A strong financial foundation is not just the difference between a good marriage and a contentious marriage; it could determine if your marriage will last at all. Ongoing fights about money could lead to divorce. To protect your marriage and your finances, take these steps now.

Talk to Your Partner

Discussing money is no one’s idea of a romantic pastime, but it is absolutely vital. Do it early and often. The first conversation should be the longest and might be the most painful. Both of you should open up about how much debt you have, your current credit scores, your investments, and how much money you make after taxes. It can be an awkward experience, but this knowledge can help both of you arrive at a way to merge your finances.

Once you have the big talk, make sure to take time every month or so to check in and talk about finances. Talk about if there are any big expenses coming up, like repairing your car or getting a new one. Open communication and early assessments of your upcoming financial situation can eliminate a lot of the stress from financial issues.

Come Up With Goals and Rank Them

Just because you two want to share your lives together doesn’t mean you want all the same things at the same time. Maybe you want to move out to the suburbs and buy a house, but your partner wants to stay in the city and get a master’s degree. These are not just lifestyle decisions; they are also issues that are financially significant. As a couple, you need to determine what you want to do, when you want to do them and how much those goals are going to cost. By prioritizing your goals now, you can avoid arguments that could occur when you and your partner are on different pages.

Budget Every Month

Just as maintaining the emotional health of your marriage is an ongoing process, so is maintaining the financial health of your marriage. Set aside time at the end of every month to plan for the next. During your monthly conversations about big upcoming expenses, write down how much each expense will cost and how much money you have coming in. Set aside some of your income for an emergency so that you can weather any unexpected mishap. If you budget wisely, no financial setback will put strain on your marriage.