Relationships and money: It's all about control

Relationships and money: It's all about control »Play Video
SEATTLE -- The recent economic turmoil has likely taken a toll on several couple's relationships.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have, you still tend to argue about finances," said Seattle psychologist Dr. Les Parrott.

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott co-founded Seattle Pacific University's Center for Relationship Development. The Parrott's numerous books, including "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts", "I Love You More," "The Parent You Want to Be," "Your Time Starved Marriage," and "Trading Places," have sold more than two million copies in more than two dozen languages.

Les Parrott says finances are such a source of relationship trouble because, "It signifies control. That's the person making the financial decisions, that's the person that's in power in this relationship."

As psychologists who deal with so many couples, the Parrotts say they are seeing more relationships ripe for trouble.

"You have secret spenders, that always makes life interesting for a family because that's the person going out and trying to hide what they are spending," says Dr. Les Parrott.

Then there are the people, Les Parrot says, who want to feel better.

"So they go out and spend more than they should," he said. "They think, 'You know I deserve something good during this time' and of course it just digs them into a deeper hole."

In the Parrotts' most recent book "Trading Places," the couple discusses a specific tactic for better understanding your partner's financial habits and stresses.

"Put yourself in your partner's shoes," says Les Parrott. "I've even taken couples, as a psychologist, to a shopping center and actually asked them to reverse roles and have them walk around and have them behave like they think their spouse behaves."

Not only does that help you see things from your partner's perspective, but it can allow you to understand how your spouse sees you.

Next the Parrotts advice: "Take on a budget like it's nobody's business and really come at that as a team."

Another simple tip: Stop using your credit cards as much as you can.

"You spend less money if you are actually reaching into your wallet and taking out those bills," Les Parrott said.

Les Parrott says he's currently working with couples who are digging themselves out of financial trouble and using that as a way to better their own relationship.

The biggest mistakes we make: Not talking about finances and thinking of money as some kind of happy pill to solve deeper relationship turmoil.

Finally, Les Parrott says, don't feel alone.

"Bottom line is, welcome to the club. We're all in the same boat here. We all struggle with financial issues. You aren't alone and get the help that you need from the places that you need to seek out that help."

Or you can listen to an extended interview by clicking here.

For even more information visit the Parrott's website www.realrelationships.com