The original post can be found here: Debt Free
If you are married or have thought about getting married or know someone who is married, it probably doesn’t surprise you that money is one of the greatest causes of arguments, disagreements and stress that a couple will face. And we’ve been there! Stressed, overwhelmed and feeling trapped, our young marriage was hanging on by a thread. After all, conflict over money is still the leading cause of divorce today, according to Psychology Today.
Debt and financial strain put an intense amount of pressure on a married couple. Disagreements are inevitable. But learning to communicate and work through your finances together is key to having a healthier financial future and a happier marriage…and who doesn’t want that?
Here are some basic steps you can take toward getting on the same page with your spouse.
1. Agree That it is OK to Talk About Money
Not only is it OK to talk about money,it's a MUST! If you and your spouse haven’t discussed your finances in months or even years (no…if you cussed or threw things, it doesn’t count), then it’s time to schedule a meeting. Your first discussion should be focused on whether or not it’s OK for you to talk about finances together (and it is). Talk about your desire to work as a team and to understand each other. And do everything in your power to give each other “space and grace.” Work to make your money talks safe, open, mature discussions (like adults). No finger-pointing or name-calling (I know from personal experience that this doesn’t work).
2. Accept Your Differences
Right off the bat, let’s acknowledge that everyone is different. Your parents each had their own way of handling money and they passed that on to you. You have unique God-given personalities and have experienced money in different ways. And that’s all perfectly normal and good. But if you don’t learn to work together, you will both be frustrated and you’ll never reach your goals.
It’s very likely that one of you is a Saver and one of you is a Spender. Neither is necessarily good or bad. And it’s OK for you to have different opinions about how much to save, how much to spend, how much to give, how much to set aside for retirement or college funds for your kids, and how much each spouse can spend without having to consult the other. Accept your differences. Learning to agree about financial decisions will require consideration, some compromise and even some sacrifice from each of you. But when you’re both pulling in the same direction toward the same goals, you become unstoppable.
3. Share Your Dreams and Goals
The biggest reason money talks are so stressful is that most couples only focus on problems. Don’t forget to talk about positive stuff too. What are your goals? What are your dreams for the future? Sit down and do a little dreaming together. Talk about your long term savings goals, your desire to travel, your desire to buy a home in the suburbs, your longing to turn your passions into a career. If you haven’t shared your vision and hopes with your spouse, there’s no better time than now. Then you can set your goals together and get about the business of pursuing them as a team.
4. There’s No “I” in Team or in Money
Disagreements about money cause many couples to avoid the subject all together. But that only makes the problem worse. No matter what state your finances are in, it’s time to start talking and working together. As Stephen Covey says, your goal should be to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This doesn’t mean avoiding the issues or not confronting extreme behaviors. It means that whatever the issues are, you are going to lovingly work together. This is a joint effort! Taking control of your finances or tackling your debt will require you to support and encourage one another.
Like every other part of marriage, it takes work, sacrifice, compromise and communication to get on the same page about money. But by taking these steps together, you are well on your way.
Now get to it!
Yours In Freedom,
Join the conversation…what do you think is the biggest obstacle that prevents couples from being on the same page about money?
How To Eliminate Money Fights
July 1st, 2011 at 09:31 am