How to Talk About Money With Your Spouse (Without Fighting)

Financial peace is important for more than just building and maintaining a fat bank account. It can also spell disaster (or peace!) for your marriage.

Financial issues are one of the leading causes of marital disputes and divorce. And while that is a sad statistic to share, it is not all that surprising. Anyone who has fought about money, talked about money, or disagreed about money can certainly understand why it would cause a problem between two married people.

To avoid these kinds of fights, many couples decide to not join finances. But it is not clear that that means you’ll avoid every money fight — just a lot of them.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are three things you can do to talk about money with your spouse without fighting:

  1. Choose a neutral time to talk about finances. If you’re a morning person and your spouse is a night owl, it’s not fair to schedule budget meetings at 7AM. You might be bright and bushy tailed, but your spouse will already be on edge from losing valued morning sleep. Pick a time that works for both of you — that you’re both relaxed, well-rested, and interested in talking money.
  2. Put a lid on the time for each meeting. Dave Ramsey sets a budget meeting limit at 17 minutes. For me, that’s way too short! I’d love to talk for a solid 90 minutes. But that’s something my husband really needed — a limit on the meeting time — to feel more interested in the conversation. Whether you’re the spouse who prefers a short meeting or a long one, keep it short and have meetings more frequently rather than long meetings every once in a while that try your spouse’s patience.
  3. Understand where your spouse is coming from. Both spouses need to take time to share their relationship with money in the past and how their parents talked about money. Because you never know what influences your spouse is bringing into your relationship! If your spouses parent’s constantly argued about finances and never had enough money to go around, it’s no wonder he is reluctant to have those meetings once a week! It’s only by understanding each other’s background that you and your spouse will be able to set new expectations (new, peaceful expectations) for how your family unit will deal with money.

There’s no one right way to deal with finances within your family, but there are guiding principles that can make the conversation less painful. Stick to a time limit, talk about your past, and choose a neutral time to talk about finances to keep the fight out of your finances.

6 thoughts on “How to Talk About Money With Your Spouse (Without Fighting)

  1. I always struggle with finding the right time to talk about finances. We both are so busy that it’s difficult to schedule a time. Part of it is that typically the things we SHOULD be talking about aren’t always the funnest things to talk about. It’s easy to find time to talk about the fun things like “hey my bonus was ____, what should we do with it?” It seems like some things there is NEVER a good time to discuss.

  2. Short meetings have been the key for my wife and I. I could talk about money all day long until I am blue in the face. Although we are on the same page financially 99% of the time…my wife just doesn’t really have that much interest in the nitty gritty details.

    I am okay with that.

    So I have had to learn to really condense our pow wows when we talk about finances.

    Cheers!

  3. No tactic will work if either spouse is willing to listen. Whenever we get into trouble it’s because we are not really hearing what the other is saying. We are too focused on getting our own point across instead of really focusing on the points/feelings of the other.

  4. We talk money whenever we feel we need to but try to have a budget review every few months to really get down into the details. We also discuss our long term financial plans a lot while we leisurely stroll in our neighborhood with our dogs. It’s a nice relaxing time. I think the fact that we know we can talk about it every night makes it less of an issue. Bottling lots of resentment or issues up while waiting for the right time will breed bad feelings for sure! Keep open honest communication open!

  5. My husband and I come from very different money backgrounds and had very different emotional reactions to money. It took us awhile for me to start really taking his background into account. But things went much better when I did.

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