How Couples Can Stop Fighting About Money

Have you ever had trouble talking money with your honey? Is it something you stay silent about, or try to handle in your own way? Or do you just defer to your husband or partner?

Money is still the number one reason couples split, and I’m committed to moving that reason down on the list.

As a financial planner, I’m really conscious of the fact that staying in love and money over a lifetime can be really tricky business. As a wife, I’m also aware that even though I teach personal finance best practices, financial intimacy didn’t come for my husband and I without a few bumps in the road.

Part of your work as a couple who is committed to staying together is to get to know what you can about your own and your partner’s money psychology. More specifically, we all have particular money scripts that we live into that I call Money Operating Systems™.

I teach people about their Money Operating Systems™ in my TEDx talk, “The Surprising Power of Language to Make You Rich.” 

Here’s my 3-Step Plan to Help You Stop Fighting About Money

  1. Share Openly About Your Money Past
    Here’s where I’m going to ask you to be really honest and humble. I want you to look into your financial habits and determine if they are working the way you want it to. Do you really want to keep repeating the behaviors that get you those results?What is your story about money? Have you sentenced yourself to a life of hardship and scarcity? What’s the money pain you don’t want to let go of? The thing you don’t want to leave in the past? What are you afraid of when it comes to you and money and having enough?

    Can you see the futility of being a person whose Money OS™ leads you to produce results you don’t like, and yet arguing with your spouse or partner that we want to do things our way!

  2. Work Together to Improve Your Financial Wisdom
    My husband likes to play the credit card points and bonuses game.I have a visceral aversion to credit cards because of all the over-spending I did in my past (link to my bio).

    Don’t get me wrong—point programs are amazing and valuable, but I only want a couple of cards at any one time.

    My husband, however, loves them. He has 12-15 credit cards open at any given time, but he has a FICO score of near 800 and pays them all off every single month.

    When I first figured out how many credit cards he has, I totally freaked.

    I was floored and, honestly, frightened. I wanted him to cut up some of those cards!
    But I decided to look at it rationally. Because of my money history relative to his, because he’s been managing all of those cards effectively, I just decided to trust him.

    We paid for most of our wedding on those cards, and then we paid off the cards… and you know what? We went to Hawaii for two weeks FOR FREE because of his credit card points program management.

    It was incredible. So that’s a perfect example of me being aware of both of our money histories and making a conscious choice that would not have been possible before my awareness of the Money Operating System™.

  3. Forgive Your Partner, Forgive Yourself, and Move Forward with a Plan
    You really have to have compassion for yourself and your partner in this stage—all of our actions in the past have been a function of programming. This isn’t to excuse people of responsibility with money, it’s simply to acknowledge the power of the programming.So once you are aware of all of that nonsense programming, you can see what you need to do to grow wealth with your honey.

    In my case, my husband was managing his finances on his own for 46 years before I met him, and he isn’t necessarily naturally inclined to do things like ask me before applying for another credit card.

    So when these kinds of things come up, we take each other’s money languages in stride. I no longer accuse him of trying to keep me in the dark, and he tries to be more forthcoming.

It takes something for me to be that analytical about my own money, but it brings us to the table together and it creates partnership.

I believe that if more people understood the Money OS™ and its impacts, financial strife in relationships could become a non-issue and more loving couples could stay together. And that sounds good to me!