Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Money and relationships

USAA Magazine (Spring 2012, 18-23) has some interesting statistics collected from several recent surveys of the U.S. population:

·         3 in 4 single Americans are turned off by excessive debt

·         Cost of a typical date: $69

·         91% of women say they would marry for love over money

·         On average, a U.S. wedding costs $26,500 and the honeymoon $4,466

·         There were 2.1 million marriages and 900,000 divorces in the U.S. in 2010; 1 in 10 marriages ends in divorce before the tenth anniversary

·         1 in 3 Americans say that the recession has stressed their marriage

·         22% of divorcees say money caused the split; 30% of people admit lying to their partner about money (I wonder how many don’t admit to it!)

·         Projected cost of raising a child born in 2010 to age 18 is $226,920

In the course of my active ministry, I conducted hundreds of couples counseling sessions and dozens of couples’ enrichment groups. Contrary to popular thinking, money is not the cause of most or even many relationship problems (obviously, having at least a minimally sufficient income helps).

The real cause of problems, suggested in the statistics above, is the inability of couples to communicate. I’ve known couples with six figure incomes who fought frequently and inconclusively over money; I’ve known couples with very love five figure incomes who found much happiness and love in their live together. If people can communicate and commit to the relationship, then, they find common values, common goals, and make a shared life not only work but also become the source of mutual flourishing.

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