When you got married, the preacher probably said something like, “Now you become one.” What he meant was: You and your spouse are a team. You work together.
But many couples let money problems drive a wedge in their relationship. Sometimes, one person wants to make things right—start budgeting, watch spending, and save money. But the spouse isn’t having it. They might want to continue on wrecklessly spending.
So if you find yourself in that situation, how do you manage? How do you convince a reluctant spouse that you both have serious money issues that need to be taken care of?
It comes down to three things:
1. Your Words
Simply put, watch what you say. Stay away from absolutes like, “You never listen to me!” or “I always have to pay the bills!” Ask your spouse for their opinion, and listen more than you speak.
Remember, you have two ears and one mouth!
2. Your Tone
You know what it sounds like when someone speaks in a condescending tone, and you know how harmful that is when you’re trying to resolve conflict. So make sure you keep your tone respectful and polite.
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Also, pay attention to your body language—crossing your arms, furrowing your brow, or rolling your eyes sends negative signals to your spouse. Most importantly, be open. When you go into a conversation with an open mind, without preparing to automatically shoot down everything the other person says, your tone will reflect that spirit.
3. Your Timing
Remember, this conversation is just a starting point to address money issues. You aren’t sitting down and writing a budget yet. That said, your timing is still incredibly important.
Pick a time when the kids are asleep or aren’t around. Don’t start the conversation when you’re already upset, or when you’ve had a bad day at work. And keep it fairly short and to the point. You should be able to have a good healthy conversation in 30 minutes.
Most importantly, make it a priority! If you’re both planners, then put it on the calendar. But if scheduling the talk ahead of time will add negative anticipation and tension, then just let it happen naturally when the time’s right. That’s totally up to you.
If you’re married to a reluctant spouse who isn’t quite ready to get your financial life in order, then we believe these tips will help. Remember: pay attention to your words, tone and timing, and we think you’ll take a huge step toward strengthening your relationship and improving your money situation.
If you need additional help with your family’s finances, you may need to find a financial coach. Get in touch with a Dave Ramsey-trained financial coach today.
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