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Debt: How does it affect marriage and what can you do about it?

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“Money does not buy happiness,” is a classic, popular saying, but is there any truth to it? Study findings, some of which come from the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, suggest that, when it comes to marriage, there is not. If you and your spouse struggle to find marital bliss in Atlanta, your finances may be to blame.

According to the study, approximately 40% of American households carry some amount of consumer debt, with the average credit card debt along ranging from $5,000 to $7,000. Though debt does serve its purpose, findings show that carrying excessive debt over extended periods can hurt your marriage, especially if debt is a main source of contention. In fact, one of the more notable findings of a survey of more than 4,500 married couples shows that those who acquired more debt over time were more likely to separate than those who kept debt to a minimum.

A subsequent study found that the accumulation of more credit card debt directly correlated with decreased marital satisfaction. Likewise, the reduction of debt was associated with increased marital bliss. The study also revealed that couples who accrued more debt were less likely to spend time together, tended to fight more and argued over how they were to manage the marital funds.

You and many others may argue that money is only half the problem. However, studies suggest it may be the whole of it, as a growing body of evidence suggests that money problems are the strongest predictor of divorce. For many couples, money causes more conflict than sex, responsibilities and in-laws combined.

Is debt ruining your marriage? Fortunately, there are ways you can turn your financial situation, and your marital emotions, around. For one, avoid taking on debt at all. If you or your spouse already have debt, do not take on any new debt. Itemize your spending, make a budget and cut out unnecessary expenses. Always make the minimum payment due, and if you find you struggle to do even that, consider credit counseling. Finally, know that finances can be tricky and almost everyone struggles with them. That said, you do not have to let finances ruin your marriage. With the right guidance, you can get back on track and back to a happier state of being.

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