This blog was originally published on Isabell Agumbah’s Personal Finance Website.
It’s an argument that’s far too common for married couples. One person penny pinches and the other person spends money lavishly. If you find yourself in this predicament, there’s no need to fret. There are plenty of solutions to this problem.
Approach Your Spouse in a Calm Manner
Whatever you do, don’t yell or even raise your voice to your spouse, especially over this matter. Anger words escalate into tense, hurtful arguments. Instead, speak in a compassionate manner, working together to solve a problem, no against one another to prove who’s right. Use a calm tone that stems from a truly loving disposition. You want to approach your spouse in this manner because you’ll come off as trying to prove a point rather than seeking to understand your partner’s side of things.
Make a fresh start by having a new outlook. Any money spent foolishly is already out the door. So, instead of focusing on the mistakes past the point of learning from them, take the ideas learned together and create a solution that works for your spouse and you. Doing so will create unity within the marriage and make it more likely that your spouse will talk to you instead of run the other direction whenever money is the topic of discussion.
Take Turns Paying the Bills
Although people joke about being horrible with money who then outsource all the financial handlings to their spouses, it is likely that those relationships result in strained feelings. That’s because the other spouse often has no idea how much is being spent on rent, food, utilities, and other large expenses. By allowing your spouse to see where your money goes, he/she might be less likely to splurge the way they may have done in the past. This is because it creates a sense of shared responsibility, in which neither of you acts as a parental figure, reprimanding the other for poor choices.
Keep an Open Mind
Keep in mind that you are a human being who does not know everything. You may think to yourself that you know that, of course. But, think about it within this specific circumstance. Do you know everything there is to know about managing finances? Is there any way at all that you are contributing to the poor handling of your joint finances? Is there anything you can learn?
To help both of you humble yourselves, you can create an impromptu, mini-curriculum, for example, for the two of you to study together. This puts you both on the same side and forces you both to learn about better management tools and grow in your relationship.
Finally, while your spouse shares his/her thoughts and feelings about the educational material, make sure to pay attention to how they act and what they say. Paying closer attention to these cues can help you better understand your partner and understand the current situation. Doing this can put you in tune with your partner’s needs and wants during the conversation. When you realize that logically, you are in the wrong or have wronged your spouse in any way, make sure to automatically admit it. Then, apologize. This will help your spouse to realize that you are not out to get him/her, but rather, work together.
Just because you have a disagreement over money doesn’t mean that you and your spouse are doomed. A lot of these money issues can be resolved by approaching your spouse in a calm manner, starting over, taking turns paying the bills, and by keeping an open mind.