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Married to a Financial Opposite? Here are 5 Tips to Tackle it the Right Way

They say opposites attract. We’ve all seen that tall heavy-set dude with a wife that’s 5 feet tall and under a hundred pounds. How about the bubbly extrovert who’s married to someone who never says a word? In successful relationships, people complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s simple human nature to be attracted to your opposite.

Sometimes, this leads to problems, though. Take finances for instance. Conservative spenders will spend time with a loan payoff calculator exploring new ways to get out of debt quickly. Free spenders don’t care about any of that. They just want to be “happy” and spend when they feel like it. That’s an oil and water mix in a marriage. If you’re in that situation, try the following:

Tip #1: Do a personal inventory and share it with your spouse

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Understanding yourself is the first step in understanding the needs of another in your relationship. The personal inventory process is one of the most loving and caring things an individual can do for themselves. Take out a pen and paper and ask yourself some difficult questions. Include personal feelings, preferences, and financial philosophies.

Tip #2: Look for areas where you can compromise

You’ll see some distinct differences between you and your spouse when you share inventories with one another. These don’t have to be “deal breakers” in your marriage. Identify areas where compromise will be necessary and talk about how you can accomplish that. Finding middle ground shouldn’t be all that difficult if you truly love one another.

Tip #3: Highlight points where your differences are an advantage

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View your marriage from a 360° perspective. When you and your spouse are standing back-to-back, you’re looking in opposite directions, but you’re also covering each other’s backs. That’s what being different is all about. The issues that you’re unlikely to find important could be meaningful to your spouse. Understand what those are and support one another.

Tip #4: Set some joint financial goals

Everyone has personal goals. That’s OK. Just make sure to share them with one another. You might find that some of those are mutual interests. As for financial goals, those should be set together if you have joint finances. As a married couple, it’s important to share a common vision. Avoid financial problems down the line by discussing your finances early in the marriage—or better yet, before you say “I do.”

Tip #5: Shop together, not separately

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This might be difficult in the beginning, particularly if the two of you have opposing views on how to handle finances. Shopping together will provide opportunities for compromise, and maybe a few conflicts, but those can be healthy. The point for this exercise is to get both of you on the same page as often as possible. This gets easier with time.

Reminder: Respect one another’s viewpoints

Criticizing and trying to override one another’s decisions are not ingredients for a healthy marriage. You’re different. That’s the way humans are made. Our uniqueness is what makes us special to one another. Embrace that. Acknowledge your differences, but always remember to respect one another. Do that and you’ll live a long and happy life together.