Preparing for “Essential Conversations” On Money
In part 5 of this article series, I talked about the first step in making your marriage a wealth magnet. Of course if you are not yet married, and planning to, Jhoanna and I wish you the same kind of happiness that we have when you find that one person who makes all the difference in the world.
For those who are already married and are having constant arguments with money, congratulations, you are on the right path, as that is what Jhoanna and I have gone through. These arguments, ahem, “conversations” are an essential part of building wealth. Without these “conversations” you will not grow as a couple, instead, you will just pretend that everything is fine and then figure out way too late that it really isn’t.
So, for those already married, and have not had a single “conversation” about money, then it is about time you had one don’t you think?
Before you talk about money, like Jhoanna and I do, it would be best to have a common understanding about marriage and money and a few “rules” to follow so that it does not end up ruining your marriage as it usually does with a lot of people. In our experience, there are 3 usual causes of miscommunication between couples when talking about money:
- You must realise that when you first fell in love with each other, that it was because of either good looks, fatal attraction, common hobbies or mutual love for movies and food or whatever entertains you. Money was usually never spoken of until it was time to know who will pay for the church, the florist, the reception etc.
- Your personal attitude towards money, despite the common interests that made you want to be together, can be the exact opposite of each other. You like to spend, when the other wants to save, or you hate talking about money while the other can’t stop talking about money. You think that a free credit card in the mail is free money, while the other might think it is the tool of the devil, and the list goes on and on.
- Both of you will think that you are right and will want to prove the other one wrong especially after the “honeymoon stage”. Remember, when it comes to money, pride and ego will prevail so neither of you are right or wrong, and when pushed to a corner or when one is made to feel wrong, the person will lash back or close his/her mind to whatever is said after and that may spell the end of the conversation or start the end of the marriage.
So, here are 3 rules each for husband and wife that Jhoanna and I live by that helped us survive these “essential” conversations on money. This is what works for us, so we hope this may work for you as well.
First, the Man must do the following:
- Lead the conversation first with a simple prayer with your wife: “Lord, give me humility and remove my ego during this conversation, give me open mindedness, give me a strong spirit, and help me understand the wisdom of my wife. And may my wife have humility as well, please also give her an open mind, give her strength in dealing with my stubbornness and love me no matter what, Amen.”
- If the conversation turns into a heated argument, NEVER, let the day end without reconciling with your wife. Never sleep angry, stay up the entire night if you have to (also don’t let her sleep of course) but make it a rule to reconcile no matter how bad the conversation may be. Most of the time, the man has to be the one to say “sorry” first. Do so if you mean it, do so even if you don’t want to, forget your pride and just do it, because if she was at fault and she knows it, she will say sorry too.
- Open your mind to what your wife believes about money. Know that she is more than just a pretty face, she is also your confidant for life and how you will grow your wealth together. (This is especially true if she knows more about money than you.)
Now, the wife must do the following as well:
- If your husband does not initiate the conversation, which he most likely will not, you need to lead it. Ask him for help with understanding the family finances. Or ask him to pray with you same as number 1 above. Whatever you do, make him feel important and never make him feel stupid or wrong even if it feels that way. Men are very egotistical when it comes to money. The key to keeping him open to talking to you about money is to stroke his ego and make him feel good about himself.
- Now while initiating the conversation, understand that your husband can be very stubborn and sometimes set in his ways. Do not nag him as this will push him away and may start to avoid you like the plague. Instead, just keep asking for his help, eventually he will come around.
- Now, if the first 2 suggestions don’t work, you can always go the complete opposite and demand to talk about your future. Sometimes a man needs a little knock on the head to make him realise that you are serious about it. (This is Jhoanna’s specialty actually. )
The first 2 suggestions are actually what I believe would work with majority of men out there, the third one works only if the husband worships his wife like I do.
In the next article, I talk about my conversations with my wife about credit cards so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, here are your assignments:
- Comment on this article, tell me why these methods doesn’t work for you or tell me if you have successfully had an argument already with your spouse.
- Let your husband or wife read this article and comment on it as well.
Good luck and see you in the next article!