I often get calls or emails from one spouse who is highly concerned about their family finances. Too often it is the wife calling, but that is a article for another time.
After speaking for a few minutes, I ask the questions that lets me know if they’ll be successful or not. [10 Reasons Why Your Marriage and Budget Aren't Working]
“What does your spouse think about your finances? Can we get them on the phone?”
I get a wide range of responses like:
- They don’t know I’m calling.
- Their spouse is the problem.
- My spouse is too busy to deal with money.
- My spouse and I agree we need help, but I’m doing the calling (this is a rare response).
How to Get a Spouse on Board the Financial Train
The problem of course is one spouse has the motivation and desire to make changes, but the other spouse isn’t there yet. The couple will need to be on the same financial train in order for this to work. [I Now Pronounce You a Joint Venture]
A crucial conversation will have to occur to convince the reluctant partner to get on the financial train.
I’ll lay out a few tips on how to have this conversation about money:
1. Examine your own emotions and reasons for wanting to get your financial house in order. It may be because you’re scared, overburdened, have a lack of security, fear the future, or are tired from dealing with the financial stress alone.
2. Tell your spouse you want to talk and set a time. “Hey, honey. I’d really like to discuss something important with you tonight after the kids are in bed.”
3. Clear your schedule, turn off the T.V., put the kids to bed–do whatever you have to make sure you’re alone with your spouse and you have their attention.
4. Share your emotions and reasons for wanting to work on your personal finances together. Don’t demand, nag, or bring up bad habits. Just share your heart and begin a conversation–be sure to listen.
“Sweetheart, I feel really scared about our finances and I need your help.”
“Baby, I’m feeling really stressed dealing with the bills and collectors, can you help me?”
If you have a decent marriage, your spouse will hear your cries for help and gladly step in. They might not have known you were feeling this way or known the extent of the problem.
If you share this and your spouse still turns a deaf ear, then there is a chance you’ve got serious marital issues that require a consultation with a counselor or clergy member.
5. Have a Plan- If your spouse agrees, then have a plan or idea of what to do next. Start a budget, meet with a financial coach, attend Financial Peace University, or have another plan of action that you can both agree on. [Budgeting for Couples and Common Money Fights]
If you follow these steps, you’ll be pulling out of the station on the same financial train heading towards a better marriage and financial situation. All aboard!
Have you ever had to convince a spouse to get on board with your finances? How did you accomplish this?