Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce and many of those divorces are caused from lack of communication. Many couples fight about money. How to spend it, how to save it, who has the most of it…etc. Well, the time has come to put an end to it. Hubby and I rarely fight about money (dirty dishes are a different story), but I will admit to taking the defensive when it comes to explaining how I’ve spent our money. I don’t feel I should have to justify how I spend our money and can occasionally become unjustly offended by some innocent question posed by dear Hubby. Here are a few tips on how to communicate with your spouse more openly (and non-judgmentally) about money.
If you look into your extended family you are bound to find fabulous examples of how to (and not to) handle money in a marriage. You may have an Aunt who is a stay-at-home mother who pays the bills while your Uncle earns the income and participates in a weekly budget meeting with his wife. Or you might have a cousin who hides her purchases from her husband, keeps separate accounts and doesn’t know where her money is being spent. Learn from what works…and what doesn’t.
This is where I have trouble, you see, I feel like every question or comment Hubby makes about a purchase I have made is a direct attack upon me, or that he doesn’t approve. Many times it’s the exact opposite and he is impressed with a purchase or had been meaning to get the same thing. It’s important to take a moment, center yourself, and remember this is your loved one and they are not attacking. Perhaps you did not make clear why a specific expenditure was needed or found to be of importance.
It is perhaps just as important to remember when you are the person asking questions how you feel when the tables are turned. Be sure to legitimize your loved ones thoughts and feelings while calmly expressing your own.
Let it go
A trick I learned early in our marriage was how to work my internal filter, though I should probably re-read the manual. I heard somewhere when Hubby and I were in an argument or “discussion” and things started getting sensitive that I should stop, take a second to think about whether “winning” this argument was really worth all the negativity.
Side note: For those of you who don’t know me in real life: I’ve very opinionated…and honest. Some might call me brutally honest. But that’s me, people who know me know that I don’t mean any harm, I just feel like you outta man up to the truth. This honesty only applies to adults. I will tell a child whatever they need to hear =) There is only so much honesty any child needs to hear…
Well, I started shutting up. Really. Now, stop laughing. I did. When Hubby and I would getting into a heated “discussion” and it was clear we couldn’t agree, I started shutting up and taking stock in my case; was it really important enough for me to continue arguing about? Many times, I found it was much simpler and harmonic if I just stopped talking, smiled at him, and nodded. I learned to swiftly change the subject and steer us towards safer topics.
When it comes to money, allow that you were both brought up differently and therefore have differing views on spending and saving. If it isn’t going to have a detrimental effect on your future or your children then consider letting it go every once and a while.
You may find that opening up the lines of communication with your spouse may result in more saving and a more harmonious lifestyle. One where the most you can find to fight about is who’s weekend it is to get up with the kids in the morning.
How do you and your spouse handle money talk? I’d love to hear any more tips and ideas!