You might panic about your spouse's debt, but there are ways to stop your spouse's debt from ruining your relationship. There's nothing funny about massive debt. It can result in a lower credit score, and debt makes it harder to qualify for certain types of financing. But even if your partner is in over his or her head, there are ways to stop your spouse's debt from ruining your relationship.
1. Be Patient
Your spouse didn't get into debt overnight, and he's not going to pay off the debt overnight. Being patient is one of the best ways to stop your spouse's debt from ruining your relationship. Debt repayment is a slow, gradual process. But if he sticks with a plan and doesn't add to his debt, he'll eventually get from under the mountain of bills.
2. Don't Belittle or Make Comments
The way you deal with your spouse's debt also determines whether the situation will ruin your relationship. Chances are, your spouse recognizes his mistakes. He might be ashamed or embarrassed. If you belittle him or make snide remarks about past decisions, this doesn't help the situation and your actions can create resentment.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
Not only should you be patient, you need to set realistic expectations. For example, if your spouse has $10,000 in credit card debt, expecting him to pay off this debt in three or four months might be unrealistic. Instead, help him set a realistic goal. Based on his salary and disposable income, a realistic goal might include paying off half the debt in a years time.
4. Brainstorm Solutions
If you're the financially savvy one in the relationship, brainstorm solutions with him or her. There are several ways to pay off debt. Some people contact creditors to negotiate a lower rate, others work part-time or use free money such as a tax refund. Additionally, some couples ruthlessly cut their budget in order to generate extra cash. Yes, this is your spouse's debt, but it affects the both of you. So, work together as a couple to determine the best course of action.
5. Don't Contribute to the Problem
If your spouse diligently tries to pay off debt, don't contribute to the problem. For example, maybe your spouse decides to skip this year's vacation in order to pay down debt, or maybe he suggests skipping presents for your anniversary this year. If you throw a tantrum and demand a vacation or gift, your spouse might feel obligated to use a credit card, which adds to his debt.
6. Focus on the Positive
Your personal finances might not be perfect, but I'm sure there are many good things about your relationship. Rather than focus all attention on debt, reflect on your spouse's good traits. What's important is the way he or she treats you, your children and others.
7. Provide Ongoing Support
Debt repayment can be a long process, and your spouse might be ready to give up from time to time. Remain supportive and help him reach goals. It's an uphill battle and he (or she) needs your encourage and motivation.
Your spouse's debt doesn't have to ruin your relationship. Work together as a couple to establish goals, and brainstorm solutions to pay down debt faster. What tips can you offer couples dealing with debt.