Financial discussions can be difficult to have with your partner. Everyone has different philosophies about managing money. However, when couples get married, having healthy discussions about money can directly affect your relationship.
These tips can help guide you through difficult conversations about money.
Have an Open Mind
When discussing your finances, it’s important to keep an open mind. Everyone comes from varying financial backgrounds and may have had different experiences with money. These experiences contribute to a person’s financial outlook, and it can cause conflict when you and your partner don’t see eye to eye.
However, if you maintain an open mind during financial conversations, you may be able to work through disagreements quickly and with more effective solutions.
A great way to avoid confrontation is to spend time focusing on your partner’s strengths.
If the entire conversation is focused on their weaknesses, your partner may get defensive which could lead to arguments. Make sure you acknowledge the financial strengths of your partner so they feel supported throughout your discussion.
Create Realistic Goals
As with any important conversation with your partner, you should agree on a common goal.
Are you talking about setting up a budget, or do you want to save money to start a family? Whatever your goals are, be upfront and honest about them and try to keep the conversation on track.
Remember, when you’re setting up goals with your partner they need to be actionable and specific.
Realistic goals need to include dates and checkpoints, which makes it easier for individuals to hold themselves accountable.
Listen More, Talk Less
These conversations can get long and difficult, especially if either or both of you do all the talking and no listening. Be in tune with what your partner is expressing, simply stating that you understand their point of view. This can go a long way.
Utilizing active listening techniques throughout your discussion will help de-escalate any disagreements you and your partner have. If you feel like you and your partner are struggling with healthy communication, you may want to consult your priest, a marriage counselor, and/or a mentor to help guide you.
Discuss All of Your Finances
This is the best opportunity to be transparent about any financial goals you’re working towards or concerns that you may have. This could include debt, credit score, loans, homeownership, or any other financial matters.
Being transparent about your financial status is the best way to establish an open line of communication about finances going forward. Thoroughly understanding your financial status can help you make educated decisions that impact your lives as a couple, such as moving in together for the first time, applying for a mortgage, or opening a joint bank account.
These larger financial decisions will be greatly impacted by your current financial status and should be discussed openly.
Additionally, you should also explain what you’re prioritizing financially.
That way, you both understand which goals you want to achieve first, and how they can best support your family. Make time in the conversation so both of you can clearly articulate the value of achieving goals. In doing that, you will both feel understood and supported.
It’s Hard, But Not Impossible
Discussing finances with your partner can be scary, especially if you’ve never openly discussed these topics before. However, by keeping an open mind, setting goals, and actively listening you’ll be well on your way to a stronger relationship and even better future conversations about money.