Money can be an extremely touchy subject.
Even for those of us who swear money isn’t important, there’s no way to deny that dollars touches our lives in every way, whether we like it or not. If you’re reading this, you probably have a clear idea on how important money is to a well lived life, and how essential solid communication around the topic is to a happy, healthy marriage.
Unfortunately, money is one of the primary catalysts leading to couples fighting, and one of the leading causes of divorce in this country. It’s easy to fight about money, and most couples occasionally find themselves on opposite sides of a financial dispute. Constant fighting is cancer to a marriage, creeping into every crevice of a couple’s lives, slowly eroding the way they interact with one another. This decay can be especially damaging when the topic is as core to a couple’s daily life as money.
And problems with money don’t have to be something “serious” like gambling or addiction to cause serious problems either. Poor habits or inept money management can degrade the health of an otherwise strong marriage. Learning a few simple strategies that make it easier to communicate, before little problems blow up to become big ones, can be the difference between a household filled with peace and quiet, and one that’s silent for an entirely different set of reasons.
Use the 3 following strategies to help you discuss money with your spouse, without any argument.
Honesty is the best policy, right?
Lies fester, especially when they’re about money. But numbers are black and white, right and wrong, so getting creative with your stories is never a good idea.
This goes both ways – if you make a mistake, look your partner in the eye, tell them you’re sorry, and mean it. Ownership goes a long way. If you expect to keep your partner accountable, you must hold yourself accountable as well.
Whatever the problem is, and no matter whose “fault” it might be, use direct language and don’t shade the truth. Keep your cool, and remain reasonable, but get the truth out in the open. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start working toward an effective solution.
Which is exactly what the second strategy is all about.
If you recognize a problem, either with yourself and your personal behavior, or with your partner’s, you must work to correct the problem as quickly as possible.
Problems rarely fade away entirely by themselves. This is especially true when it comes to difficulties with money, which tend to get worse, and more expensive, by the day. Money is the blood of your existence, you must treat it with the same care you would give to any other artery.
Deal with financial problems as soon as they appear, and use specific language to tell your partner exactly what you mean. If you made a mistake, address it immediately, and with specificity. The same holds true if you recognize a problem with your partner.
Don’t let your feelings stew. Address the issue at your earliest opportunity, working toward a solution together will help you grow together, intelligently as a couple.
Growth is often a shortcut to happiness.
Making mistakes can lead to growth, and consistent growth can lead to a full, happy and healthy life. Mistakes are essential to the process. Of course, mistakes can be a resource too easily overproduced, so make sure you’re running more than you’re falling, but never forget that if you’re willing to learn from every mistake, each one will have value. You always succeed by failing fast.
Recognizing this truth is essential to effective communication with your partner.
If you’ve made a mistake, make sure your partner knows you understand what you did wrong and why you won’t do it in the future, along with specific strategies you will use to produce different results.
If the wallet is in the other pocket, assure your partner that you’re not upset, then let them see your cup half-full by reminding them that there’s value to be gained from the setback.
Communicate well with your partner and you can turn money squabbles into money growth. This will lead to a better balance, both with your bank account, and the health and stability of your marriage.