– The importance of communicating with your spouse about money.
Written by Matt Wegner Founder and Lead Counselor, Matt Wegner Financial Coaching, www.financialexcellence.net
Ok, admit it. Whether you’re single or married, sometime in your life you’ve probably argued with someone about money. If you’ve been in a relationship for any amount of time you’ve probably argued quite a lot about money. If this describes you, it’s ok to admit it. It doesn’t mean you have a serious personality problem. It just means you’re normal. Everyone has a disagreement about money at some point in their lives.
But did you know that money fights are the #1 problem cited by recent divorcees as the reason for the separation? Now it’s getting serious. Who knew when you started the relationship that something silly like money can cause such an irrevocable rift? The truth is that money isn’t really the problem that causes the divorce. Money fights are a symptom of deeper relational problems, mainly poor communication between spouses.
Men are from Mars, Women are…
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but men and women are different. Yep, it’s true. Naturally people from different backgrounds have different values and hold different things as important in life. This fact alone can be the source of conflict in any friendship. But when you compare men to women the differences get even deeper. You start getting into the psychological differences in how each looks at and processes information. For example, women tend to worry about money while men don’t. Why? Simple. Men are wired differently than women. Women generally have an internal need for security while men tend to take more risks. Just like men never need to ask for directions (because we’re never lost!), we tend to charge ahead with our money and not think about what we are doing. Women, on the other hand, have to sit and think about every move and know that everything is going to be ok. Meanwhile, we men are so busy telling you women everything will be fine that we forgot to come up with a plan to make everything ok! So we drive down unknown roads without a map or directions and refuse to admit there’s a problem.
Time to communicate
Until we actually sit down face to face and discuss our needs, wants, priorities, dreams and fears, there’s no way of knowing if our actions are nested with our spouse’s needs, wants, priorities, dreams and fears. Our daily actions could totally be scaring the wits out of our spouse and we wouldn’t know it unless we take the time to talk about it. You have to have the same goals for your money or you are destined to fail. The only way to have the same goals is to talk about what each of you want and compromise to agree on common goals. When you compromise you give up some of your selfishness for the good of the relationship and you become more committed to growing closer together.
Take some time to sit down with your significant other and talk about money. Discuss your wants, needs, fears and dreams. Learn what actions you do with money that paralyzes your spouse with fear. Learn what you can do with money to give your partner confidence that you are on the same page. Most importantly, love each other enough to walk away and cool down when you disagree. Swallow your pride and commit to working through your differences and working together no matter what. Your relationship will be stronger than you ever thought possible.
– Matt Wegner