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He's blown the budget – again!

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a relationship expert and an internationally respected psychologist, author and seminar leader. She has given life-changing guidance to couples for more than 20 years.

Check out Noelle’s relationship and marriage ...

Address conflicts like a grown-up

Arguing about finances is an unfortunately common situation for many couples. Although these fights can be frustrating, SheKnows love expert Noelle Nelson offers a few tips to smooth over the problem and prevent similar arguments in the future.

Woman nagging husband about budget

The utility bill is due and you're terrified at the prospect of getting your water and power turned off. All this worry is because your husband blew this month's budget on some stupid software.

What would you do in this situation?

1Throw a fit, scream at the top of your sizable lungs, and threaten divorce.

Stick your head in the sand and ignore the whole mess, praying it will all somehow go away.

3Demand that he do something about it right now because it's his fault you're in this bind.

  • If you answered #1, you'd better be up for either a rousing fight or him responding with "You're leaving? No, I'm leaving!"
  • If you answered #2, you might as well get out the candles and start collecting rain water.
  • If you answered #3, be prepared for a lot of sulking, dirty looks and a very cold marital bed.

Solve the problem

There is another way to handle this kind of argument, and you're not going to like it.

It's the one where you don't scream at him, don't blame him and don't pretend it's just a bad dream. It's the response where you act like your grown-up, reasonable, mature self – your inner problem-solver. Yup. This is a problem to solve, not a war to be won.

Your husband is your ally! Just because he messed up doesn't make him any less your partner. Oh, I know how good it feels to be righteous and blame him and act holier-than-thou about the situation, but that doesn't get the utilities paid now does it? And it certainly doesn't do anything good for your marriage.

Work it out together

So . . . knuckle down and be your best self. Bring forth all those skills you've long honed at work, on the PTA, or wherever else you've had to figure things out without screaming.

The more you approach your husband's snafu as a problem for the two of you to work out together, the more likely you are to stay happy together. For example, figure out if you can get an emergency loan from someone in your family to cope with the utilities or get a payment plan going for the bill.

Sort out your budget by coming to an agreement on how much is available for "fun funds" for each of you, and agree to respect those limits. Too often, "fun funds" are completely overlooked, although we all need a little R&R in our lives. Better to plan for it than have the utilities cut off!

More relationship advice

What couples fight about most
How to choose your relationship battles
How to argue like a pro

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