Everyone has different opinions; this is what makes each one of us great. However, when these different opinions conflict with our loved ones and cause problems it can be tough; especially in a marriage and especially when that topic is money.
So what can you do that will help you and your spouse agree on money?
Before I answer that question I want to first remind you that you cannot force an idea or a change on someone. Even if they say they understand and agree with it, they won’t stick with it in the long run if they don’t truly believe it. If your spouse says, “Sure, we’ll pay off the debt,” just to get you to leave them alone but they don’t believe in it, that debt will eventually come back. You can’t force somebody to change their mind.
With that being said, there are some steps that you can take in order to come to a better agreement with each other so that you are both happy.
Life Goals First
Before you ever begin to agree on money you first need to agree on what you want from life. You have to have shared goals because what you value and want in life is where you will spend your money. If you disagree with your spouse on what you want from life, it is hard to ever agree on the money part.
Sit down and come up with your goals and “why” you want that goal. For example, “We want to retire at the ocean.” Well, why do we want to retire there? “We want to retire there because we both feel calm and relaxed by the ocean. We enjoy evening walks on the beach and the sounds of the waves on the hitting the shore.”
Once you’ve set your goals and the “why,” you both understand where you’re going and why you want to get there together. That foundation has been set and you can slowly begin to discuss the money points where you have differing opinions.
(For more help on how to set goals)
Discuss, Discuss and Discuss Some More
Next you want to discuss each person’s point of view on the money areas you disagree on. Discuss this from all angles, look at the pros, cons, the math and the emotions that are involved with each view. Take your time with this as you most likely will not change an opinion overnight, but every conversation will help the other person see where the other is coming from.
It also helps to discuss how this money issue impacts your goals. Does it slow down your progress, speed it up or have no impact. Then discuss if you are both willing to take that outcome on your goals.
An example: my husband and I both agreed credit card debt was not good. However, we disagreed on other types of debt. Slowly — and when I say slowly I mean over years and years of discussing the pros, the cons, the math and other life views — we both compromised and slightly changed our opinions to a point where we both were in agreement. This change came not just from our discussion, but also how it would impact our goals and life.
Budget and Plan Together
Finally, you need to be budgeting and planing together. This is one of the best things that you both understand why the other person has a specific money belief.
When you are budgeting and planning together, you both get intimate knowledge of what it truly takes to run your household; you both know the numbers and understand where you’re currently at. Many financial conflicts in a marriage come from the fact that one person does not understand either the costs or needs of the household. When you are both working the budget, then you can discuss and understand what it really takes for you to manage your daily expenses plus your long term planning needs.
Please remember we are responsible, mature adults. If you’re discussing and working with your spouse on money and one of you starts throwing a temper tantrum and acting illogically, the other person is immediately going to shut you down and not listen to what you have to say. Be an adult in discussing and managing the household finances and it is easier to make progress together.
Ultimately, you and your spouse are a loving team that needs to find balance, understanding and compromise. In doing this, you will eventually agree on money and will get there with less money fights!
Need help learning how to budget? Check out our ebook on household budgets.