Money…always a sensitive topic and always difficult to approach, whether you’re asking your boss for a raise, negotiating a deal, splitting the bill…
What’s interesting though, is that even in your closest relationship (the one with your partner or spouse), money issues make for an uncomfortable discussion.
But these conversations about money are not only inevitable in a relationship, but are really important to have. Couples who are married or live together need to be upfront about their financial goals, expectations and should work out how they are going to manage their finances (setting a budget, deciding who pays for what, etc). Doing this from the outset is key to minimizing conflict over money issues at a later stage. Nothing kills romance more than arguments over a credit card bill or a telephone account.
However, as most of us don’t anticipate that something like money would get in the way of our ‘happily ever after’, here are some tips on how to talk to your man whenever money-issues arise:
- Wait for the right moment – when he’s watching the football or has just come home from a stressful day at work is definitely not the time to approach this. How about making him his favorite dinner or letting him relax before raising the topic.
- Communicate Positive Warm Ups – It’s vital to communicate compliments, appreciation and other positive feelings to your partner. To help your partner feel good enough you want to begin any communication session by sharing one or two “positive warm ups with each other. A few opening lines to establish an atmosphere of mutual appreciation are; “one of the things I like best about you is…, or we make a good couple because..”
- Don’t accuse – no two people are the same, and this extends to financial values. Perhaps you are a conservative spender, but your partner likes to spend more freely…He is coming from a different place than you are on this issue, so accusations and finger-pointing will simply push him away and put him in defensive-mode. Try explaining the issue from your point of view in a non-accusatory way and offer a solution to the issue e.g. he is passionate about cars and owns an expensive car which is putting financial strain on you as a couple. Explain to him the daily stress that this places on you, and suggest that perhaps he needs to downgrade to a slightly less expensive model, or else perhaps he has a plan to earn supplementary income to support this lifestyle.
- Don’t be defensive – do you have a financial ‘oops’ that you’d like to share with your guy? Whether you’ve recently checked your bank statement and have noticed that you’ve been overspending on your budget or have been on a wild spending spree and are now concerned about the consequences (it happens to the best of us), own up to it, take responsibility and look for a solution!
- Suggest weekly money dates. Money problems rarely appear overnight. Tell your partner you want to discuss your budget regularly as a team to avoid the possibilities of errant spending, unpaid bills, and empty savings and retirement accounts. Make your money date fun.
If you are having difficulty talking to your partner about money or having conflicts over finances, we are a group of skilled therapists specializing in premarital/marriage counseling. Since Covid started we have been working with couples providing Virtual/Online Premarital Counseling in New York, New York City, Scarsdale, East Hampton, Buffalo, Albany, New Jersey, Hoboken, Jersey City, Princeton, Chatham, Morris, Westfield, Union, Bergen County, Millburn, Montgomery, Somerset, Colts Neck, Tenafly, Alpine, Ridgewood, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Franklin Lakes, Hillsdale, Glen Rock, Montvale, Mahwah, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramapo, Westwood, Glen Ridge, Rumson, Red Bank, Wayne, Little Falls, Hillsborough, Watchung, Summit, Springfield, Livingston, Montclair, Maplewood, Morristown, Berkeley Heights, Warren, Basking Ridge and Millstone. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE.