I'm super thankful for my spouse. We generally agree on major things - like religion, politics and money. Of course, that isn't by happenstance. We both went into our dating relationship with the mindset of finding someone who was compatible with our own viewpoints on those very important aspects of our lives. I realize, though, that isn't always the case. Having disagreements with your significant other in these areas can put major stress on a relationship. I'm going to steer clear of discussing religion and politics in this post (although, if you ask, I'll certainly tell you what I believe 😊). But I will address coming to agreement on finances in a relationship.
Anytime you're in a committed long-term relationship (whether married or not) and living in the same home, you're going to need to come to some sort of agreement on how money is earned, saved and spent. If you have a different "money personality" than your partner, this is going to take some compromise and understanding. You may be struggling with how to broach the subject without causing a divide (or an existing divide to get wider). Here are some ideas that might help.
First, get your mindset right. Your goal is not to "win," but to come to a reasonable compromise. This means you're not going to get everything you want, and you probably aren't going to be completely in love with the outcome… But it most likely will be a solution you both can live with.
Second, don't ambush them. You shouldn't bring the conversation up with out a bit of warning. They aren't going to feel prepared for the conversation, which could lead to a plethora of reactions. Your partner might dig in his heels and be unwilling to move on any point, or he might refuse to discuss at all because you have the upper hand.
Third, it's unlikely you'll resolve this issue to a satisfactory agreement in the middle of an argument. In the heat of the moment, neither you nor your partner will have a rational outlook on the issue. Let the argument pass.
Finally, look for an opportunity when you're both relaxed and in reasonable moods to open the discussion. At this point, you're not looking to actually talk about the finances. Rather, you're going to let your partner know that you want to find a solution to your ongoing disagreements about finances that work well for both of you. Ask her if she would be willing to set some time aside in the next week or so to talk about it with you. This does a couple of things - it gives your significant other time to prepare for the conversation and it expresses your desire to compromise to meet her needs and goals.
To prepare for the conversation, ask your partner to make a list of concerns that he would like addressed in the solution. You do the same. Also, each of you should make a list of goals or outcomes that you hope to see, such as "come up with a budget," or "figure out who will be paying what bills." These goals will be dependent on your specific situation.
When you are talking about finances and discussing your concerns, you each should take a turn discussing a concern and try to find a potential solution for each one. You may not solve everything in this discussion, but it does open the door. Try to make allowances for each person. Keep in mind that everything may not work out to be 50/50… that's not how real life usually ends up. And, remember, your goal isn't to win, but to make your relationship and your financial future better.
Before you end the conversation, ask your partner if he would be willing to have these discussions routinely (schedule it!) so that you both stay on track and hopefully avoid any future misunderstandings. It won't always be smooth sailing, but it is progress!
If you tried this - let me know how it worked out for you!
Jennifer Raschig loves to share thoughts on creating restful spaces and presenting your best self every day.