Viewpoint: It’s the best Christmas gift for your marriage
Dec 17, 2013 | 542 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In 1963, Andy Williams recorded what has become one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. He sang, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year … It’s the hap-happiest season of all.”

Countless artists have recorded their own versions of the song since then. And it is true that Christmas is the happiest time of the year for most people. Unfortunately, for many families January then becomes the most dreadful season of the year. The New Year brings with it the bills that result from the sometimes careless overspending of Christmas.

What many people do not realize is that their attempts to express their love via gifts during Christmas may actually be setting them up for disaster right around the corner in their marriage. Numerous studies report that couples have more conflicts over finances than any other issue.

Furthermore, a study by the National Survey of Families and Households revealed that the frequency of financial disputes is a strong predictor of a couple’s overall stability. The likelihood of divorce goes up 30 percent for couples who have weekly financial disagreements compared to those who disagree less frequently (as reported in “The Good Fight” by Les & Leslie Parrott).

It could be that the best Christmas gift for your spouse would be to make a giving-budget, and stick to it. A well-planned Christmas budget that keeps you within your financial means can have long-term benefits. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If finances are tight this year, then be creative and devise other ways to express your love to family and friends.

Well-known financial adviser Dave Ramsey has opined, “Christmas is not an emergency, it happens every year. Don’t use it as an excuse to overspend and buy things you can’t afford.”

For the benefit of your marriage I strongly recommend: create a Christmas budget together; do not overspend, thus putting stress on your relationship down the road; and definitely do not allow Christmas to be a reason to go into debt. Remember, the overly expensive gift today could bring unwanted conflict tomorrow.

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(About The Author: David Gray is the co-founder and director of Marriage-Works of Cleveland. He can be reached at david@marriageworkscleveland.com.)