It’s a classic scenario: you want to get the finances organized, and your spouse doesn’t seem to care. What I’ve found in my experience as a coach is that the seemingly apathetic spouse is almost always more willing to participate than the other spouse assumes. If you want your husband or wife to get on board with a budget, follow these five essential tips and you’ll see an improvement in both your bank account and your marriage.
Approach your finances as an equal team.
So often the “motivated” spouse feels like they are alone and therefore, must take control over the finances. This is not what you want to do because it creates a parent/child dynamic in your marriage, and what spouse wants to be treated like a child? Instead of giving your spouse a spending allowance or making a budget by yourself and telling them how it is, ask them if they are willing to sit down with you for 30 minutes after dinner to make a plan together. Thank your spouse for participating and don’t criticize them while you’re making your budget together. This is not the time to bring up spending grudges! Keep it positive and focus on the progress you’re making.
Check in regularly.
If you wait a whole month to talk about money, there’s going to be miscommunication. Set a weekly check-in time to stay on track with your budget and make adjustments for the week ahead. If When one of you makes a mistake or overspends, this is the time to address it, correct it, and move on. This way you can stay on top of your money and it won’t be overwhelming to course-correct.
Set a shared goal.
Money talk should not be all about your problems. It has to also be about your goals and dreams! What do you both want to do with your money? Maybe you’ve both always wanted to hike in New Zealand, or reduce the debt enough to have mom stay home with the kids. Whatever goal you come up with, make it the focus of why you’re budgeting and being intentional with your money.
Leverage your spouse’s strengths.
This one is harder when you feel frustrated or disappointed by your spouse’s apparent lack of interest in helping with the finances, but I promise your spouse has strengths that can make your financial situation better. One of the things we do in coaching is use assessments to figure out what each of your strengths are. Then we look at how your personality and values affect the way you view money, and how you can communicate about money more effectively together. When you’re able to understand your spouse’s perspective and view your differences as assets, it’s amazing how much progress you can make together toward your financial goals.
Hire a coach.
Money and marriage are undeniably emotional topics, and what’s more, there are a lot of financial decisions to be made every day. My role as a coach is to give you a framework for making those decisions together and to call out your strengths so you can quickly get on the same page and be a united team. It’s helpful to talk with someone who has the 10,000-foot view of your situation and can bring a certain objectivity to what may feel chaotic and out of control. You’ll gain clarity and direction so much faster and with less struggle than by going through this alone.
Instead of struggling through day to day and wondering if you’ll ever get your spouse on board, follow these five tips and you’re likely to see real progress in a short amount of time.