By Belinda Bassene
Life is busy. Calendars fill up fast.
To-Do lists are created. In the midst of the chaos, conversations with our spouses are happening….
When are we going to do the laundry?
Should we get a dog? What kind?
Are we ready to buy a house?
I don’t feel like making dinner; shall we get take-out?
As these exchanges are happening, we may find ourselves desiring more when it comes to our conversations. It truly is difficult to pause for meaningful chats, let alone around topics that are hard to talk about. Especially money.
If you find yourself having a hard time talking about money, you are not alone. According to studies, almost 70% of couples argue about money.
Let’s beat that statistic and create a new normal: one where 70% of couples are confident when having meaningful conversations about money.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Don’t Avoid It
This seems like common sense. However, Lab42 conducted an online survey of 1,000 people in October of 2015 and discovered 77% of Americans actually avoid talking about money. And according to our Love & Money Project partner, Dr. Sonya Britt of Kansas State University, the risk of divorce for those who disagree about money frequently, increases by almost 70%. So, if we know money has the power to break-up marriages, let’s not avoid talking about it! Take a step towards financial strength and a happier marriage by beginning the conversation about money.
But where do we start?
2. Ask Questions
It is easy to assume that we know so much about the person we are spending the rest of our lives with. Yet, as we work with couples we see that many have no idea what each other thinks about money. They don’t know their story. Here are a few questions to explore this topic together:
What do you believe to be true about money?
- Whether they are actually true or not, we all have beliefs about money. These ideas were created before we even realized and we carry them with us through our entire life. Examine together how these beliefs play out in each of your lives individually, as well as in your relationship.
What is your earliest memory of money?
- Pause to learn this about one another, and reflect on how it plays out in your own life.
You’ll be surprised to see how it continues to show up in your life.
How do you feel about money?
- Take time to share what makes you feel confident or anxious. Share what creates a sense of freedom when it comes to money. As you reflect on this, you may find that you have more feelings about money than you ever realized.
3. Use “Yes, and…”
Implement a common communication and improv comedy rule by using the words “yes, and.” When we use “yes, and” instead of “yes, but,” we naturally begin to build solutions and possibilities together instead of tearing one another down. Try this tip out in your next conversation. You’ll be amazed where the dialogue can go!
4. Schedule Time to Talk
This will assist in not avoiding the conversation. We’ve already talked about how full our calendars can be, so hold a spot to make meaningful conversations a priority. You may want to check in quarterly, every month, or even every other week. Find the best cadence for your life together.
5. Offer Generosity and Gratitude Every Day
At some point in your day, take a moment to identify what you are grateful for and how
you’ve experienced or offered generosity. This comes in especially helpful when you are feeling frustrated and it can completely change your conversations because it changes your heart. Crazy, right?! Try it. I dare you.
Tackle the money talk in a meaningful way. You’ve got this. Check out more to strengthen your relationship in love and money at www.loveandmoney.com.
About the Author
Belinda Bassene is a part of The Love & Money Project, an initiative of brightpeak financial helping couples and families grow stronger together by improving their relationship with money. When she isn’t passionately talking about love and money you may find her kayaking or planning a party. She resides in Minneapolis with her family.
Join us tonight at 8 p.m. ET for this month’s COMPASS Live Chat led by staff from brightpeak financial. Join with the following link. stewardshipresources.adobeconnect.com/compasschat217
Photo credits: loveandmoney.com, pixabay.com