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In fact, the recent National Survey of Families and Households found that regardless of their tax bracket, married couples who frequently argued about finances were more likely to divorce. This same study showed that arguments about money were harsher, lasted longer and required more time and effort to bounce back from.
Because the “M” word is so potentially contentious, some couples tip toe around the subject and refuse to talk about it. They communicate only when necessary about bills due or purchasing decisions and even then, they speak with guardedness or get defensive before the discussion has begun.
Particularly with the economic challenges that have been going on not only in the U.S. but around the globe, it’s essential for couples to learn how to talk about sensitive subjects like money and to do so in ways that help them stay close and trust one another.
Unfortunately, these habits get in the way and make money a topic that gets avoided at all costs or is at the center of frequent blow ups...
- Different rules and priorities
- Hiding spending
- Defensiveness about purchases
- Secretiveness when financial challenges arise
And there are more. Think about how a usual conversation about money goes for you and your partner. How does he or she react? What do you say or do? What is your mood just before and during a money talk? How close or far apart do you two feel after you’ve communicated about financial matters?
If the way you and your partner talk about money has been a springboard for arguments or cold and hostile silence in the past, know that this is bad for trust, connection and the overall health of your marriage. Use these 4 tips to improve communication about finances in your marriage...
1. Admit to your money fears.
One thing that sparks and fuels most arguments about money is fear. If you pull back the curtain on your judgments about the way your partner spends too much or refuses to spend much at all, you’re going to find fear.
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No matter what our bank accounts say, just about every one of us has fears about money. It’s about survival, after all! Money is required to provide for our basic needs, not to mention all of those extras that help us enjoy the lifestyle we have (or want to have).
When you admit to the fact that you have worries, fears and maybe even anxiety about money to yourself and to your partner, it helps you understand one another a little more and it encourages compassion too.