Has money been a source of tension in your marriage?
How much does it cost you to not be on the same page, as a couple?
No, the answer isn't "Avoid talking about it" =)
As I have coached hundreds, if not thousands, of couples over the last 12 years, I've seen some patterns that cost couples thousands of dollars each year...and it's not their debt!
More often than not, I find that many couples I work with appreciate coming together as a couple with their money, viewing it more from an abundant mindset, than one of scarcity, pain, and stress. In fact, they often appreciate this more than the tens of thousands a year that I save them.
I have seen this especially be true with my relationship with my wife, Lyndsie. We have seen some amazingly stressful times in nearly 12 years of marriage. However, I'm grateful for those experiences that have strengthened and helped us when discussing our money.
Here are 4 easy ways to strengthen your relationship with each other and your money:
- Set aside 15-30 minutes each week to discuss your money. Many have avoided doing this because money has been a source of tension in their relationship. It's best to set this as a repeating item in your calendar where you won't forget and begin developing the habit. It could be a morning, evening, or weekend time where you can discuss the previous week, what's coming up over the next 7 days, and even talk about your dreams and goals. This is necessary to be on the same page because most couples fight because they only discuss money when it's urgent and emotional. It's best to discuss when you're both calm.
- Set Rules. Set rules to follow, before discussing money seriously. It's easier to set rules when calm than during a fight. Decide how you will discuss the money, what has worked for you in the past, and things to avoid in the future. Make this discussion fun. Most take money too seriously and create unnecessary tension. If things do get heated, decide what your "safe word" or "safe signal" is to diffuse the situation.
- Avoid judgment. It's easy, especially for the primary breadwinner, to pass judgment on the person that manages the household. Many jump to conclusions too quickly and blame the spouse for spending too much money. In reality, it could be inflating prices or special circumstances that contribute. Learn from the past, but don't dwell on it and accuse. Work together to understand each others' point of view.
- Emotionally distance yourself. It helps to look at your money from an unemotional standpoint. Look at the situation without getting worked up. The more emotional we get, the more we make dumb decisions. If this is really difficult for a couple, I have recommended that they distance themselves from the money by pretending they are looking at a friend or family member's finances and offering advice to them. Once you do this for awhile, without conflict, then bring it back to yourselves. You will realize that it's quite easy to discuss your finances when you can look at what is really happening instead of placing blame on each other.
What are some ways you discuss money as a couple that have helped you in your relationship?