Let's face it: We have all heard the standard tips to prevent money fights. Get a budget, talk about it, stop spending! Sound familiar?
Well, what should you do when these tried-and-true tips aren't working? These aren't poor ideas; they're just not totally productive. We are done, — and we mean done — with financial fights hurting relationships, marriages and kids. Let's stop the money arguments this year (or better yet, today)! It all starts with the 3 T's:
Transparency: This means being totally upfront and honest. Many times we aren't transparent because we don't want to be told "No" from our spouse or significant other. Many of us would rather endure an argument instead of being transparent and sharing what we really spent or how we broke a money promise. Why do we do this? We think of our spouse as our "mother" or "father". Let's nip that mentality in the bud and stop thinking of our spouse as our parent. (Let's think of them as our partner and friend)!
Here is a way to start a transparent conversation: "I blew it. I said I wasn't going to spend any money on 'X' ... but I did. I want you to know that I care about you and our relationship and I broke a promise ... and I am sorry." Being transparent will help the money fights go away because you are cutting off the fight at the pass — you're taking responsibility for your actions. Everyone hates money surprises and appreciates a sincere apology!
Timing: Timing is everything. And this is really true when it comes to money: The other week Bethany and I had a minor bump in the road with our finances. Our car broke down and cost more to fix than it was worth. It was no one's fault; it just was one of those things that happen. I misunderstood what it was going to cost and there was no money in the budget for what she spent.
However, I came home and went off — and it sent us into a tailspin. All sorts of stuff came up in that "conversation" (read: fight). Bottom line was that my timing could not have been worse. I should have waited until we were both ready for the conversation and the kids were asleep. My bad. The conversation needed to happen, but I went about it in the wrong way. I should have taken our own advice on that one. Sorry, hon!
Thinking: We have all heard the phrase "think before you speak". The reality is, we hardly ever actually do it. When you feel your blood boiling and you're about to lose it, just walk away or take a break. Think about the other person's money personality (and how it might be different than yours), think about the situation and how it is really going to affect your money, and think about how you are going to position your concern to your significant other. Just think it through and save yourself from a major fight! (Learn more about how to fight fair in our book The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking The Same Love and Money Language)
With these three T's you can have the best year ever and be the happy couple you have always dreamed of being. If you haven't already, be sure to take the Money Personality Quiz so you know both of your Money Personalities before you read our book. Here's to a great, fight-free 2014.
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple®
Creators of The 5 Money Personalities™
Scott & Bethany Palmer are regulars on national TV and radio and speak internationally about The 5 Money Personalities™. Visit TheMoneyCouple.com or pick up a copy of their book The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language.
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