THE BLOG
08/23/2011 04:40 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2011

'Til Money Do Us Part: Don't Let the Markets Drive You Apart

If you're like most couples when it comes to managing money and investing, there will be areas where you agree and areas where you differ. Investing by its very nature is an emotional business.

When the market is going up, couples rarely find that they disagree, but it's during times like these, with the market in such flux, that couples find their relationship in a similarly erratic state. Anxiety and fear take their toll in driving a wedge between partners that can become impenetrable and impossible to bypass.

Some couples describe feeling frustrated, angry and even explosive in trying to work through their current levels of stress with these markets. They have a hard time making themselves heard and understood. A typical conversation may go like this: She: "I want to sell our stocks now before we lose any more money; He: "If we sell now, we will lose money so I'm not making any moves until I feel things are back to normal." She "What's back to normal?"; He "I don't know -- I'll just know it". She "I can't understand you. You're not making any sense."

In couples, one usually has or assumes a major role in investing and managing the money. In times like this, that task and role can bring about serious discord about losses sustained in the couple's investment portfolio.

When the investment management task is shared, or when the responsible manager shares decisions about how and why investments are made, changed and redistributed, the arguments are generally resolved before they begin. So it is with most of the money issues in a couple's life. Sharing decisions, information and desires can be a blessing without end. But not doing so can be the end of the relationship!

Some couples say it's easier when they are similar in personalities and mind set and this is mostly true as it's easier to relate to someone who sees life in similar ways. But it, too, presents challenges for the couple because they might not see the other point of view, being blind to a different way of perceiving the situation. So, there's nobody watching their back and portfolio.

Miscommunication, lack of communication, misunderstanding and lack of understanding will always create havoc in relationships. The ability to talk, understand, respect and empathize with a partner's sentiments is certainly a challenge in times of uncertainty, but the ingredients are essential in establishing and maintaining compatibility and a loving relationship.

So, regardless of similarities and differences, compatibility in money management and investing is dependent on partners stepping outside of their opinions and need to be right and stepping into the mind set of their partner. The world, including the world of investing, will look and feel very different. This is the first step in a winning and compatible strategy -- not only for investing in challenging times, but for successful money management in life planning.