Just The Three of Us: You, Me and The Money
Are you fighting over money with your partner? Join the club. It's no secret that fighting about money puts a massive strain on a relationship. Finances are the leading cause of relationship problems according to a survey by SunTrust Bank.
Money itself is not so much the issue, it’s the lack of communication that is sole cause of disagreement. But you and you partner can overcome this through listening and negotiation.
Keeping the communication channel open and honest is key to a successful and healthy relationship. It’s always a good idea to discuss money even if there is no issue.
Be open about your goals and expectations, it can avoid future landmines. Choose an appropriate time and place to have the discussion don't bring in up on the spot when you feel heated or to negate an issue your partner has brought up. Be clear about what you want to discuss and make sure the way you communicate is neutral. Start with the goal rather than the issue. An example –
“I would like to work together on making some plans so we can have the future we want” rather than “You are spending too much money on things we don’t need”.
Do not use the word “you”. It attributes blame.
Start the money conversation with the objective to understand where they are coming from and how you can help them. Do not go into a conversation with an expectation that your partner needs to change their habits. Listen to them. Then let them know how you feel even if that means admitting your own mistakes.
Don’t defend yourself, instead talk about what is important to you. Try not to bring up other topics and past events. If the conversation starts to move elsewhere gently steer it back, let your partner know that what they want to discuss is important too and you can organise a time to talk about that but right now you have agreed to talk about XYZ. For every negative statement you make, try and offset that with at least three positive ones. And don’t forget to say what you appreciate about your partner.
Speaking to a neutral professional is a great way to bring up topics that feel difficult for you, speak to your coach before the meeting and let them know the areas you want to discuss.
Remember love comes first. It's not always right to be right.