Debt can have a big impact on a couple’s relationship. Perhaps you had a student loan or two, a car payment, and some credit card. Then you married someone who had a few more student loans, another car payment, and quite a bit of credit card debt. Adding these two together can seem like a big task. Then add a new mortgage on top of that and the amount of debt can seem overwhelming.
Debt can cause resentment in a marriage. If one partner enters the marriage debt-free and the other person has lots of debt, this can certainly be a source of contention. If one person’s credit score is bad and the other person takes great pride in their score, this can be another source of contention. If one partner dislikes credit cards and the other person doesn’t mind having a big balance, this can also cause more problems.
If you feel like you have a large amount of debt, you may feel like you’ll never get out. It may feel frustrating to be working hard and yet barely paying the bills. How do you dig yourself out of all that debt? First, write down a list of what you owe. Be honest and discuss what you owe for each bill. It can be anxiety provoking to face the amount of money owed head on, but it’s important to do.
Once you acknowledge the debt, you can formulate a plan. Are there bills that you can start putting a lot more money toward to help pay down the debt? Which ones have highest interest rates? Some people prefer to tackle the ones with the highest rates. Other people want to tackle the smallest bill. Paying off the smallest bill in full provides some psychological satisfaction when you can cross that off the list and it sometimes provides more motivation to help pay off more. Whatever your plan is, just make sure that you have a plan. Discuss the plan regularly and keep track of how much is being paid off so you can evaluate your progress periodically and make any necessary changes.