Once you've talked about your differences, work out a compromise.

Rick suggests the mate who likes to spend be in charge of the day-to-day shopping, freeing the tightwad of a distasteful chore. But on big decisions, he says, both should have a say.

Booker agrees, saying dividing financial duties makes both partners feel they have input.

Mellan, the psychotherapist, says she tries to get feuding couples to appreciate each other's money style. She starts by having them tell each other what they admire about the other's financial habits.

A hoarder, for instance, might compliment a spender for being generous, she says. The spender might praise the tightwad's budget discipline.

Mellan also recommends another exercise in which each mate tries to be like the other. Tightwads, for example, might periodically spend money on nonessentials, such as a gift for a mate or themselves. Or a spender might save toward a goal.

The purpose isn't to completely change them, Mellan says, but to nudge them toward the middle so they can get along.

She also suggests that each spouse separately draw up a list of short- , mid- and long-term goals. They then compare goals and compile a joint list that both can work toward, she says.

And working together makes for a happier marriage.

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

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