Arguments in a relationship are an essential part of the healthiest of relationships. They could be minor or major ones, but no relationship is exempt from them. However, the topic on the argument could be a telltale sign of some serious worry down the line, suggests a researcher.
One of the most common arguments in a relationship are about money, and if so, then this could predict risk of divorce, says a Kansas State University researcher.
The study, “Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce,” is published in Family Relations, an interdisciplinary journal of applied family studies. Sonya Britt, the lead researcher, conducted the study using longitudinal data from more than 4,500 couples. This data was collected as part of the National Survey of Families and Households.
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Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services and program director of personal financial planning, said,
“Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce. It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money – for both men and women.”
Explaining the salient points of the study, Britt said,
“In the study, we controlled for income, debt, and net worth. Results revealed it didn’t matter how much you made or how much you were worth. Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all levels.”
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According to Britt, arguments over money take longer to recover from than other kinds of arguments, and money-related tiffs also tend to be more intense. It was observed that couples often used harsher language with each other, and that these arguments lasted longer than other arguments.
“You can measure people’s money arguments when they are very first married,” said Britt. “It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, but when they were first together and already arguing about money, there is a good chance they are going to have poor relationship satisfaction.”
Britt said that by continuing to have financial arguments, there is a marked decrease in relationship satisfaction. And even if divorce couldn’t be applied for because of low income, matters are made worse due to low relationship satisfaction. It also has a negative effect on children (if any), and not to mention the fact that increased stress leads to a further decrease in financial planning that could better the situation.
Speaking about this, Britt said,
“We, as financial planners, can help clients reduce their stress through education. This is important because people who are stressed are very short-term focused. They don’t plan for the future. If you can reduce stress, you can increase planning.”
What Britt suggests to new couples is seeking the help of a financial planner as part of their pre-marital counseling. By pulling each other’s credit reports and talking through the issue of handling finances fairly for halves of the couple, might help in the long run.
“If the money is not being treated fairly in the household, then the relationship satisfaction is going to be lower,” said Britt.
So if you and your partner have lots of arguments over money, then beware. It might be a predictor for divorce. So sort out your financial issues in a rational manner, so that it doesn’t affect your relationship in the long run.
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