For a relationship to be great, the connection has to go much deeper than surface level factors such as physical attraction and common interests. It has to be built on fundamental compatibility. What a lot of people might not realize is that there are many dimensions of compatibility and the value and way you handle money is one of the most important.

What is financial compatibility?

Before you can determine if you and your significant other are financially compatible, it’s important to understand what this term actually means. Financial compatibility does not mean that you both need to make the same amount of money. The term is more about understanding each other’s behaviors and values towards money. What are your personal attitudes and behaviors like with money? Do either or both of you have debt racked up? How do you prioritize what you spend and how you save? These are all things that you and your partner should be aware of if your relationship is starting to get serious.

How to talk about money with your partner

If you and your partner have differences, it’s critical to know and understand their financial behaviors. Money talks aren’t usually the most comfortable, but they are necessary and can even be exciting if it means you are planning your future together. If you’re feeling a little anxious to bring up a conversation about money, a good place to start is discussing your financial goals. Do you want to own a home? Is travel more important than tangible items? This can ease the mood and bring up money in a more positive light. Make sure you are on the same page about paying off things like loans or credit cards. Being aware of each other’s short-term and long-term goals as both are equally important. Will you combine finances or keep things separate? Communicating openly can make all the difference, and it may turn out you are even more on the same page than you had anticipated.

Tips to prevent relationship struggles caused by money

Stress caused by money is one of the leading causes of relationship tension and unhappiness. The good news is that there are certain steps you and your partner can take to minimize the chances of this happening:

  • Communicate. Get everything out in the open and make sure your paths are aligned. This means planning out your financial goals in advance, and seeing where you are willing to compromise.

  • Get on the same page. What you spend money on relates back to what you value, so make sure you have similar values and your finances should reflect that.

  • Make sure you are both ready before getting married. This isn’t just about age, but also about being mentally and financially ready for what comes next. No one wants to say “I do,” and then find out that your love has racked up significant credit card debt. Make sure you both have a good understanding of each other’s financial positions.

  • Family planning. Do you want kids? If so, keep in mind the financial responsibility that these cute little humans bring and try your best to have a little money saved beforehand.

If you have opposing attitudes about money, it is going to be very difficult to have a peaceful relationship or marriage. Money can be a major stressor for couples, but a true partnership will work through tough times and offer support. If you and your partner are truly compatible, you will have more mental freedom to focus on the fun parts of life with your partner.