One of the questions I’m asked most often is, “How can I talk with my spouse about money?”
Talking about money can be intimidating for any number of reasons. Maybe one of you is reluctant to tackle your money issues. Maybe you feel like you can’t even bring up the subject without it turning into a fight. The sad truth is, money fights and money problems can destroy a marriage if you don’t get on the same page.
There are many common reasons as to why couples fight about money such as different money tendencies, resentment around debt, or guilt surrounding a salary difference. When it comes to money fights in a marriage, there’s often a surface issue and an underlying issue. Honestly, the only way to find the root cause of an argument is to stop and talk about it. Easier said than done, right?
Try to shift the conversation from dollars and cents to experiences and emotions. If you understand where your spouse is coming from –– their history and their feelings –– you’ll make a lot more progress with your finances and relationship. Below are four money conversations to have with your spouse about money (and to get you on the same page)!
Money + Marriage | How To Talk With Your Spouse About Money
1. Money Mindset
Discovering how money was handled in the household your spouse grew up in will aid you understanding the foundation for their beliefs about money. Growing up, your household is basically your classroom. Their experience was probably a bit different than yours, which means you both have a different perspective.
There are probably some lessons you each want to bring into the marriage and others you want to forget. We all have those, don’t we? Understanding where your spouse comes from will help you to better understand them. To jump start this conversation use this statement:
In my house growing up, money was . . .
2. Fear Talk
Another conversation you need to have is what I call the Fear Talk.
When it comes to money there is a sense of fear with a lot of people. Fear makes us do crazy things! That is why some people get a hidden credit card or open their own secret bank account. The fear of their spouse knowing what they are buying paralyzes them and they end up doing crazy things. Fear is something that is really important to understand + also knowing what your spouse fears too.
These fears dictate many of our money decisions and how we interact with our spouse. Start out by naming your fears. A few examples are the fear of:
- Lack of security
- Lack of respect
- Not realizing your dreams
- Lack of influence
Bring up the subject by saying:
My biggest financial fear is . . .
3. Discuss Your Dreams
Knowing each other’s dreams for the future will keep you connected to a shared goal.. and motivate you to save for the future. If you haven’t discussed your dreams together yet, you’re probably not seeing a whole lot of progress financially. You might be saving a little here and a little there, but you’re going to have to lay out your dreams if you want to make progress. Begin with:
My big dream for both of us is . . .
Here are just a few examples of what your shared dreams may look like:
- Get out of debt so you get to keep all of your income.
- Purchase a home
- Leave your 9-5 job to take your side-hustle full-time
- Take the family on vacation each year
This is a great opportunity to share your heart with your spouse, set some common goals and get on the same page.
4. Give A Little Grace
We all have made money mistakes in the past, and we will continue to make mistakes. No one is going to be perfect!
There is this fine line with grace when it comes to money issues with your spouse. To many rules around everything gets to legalist, but other times you keep saying “it’s okay” and they continue to overspend. That starts to enable their poor behavior.
The key is we have to learn from our mistakes and give a little grace. Start with:
When I make a money mistake, I love it when you . . .
Tell each other about a time when you felt the other show compassion for a mistake or misunderstanding. Then, the next time someone slips up, remember how you can handle it with grace. Money mistakes will happen, but as long as you learn from them, they can actually make you a stronger couple.
Get On The Same Page
It’s almost impossible to win with money when you neither of you are on the same page with how to handle finances. Running in two separate lanes is going to make it very difficult to win and reach your financial goals! Utilize the above four money conversations to talk with your spouse and get on the same page with one another!