There are few subjects that can spark an argument as quickly as money. You are well aware of the statistics that state money is the most significant contributor to divorce. In over 28 years of working with families, I have seen my share of disagreements. So, what is the answer? How do you communicate without arguing?
One PR agent sent me a pitch for a show promoting an author who wants to talk about how to win arguments when communicating with your spouse. I didn’t see the point in doing that interview. After all, I don’t think the answer is to become a more effective “arguer.”
I think that it comes down to reframing the situation and changing the way you look at communication. Before I go on, I do have a disclaimer to what I believe to be true principles of communication. First, if there have been issues for many years, this isn’t going to change overnight. It will take work. Second, you have to commit to change. That is the only way it works.
Leave your ego at the door or said another way, lose the need to be right
The vast majority of money arguments are about one person being right and the other being wrong. That is pure and simple ego. Who cares who is right? Leave that ego at the door. If you are going to be right, you have to make the other person wrong.
Seek first to understand and then be understood or said another way, show respect
This is an old Stephen Covey principle that is so powerful. Step into your spouse’s situation and work to see it from their side. Once you understand, then help them understand your perspective through the lens of your new understanding. They will be more willing to accept how you feel, given that you have extended that luxury first.
Show some grace or said another way, just do what God extends to us every day
Dealing with money is not easy. We all make dumb decisions or have made mistakes at one time or another. Just show your spouse some grace and understanding when mistakes are made. By doing so, you are building a valuable element in your relationship – trust. As I have always said, unless you are perfect, show Grace.
Pray before you discuss and invite God to the discussion
It is very difficult to argue with God sitting at the table.
I know what you are thinking. My spouse would never buy into any of this. There is a lot of baggage. That may be true. This is why to create a deeper relationship; sometimes, you have to take the lead and model the change for the other person. Be those principles, and don’t accept anything less. Remember that it takes two to argue.
Most importantly, realize that only God can change a person’s heart. Pray for that change. The alternative isn’t worth it in the end.
Go to my Youtube channel and watch the 10 Commandments of Couple Communication With Money for more tips. (LINK)
Bob Brooks is the daily host of the Prudent Money Radio Show. He writes about stewardship and financial topics Monday through Thursday each week. For questions or advice, feel free to contact Bob at 972-386-0384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.