We have all heard the old adage never to talk about politics and religion in a social setting. But another topic that often fuels dissent is money and relationships. In fact, money is among the top reasons that couples disagree.

Studies have repeatedly shown that financial issues are a major cause of discord between spouses. Money problems create stress, which can shake the foundations of even the strongest relationship. Low debt levels, on the other hand, increases happiness and improve relationships. Why? Because people feel good about themselves when they are prospering. This ultimately helps keep relationships intact.

When it comes to money, smart decisions must be made rationally, bereft of emotion. Emotional responses often lead to actions that are disproportionate, ill-advised and often regrettable. But do not despair. There is a smart way to approach money and relationships.

Here are some tips on harmoniously dealing with money in relationships:

  1. Minimize Your Emotional Response

Although there is no magic solution that will resolve the countless varieties of financial strain that stress a relationship, there is one thing you can do to make the best decisions: minimize your emotional response.

Don’t let past hurts and misunderstandings between you and your partner cloud your thinking. Instead, be mindful of how emotion is affecting your thought processes before you make any decisions.

  1. Take Time Out

If you feel that emotion is clouding your judgment or threatening the health of a relationship, it is best to take time to reflect. Take a deep breath and some time away from the situation and your partner before you make a financial decision. This way, you won’t let emotion propel you into anything rash that will negatively impact your relationship or your pocketbook.

  1. Communication is Key

Communication is the foundation of all good relationships. This applies to all areas of a couple’s life, including money. Be sure to communicate with your partner about your financial needs and desires. But this must be a two-way street. Take time to listen to your partner’s wishes and come up with decisions and solutions that benefit you both as a couple. By establishing a mutually agreed upon set of financial expectations, you can take the emotion out of the conversation and focus on what had been agreed upon previously.

The Next Step

Don’t let emotional responses propel you into making bad financial decisions. Instead, remain objective by taking time to reflect about the decision at hand. Remember to communicate your needs and desires with your partner, as you remain open and empathetic to his or her point of view. This way, you will make smart financial decisions and have a happy relationship.