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Unresolved conflict about money is the #1 cause of divorce. Communicating effectively about money is the #1 solution.

Photo courtesy: Denis Collette

KiCK’N Relationship Tips

With Lori and Bob Hollander

Secrets to Creating Extraordinary Relationships

Unresolved conflict about money is the #1 cause of divorce. Communicating effectively about money is the #1 solution


7 Steps to Resolve Conflicts About the Cash

The ability to face, handle and resolve conflict is a skill. Unfortunately, it’s not a subject or skill we are taught at school or at home, for most of us.

We get education about reading, writing and arithmetic. We even get sex education; as girls and boys we learn about “private parts,” the reproductive cycle and periods. At home, some of us are even lucky enough to get “the talk” from mom or dad; or, at least, a book about where babies come from.

But, did your parents ever come to you and say, “Honey, it’s time we have ‘the talk’ about how to deal with conflict effectively?” We bet not. What we do learn about conflict, for better or worse, comes from observing how conflict was handled in our families growing up.

Some people had homes where conflict was hidden: peace at all costs. No one dared take it on or discuss it. Differences lay silent for years. Conflict was swept under the rug and its existence denied. It may have been a quiet home but there wasn’t deep and genuine closeness.

Others had quite the opposite: a home where conflict reigned as king; chronic conflict was driven by one or both parents; episodes of yelling, fighting, sarcasm with nothing getting resolved; no apologies, no forgiveness; tension and stress filled the air.

Lastly, there were homes where there were occasional fights or raising of voices, but parents made a consistent effort to come back and talk calmly about issues so they could come to resolution and make up; apologies and forgiveness abounded.

What did you learn growing up about managing conflict?

This is only part of the problem. Education about financial matters was scant or non-existent. We recall learning how to write checks and balance a check book in high school; but, learning about income, debt, what it costs to buy a home or raise children, how to budget, why saving is so important, how a 401(k) or a Roth IRA works, the difference between a bond and a mutual fund, how to diversify a portfolio, or how to make financial decisions was nowhere to be found.

Now, combine that with strong emotions about the almighty dollar and add a husband/wife raised with different money values and experiences. Can you see why trying to communicate about and handle money differences can wreak havoc on the best marriage?

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