By Merit Gest
In an informal, unscientific poll of random people, I asked
which of the following three issues was the most common cause
of frustration in marriage: sex, kids or money. While many
scratched their heads and wanted to choose “all of the above”
when I pressed for the best option, the overwhelming majority
chose money. Not surprising, whether couples have a lot or a
little money, it is not unusual that money conversations and
decisions can turn sour in a hurry.
First of all, we have to recognize and acknowledge that we
from different backgrounds and have different ideas about
Some people think “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and others
“Money is there for the taking.” Can you see how Ann who
“A penny saved is a penny earned” and John who thinks “Live
today” may face some conflict in their buying decisions if
don’t discuss money clearly together as a couple?
In business, when a company makes a decision that will require
a financial commitment, one of the key players involved in the
decision making process is the Chief Financial Officer. This
the person whose job it is to know all the numbers and approve
or deny requests based on the financial data.
If your marriage was a business, who would be the Chief
Financial Officer? Would you and your spouse be Co- CFOs? Do
you regularly de-brief each other on the state of your
When I’m working with salespeople they always tell me they
to sell more and make more money. My first question is “more
than what? Where are you right now in real dollars?” If they
stumble for the answer and can’t give me a clear cut bottom
line number, I know the problem is that they just don’t have a
grasp on where they are today.
How do you know if you should pull back and tighten the
spending belt or when you can splurge on a fancy dinner or
vacation without feeling guilty if you don’t know the numbers?
If you don’t take responsibility for knowing your financial
reality it can only hurt you. No good can come of being in the
dark when it comes to your net worth and bank account. It’s
only more frustrating for the spouse who does look at the
finances to talk about money with the spouse who does not
understand the finances. Now, I’m not assuming it’s always the
man who understands the money and the woman who goes out and
spends unnecessarily. It can work both ways. It is not the
spouse” whose job it is to explain the financial position to
other; it’s the other spouse’s responsibility to make sure
understand their situation.
Businesses look at their numbers constantly. If they didn’t
consider the numbers in all their decisions they would not be
around long. When I coach a company’s salespeople, they have
know on a daily basis where they are in relationship to making
their sales goals. How can you make any adjustments if you
don’t know exactly where you stand?
Business people have to be comfortable talking about money. In
our personal lives, this is as important as it is in business.
Make sure you set up a regular “date” with your spouse at the
end of every month to spend an hour going through the credit
card statements and bank statements. Calculate your monthly
expenditures and create a budget you can both align on so you
know what you can and can’t do before you have to consult each
other on money issues and purchases.
Couples who work together as a team when it comes to money are
much less likely to argue about money. Money is one of the
common things people argue about so talk about it regularly
ensure there are no surprises by planning, budgeting & setting
goals, just like any business would naturally do.
It’s much easier to make good financial decisions for the
family when the “CEO & CFO” (you and your spouse!) of the
marriage understand the balance sheet.
About The Author: Merit Gest, founder of “Marriage Means
Business” married successful business strategies with personal
relationships to create a unique approach to making
relationships work. As a member of National Speakers
Association, Merit has been invited to speak all across
America. She has trained hundreds of salespeople to
collectively increase sales by millions of dollars across a
wide variety of industries, though her most treasured “sale”
was on her wedding day. Not a licensed therapist, people
to Merit because she’s a real woman making her marriage work
every day. Merit can be reached at 877-663-2672 or
Merit@MarriageMeansBusiness.com. For more information about
Merit or Marriage Means Business please visit