So, I know I just talked about managing money with your spouse and not going broke or arguing about it, but I also want to address the other and honestly, the bigger problem here. It’s no secret that the key to managing money well lies within your ability to communicate well with your spouse. And I’m a firm believer that that ability to communicate well is born out of an ability to love well.
Now before you go thinking that I know everything there is to know about love and marriages, let me be crystal clear – I don’t. Nope. I’m totally not qualified to hold a Ph.D. in love and marriage but I’ve seen first hand what happens when spouses don’t do this part well.
I’m a child from a “broken home” – a term I hate because my parents worked their tails off so my brother and I never, not even once felt that way about our home life after our parents got a divorce when we were 7 and 5. And not only am I a child of divorced parents but so is my husband. And my husband’s life after his parents got divorced was very different than my life.
We’ve seen what happens when a marriage fails and we’re not naive enough to think that we won’t fail at this thing called love but we are two very determined and stubborn kids that’ll die trying to keep this thing together. And one of the best pieces of advice we got was to read Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. And in case you’re not familiar with the 5 love languages, they’re, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
Here’s why I love that book so much, it made me understand my husband love language (physical touch) in a way that I never could before and it helped my husband understand my love language (words of affirmation) better and thus, we were able to communicate in a better and more effective way.
Words of Affirmation
Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
And I don’t know about you, but I got one sharp tongue. I’ve been told it’s the cruse of a Southern Woman – that she’s full of charm and grace one minute and will cut you like a knife the next, but I think this more a cruse of being a human. When we fail to keep our words in check, they can bring about pain, humiliation, and cause an untold amount of sorrow for both the person wielding the sharp tongue and the person receiving the lashing.
And if we really think about it, the folks that encounter our nasty words are usually the folks that we love the most. We struggle to sometimes see the good intention behind a big brother trying to help his little brother get the toothpaste out of his hair when we’re starring at a kid with patches of missing hair, hair clumps in the bathroom sink, and a 5-year-old waving a pair of scissors around like it’s a battle flag. But then again, kids are cute and when they’re our kids it can be a little bit easier to give grace.
But when it’s our spouse that decides to make a big ol’breakfast for the entire family and in turn creates the biggest mess you’ve ever seen in a kitchen…well, we tend to be a little grace-filled because now that spouse is off to work and you’re left cleaning up the mess, right? Wrong. Where’s the “thank you, babe, for making breakfast so I don’t have to” and where’s the “wow, you make the best pancakes”?
If you’re like me, it can be easy to get sucked into being selfish and thinking how what our spouse is doing is negatively impacting us instead of seeing a good intention and the hard work/effort they put into showing us how much they love us. And if you’re even more like me, you struggle with controlling your sharp tongue and remembering to let your spouse know just how much they mean to you.
So, if you are like me and struggle with the curse of a sharp tongue, I encourage you today to let it go and force yourself to say something nice instead of what you really want to say. Lift up the person in front of you instead of ripping them to shreds.
That’s why I believe that Words of Affirmation are the first priority in learning to communicate with your spouse about money. I strongly encourage you if you’re struggling in the area of communication, to sign up for the Ziglar Family 7-Day Challenge which will go over communication, relationships, and even finance. You can sign up for it here for free.
No “I” in Team
Along with words of affirmation, comes understanding the fact that you’re not alone in this. You’re married – your spouse is just as invested in y’all getting along and managing money well as you are. I think sometimes we can get so caught up in “how does this affect me” that we forget that there is someone else that is affected as well.
We might think, “oh it’s not a big deal to spend this extra $20 while I’m at the grocery store” but we fail to stop and think, is there something that our spouse might want to use the $20 for instead. Now, I’m saying that you have to consult each other every time you want to spend money, but I am suggesting that you keep in mind that it’s not just your money – it’s theirs too.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Everything needs boundaries. Without boundaries, things run wild and out of control and then there’s total chaos. When there are boundaries in place we don’t go out of control or lose focus. We stay in line and things run smoothly.
You need to set healthy boundaries in your relationship with money and your spouse. Give you and spouse some boundaries when it comes to money but also some “go wild” room as well. For example, you can have a boundary, or if a purchase is more than $300 you two much consult each other and decide together if the purchase is right.
My husband and I call this “selling the other one on the idea”. Basically, if there’s a large purchase we want to make, we have to pitch it to the other. If we can’t sell the other one on it, then it’s a no-go. But if we can, then we make the purchase together and move on.
Now, this doesn’t mean, that we just get to spend anything up to $300 willy-nilly. We still have to stay within the budget but we do allow some free-reign room in the budget – kind of like an allowance – that allows us to spend money however we please without feeling guilty about it. It’s awesome. 🙂
I hope this helps you in figuring out where to start with healthily communication with your spouse about money!
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