Money is one of the most common issues couples fight about, even before marriage. But, once you share finances or have to talk to each other about them, things can start to feel pretty tense.
While there are plenty of old stereotypes and tropes about “money fights,” they’re no laughing matter.
Knowing how to talk about your finances effectively and productively can benefit your relationship. It’ll help you avoid some stressful fights. But, it can also strengthen your relationship.
So, how can you have the “money talk” without letting it lead to a fight? Let’s go over a few helpful tips you can use.
Understand You Won’t Always Agree
Everyone has different ideas about money. Maybe you’re a saver, and your partner likes to spend. Or, maybe your partner does a lot of research before making big purchases, and you go with instinct.
It doesn’t matter what your money differences are. What matters is that you both know them, understand them, and respect them.
When you both understand where you’re coming from, you can make better decisions together from a financial standpoint.
Does that mean you’ll always agree? No. But, it means you can work together, knowing where the other person is coming from. You can create a list of pros and cons from both standpoints to come to a more productive conclusion and solution.
Don’t Bring It Up in the Moment
The worst time to discuss finances with your partner is when you’re already in a fight about it.
Don’t wait until you have to make a big purchase. Also, don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a financial decision. When you wait until these moments, the “money talk” becomes a bigger deal than it needs to be.
Besides, you don’t even necessarily have to sit down and have a long, drawn-out conversation with your partner about money at any time. Instead, talk about it a little bit each day or a few times a week. You’ll learn more about each other’s habits and financial values that way, without getting overwhelmed by the subject.
Don’t Only Talk About Spending
Many couples make the mistake of focusing solely on spending money, rather than earning it. If you’re talking about your finances, you must discuss what you both earn, too.
This approach can be just as uncomfortable for some people, but it’s an integral part of any money talk.
You should view this “side” of your money conversations as a good thing. It can be comforting to know what kind of income is available to you as a couple. You can talk about your spending habits based on it, and decide what you both need to sustain yourself in your relationship financially.
Just like you shouldn’t wait to have a conversation about money, you shouldn’t expect you and your partner to agree about your finances all at once.
If you’ve noticed that you do disagree about some things, don’t try to get them to see it your way immediately. That’s what will lead to more serious arguments.
Instead, be as neutral as possible when you hear their opinions and values about money and ask that they do the same for you. It won’t always be easy, but it will help to prevent any big, explosive fights over finances.
If you and your partner are struggling when it comes to talking about your finances, you’re not alone. But, it also doesn’t need to be a source of contention in your relationship.
Feel free to contact me for some more solutions about how you can effectively talk about money, and work through your financial differences together.
For more information about marriage or couples counseling, click here.
About the Author
Julia Nelson, LPCA, LMFTA is a psychotherapist and owns a private practice in Henderson County, (Flat Rock) NC and Rutherford County, (Forest City) NC. In general, she specializes in couples counseling, anxiety and depression counseling, premarital counseling, and parenting classes. She is also a Certified Clinical Military Counselor. To find out more about Julia click here: Nelson Christian Counseling.
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