, but financial decisions can be a tough area. You may now understand why your partner needs a new dress, but consider that she may not understand your need for the latest iPhone. Make room in the budget for the things that matter to your partner.

Don’t hide things from one another. It may be embarrassing to admit that you went over budget this month because of an impulse buy, but it will be easier to discuss with your partner if you are honest about it rather than them discovering it later when you don’t have enough money to pay the electric bill. On the other side of this, you have to be understanding when your partner slips up. Make it comfortable for your significant other to talk with you when he or she makes a mistake.

Keep your emotions in check. Especially in these tough financial times, it can be hard not to get passionate about money matters, but it makes it difficult to communicate if you get emotional. Set ground rules before you start. No yelling. Avoid personal attacks. And take a break if you need to.

Things Still Heated? Considering Visiting a Houston Relationship Counselor

A professional can help guide the process so that you’re having discussions, not arguments, and teach you the communication skills you need to continue financial discussions at home. Do you find that every time you try to talk about your finances an argument erupts? Or maybe one partner simply shuts down and refuses to talk further.  Some couples find themselves avoiding discussions about finances altogether because it becomes too uncomfortable. In these cases, it can help to talk to a Houston relationship counselor.