Hi Achokis. I have been married for 10 years. My husband and I are doing well financially, but the problem is we don’t seem to agree on how to invest our monies.
Whenever we discuss our finances, we end up quarelling and hurting each other that we don’t talk with each other for long periods of time. How can we have money conversations in such a way that it does not lead to conflict? Is it even possible? Please help!
Thank you Nyambura for reaching out for help. Money matters can be very tricky and emotive topic, especially between a couple. No wonder finances rank among the top three leading causes of marital break-ups.
Money conversations are never pleasant and yes, though it is possible to have them, it can be extremely difficult. Yet, you must have these conversations because failure to do so may lead to more serious problems such as leading financially independent lives as a couple.
What leads to the querrelling? Is it because there’s a fear of your opinion not being heard? Is it because you fear being taken advantage of?
Could it be that there are unresolved issues from the past, especially where finances are concerned? Is it just because you view money differently? Putting our monies together and planning for the same can be quite an ordious task.
We each have our priorities, concerns and desires that sometimes don’t march that of our spouse. Our backgrounds also play a significant role as far as money matters are concerned. We also have different money personalities.
For example, one spouse may like saving while the other is a spender. The saver will most of the times appear stingy while the spender, extravagant. What is needed here is a balance, which comes by understanding each other’s money personalities.
Money matters sometimes can be a power game with each spouse wanting to wield their power. So, ensure that doesn’t happen in your marriage. Come with open hearts to hear out each other. Remember you are on the same team. And so have and sustain a cooperative emotional tone rather than a competitive one.
Have a dialogue where you take turns to talk and listen to each other. Have conversations allowing your partner to mirror back what they have heard you say.
Listening well to each other will help as you may just grasp the reason your spouse feels so strongly about a certain issue, what their fears, expectations or needs are and even how their personality may be influencing their decisions.
List down each other’s underlying concerns and adequately discuss them. Assess each other’s concerns after summarising them. Come up with a plan of action that is responsive to the concerns of both sides.
Ask yourselves, is it a win for me and for my spouse? When we know we will be heard, our opinions listened to, and our fears addressed, we may come to the table relaxed, calm and that will help to have a fruitful and safe conversation.
The writers are marriage and relationship coaches