Better Financial Communication in Marriage Starts with Understanding
Your mother was right—you need to think before you speak. So, why isn’t it that simple? Maybe mama didn’t know your spouse is sooo frustrating! Or, that money would be so tight in your marriage. Maybe mom didn’t know that you want what you want when you want it. (Hmm … actually, we’re guessing she probably did on that last one.) Fighting for money is extremely common, but you can take steps now to immediately improve your marital money woes.
Apparently, we all need a reminder about needing to think before we speak. So, while you’ve likely seen some form of this on Facebook or Pinterest, we’re here to remind you how important it is to THINK before discussing tricky topics with the one you love:
- T—is it true?
- H—is it helpful?
- I—is it inspiring?
- N—is it necessary?
- K—is it kind?
So, why do we turn off the “think before you speak” concept when it comes to talking to our honey about money?
Because money is such a personal, emotionally charged subject. It impacts us every single day and we each have our definite thoughts about the “right” and “wrong” way to think about and manage money.
Here are two helpful approaches to help you THINK and make your money talk one your mama can actually be proud of:
1. THINK about your approach.
Often, when it comes to money manners, we tend to just verbally vomit all over our spouse. Our agenda starts bubbling up and then, oh … watch out, here it comes.
Comments like, “We’ve been so stressed and tight with money we haven’t been on a vacation for three years! This summer, we’d better go on a trip,” or, “Do we seriously not have more money than this saved for retirement? You need to FIX that!”
Or are you passive-aggressive when it comes to financial discussions? You don’t vomit your money concerns all over your spouse, but take veiled stabs at them with comments like, “It sure seems like the neighbors go on vacation a lot. Must be nice.”
Often, a spouse who wasn’t allowed to express anger or emotion as a child carries that into their marriage. They’re upset but have no practice at maturely stating their concerns. They’ll benefit from THINKing before they speak.
Money is a very legitimate topic to discuss with your spouse, but how you approach the conversation helps you both feel heard and reach a thoughtful compromise.
2. Give your significant other a chance to THINK.
Do you allow your significant other time to THINK? If you did, would it help your relationship?
Money issues can make us crazy, so we often want an answer to our money challenges right away. Fix it, now! But when you let the other person pause and THINK about your question or suggestion, you are giving the person some room to breathe and process, without getting defensive.
Give them some time to come up with a suggestion, suggest a compromise, or maybe they will even get 100% on board. Give them time to THINK with a comment like, “Babe, we haven’t been on a vacation in three years; I know work has been crazy and the finances have been tight. I know we are doing better and I would really like to take a few weeks this year to bond as a family. Would you give that some thought and we can circle back around to that later next week?”
Plant the seed and walk away. You show your partner respect by giving them some time to THINK.
If your concerns are about retirement, try something like, “Hey, honey. I really want to make sure you and I enjoy life and each other in our retirement years. Do you think we can sit down next week and look at everything to see how we are doing? How about next Saturday morning over coffee?”
Now, you’ve given them a chance to THINK about it, some space to not get defensive, and the time to talk and put your mind at ease. Making sure you THINK about your approach, and then giving our spouse time to THINK has a huge impact on your relationship.
This is just the beginning — be sure to find out how your different Money approaches impact your relationship and how to understand each other and feel heard. pick up a copy of The 5 Money Personalities today.
Remember … apply these two new ways to THINK and see what happens.
How do you approach your conversations about money? How will you apply the two new THINK approaches to your relationship? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Taylor & Megan Kovar
The Money Couple
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