Passive Procrastination Produces Profound Problems

There are seasons in a marriage when it seems like the conflicts that come up over money and finances just never end.

Until they do end…for the wrong reason.

And here we stumble over a truth - if you’ll step up and DO something hard now, you’ll reduce the odds that you will EXPERIENCE something much harder later.

A hundred years ago, the world experienced death and destruction on a scale never before imagined during “The Great War,” the one that we call today World War I. So profoundly horrible was the experience and so deep was the desire for peace by its weary victors that they failed to do the hard work of prevention.

In the words of Winston Churchill, they “allowed the wicked to rearm.”

No one wanted to admit what everyone could see – a heretofore insignificant army corporal, one Adolf Hitler, had risen to power, assumed a defacto dictatorship and was re-arming his nation, carrying out growing atrocities against anyone remotely Jewish and eyeing jealously the land of his neighbors, which he wanted to possess.

Could World War II have been prevented (as Churchill would argue)? Well, we’ll never know.

But this much we do know – whether in wars between nations, or conflicts in marriages, when problems are not dealt with in their infancy, we almost guarantee to bring them to maturity.

So, what kind of financial conflict do you want to deal with in your marriage – a small one or a big one?

Try the following to get started in keeping small conflicts small:

1. Put it into words. Each of you write out what you see as the problem. Try not to use blaming language if at all possible.

2. Identify ideal. Both of you identify what you each (separately) would view as the ideal solution to this problem. And of course, you’re not going to agree at everything on this point…that’s why you’re having a conflict!

3. Measure your distance. Are your solutions 180 degrees apart? Are they closer than you thought? Sometimes putting the problem into words and identifying each of your ideal solutions can show you that the distance that separates you really isn’t as great as you thought. Or maybe it is…

4. Table the topic for a time. By this point, you may have thought more deeply and clearly about the topic than you ever have. Writing out the problem and clarifying your own individual vision of the solution can begin a creative thought process. You need to give this process some more time. I suggest that you agree to table the topic for a brief period of time – maybe a week or two. Agree not to discuss (or argue!) about it. Give it time to simmer in the back of your brains.

5. Try again, seeking win-win. After you’ve given the topic some time to marinate in your brain, come back again together and ask each other if you may have had a breakthrough – a “win-win” that might work for both of you. This isn’t about seeing which partner will give in. It’s about seeking a win for both of you.

6. Seek a second opinion. Even with the best of intentions, the steps above don’t always result in a workable solution. In that case, seek outside help, be it in the form of a marriage counselor, a financial planner or some combination of the services of both.

Money problems in marriage are nothing new. And they can be stubborn and persistent. Sometimes, even painful.

But don’t let the pain of the past persuade you to be passive about your problems.

Do the hard thing now.

Offering you Wisdom on Wealth, I’m Byron Moore.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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