It’s no surprise to anyone living north of a rock that finances are everything.  They make the world turn.  They allow us the luxury to be able to afford to attend Lakers’ games, pay our bills, and, hopefully, to put the food and nutrition on our families’ tables each night so that our children may one day grow up to be healthy and prosper in an otherwise desperately competitive world.  Finances – and all the accompanying ‘money’ problems – are also the major reason married couples divorce.

Every marriage in the history of mankind has been terminated by one of two reasons:  death or divorce.  The former is the easy way out.  Once you’re pushing up daisies it really doesn’t matter what others are doing or saying about you, because, well, it’s all over for you.  But divorce is a tangible of life that can, if those involved care enough about each other, and they spend the time and intelligence dealing with their problems and working through their disagreements, end up a success.

Financial struggles in marriage can be worked out through cooler heads.  But it often takes time.  And patience.  And communication.  And the need to understand the true basis of the failing marriage, and the financial problems inherent therein.  Truth in understanding the true nature of the problem is critical in creating a strong and healthy basis for any successful change.

One truth in marriage that’s important to understand is what causes financial distress and the ultimate breakdown between two people who once made a vow of love and death to each other.  There is much room to disagree on this subject, and many do, and then they divorce.  Others, who call themselves experts and talk on TV and radio shows cite the statistics that show that couples who financially disagree early on in their relationships are likely to divorce over the same issues.  This results regardless of their income levels, expenses, asset accrual, or debt limits.  If money is a problem now in your relationship, it will be a problem later.  You can count on it.

According to many of these same experts, financial arguments in the marriage are probably indicative of more deep-seeded issues between the couple.  Control, trust, and power can provide the basis for who gets what financially in any relationship.  And if there’s children involved, the financial conflicts can multiply exponentially.

Others may be experiencing personal financial catastrophes ranging from bad credit to unemployment.  Couples who are unable to learn to communicate with each other through the stress of their financial ordeals can drown in their relationships.  They can find themselves isolated with an inability to handle the physical, mental, and emotional stresses that financial pressures can bring.

Married couples may also come from vastly different backgrounds and belief systems that might affect the way they deal with one another in financial matters.  This might be based on the practices and beliefs of the family one grows up in.  One of the spouses may spend a high percentage of family earnings on cars or personal affects that might reflect their status within the neighborhood or community.  The other spouse, in turn, might be concerned with saving everything they can for future family and child security.  This type of conflict creates tremendous stress for families battling today’s economic realities.

And then what?  Divorce?  Or, might there be some reasonable alternative to divorcing due to financial strain?  Maybe it would take some time (and effort), but maybe this couple – who is so stressed out because of the financial reality and their illusionary existence – could communicate at the core and work things out.  But where will they start?  We will begin that discussion next.  Where married couples, or any couples for that matter, or any person, can find a tip or three on how to financially afford to stay together, to keep the family together, to protect the children, and to possibly keep everybody alive.  Without financial considerations, there is no marriage.