Today, let’s talk about how to get your spouse to join you in working on money.
Last time, we established that:
Handling your family finances with your spouse is not just a joint venture – it’s a teamwork effort. You both will win or lose as a team.
But often times, teamwork is tough to manage.
So, what do you do when your spouse refuses to get on board with your family’s financial plan?
How do you get your spouse on board, so they can join you in working on your family finances?
These are very important questions; questions that a lot of couples struggle to effectively answer.
Right now, we’re in the second section of Page 32, under the title ‘Tough Teamwork: Getting the Reluctant Spouse On Board’, in Chapter 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.
And here’s my lesson for the day:
If your spouse is not on board with the money plan, it doesn’t mean that they’re dumb, stubborn, or clueless. First, it simply means that each of you is seeing the same situation in different ways.
So what does it look like, if you and your spouse can’t agree on your family finances?
1. It works both ways
This is not a man vs woman issue. It can happen both ways.
For example, a man might get annoyed that his wife is not keeping to the monthly budget, and seems to often want to buy extra stuff, order more takeouts, or always thinking of getting that latest home appliance.
Also, a woman might be pissed that her husband shows little or no interest in their money discussion, or seem to always want to buy the latest tech gadget, sporting equipment, or some other ‘unreasonable stuff’ that men buy.
2. Both partners feel bad
The wife may not want to constantly be Debbie Downer, the bearer of bad news – always telling her husband why now’s not the best time to buy that latest menswear or get a new boat.
Conversely, the husband might also feel very bad, being Negative Neil, having to constantly explain to his wife why now’s not a good time to get that new piece of furniture or revamp her wardrobe.
As you might expect, this will take its toll on any marriage: one partner always feels bad being the one to always say ‘no’, while the other might feel like they’re being treated like a spoilt teenager who’s always being told they can’t have everything they want.
Gradually, resentment and bitterness build up between the couple.
And what would have made for a great family exercise to bring the couple even closer could turn into constants arguments and quarrels – causing damage in both their finances and marriage.
From the book, there are certain things you can do to avoid all these, and successfully bring your reluctant partner to the same page with you for your family finances…
… but first, let’s look at the top three things you SHOULD NOT do:
How To Get Your Spouse To Work With You On Your Family Finances: 3 Things Not To Do
1. Don’t nag or whine
Nagging or whining might work if you want your spouse to do something once and done. But if your goal is to get them on the same page with your family finances, that’s an ongoing, continuous process.
And you might be able nag or whine at your spouse today to get them to talk or come around, but how long will you be able to do that for… before you get fed up, frustrated, and angry with the whole process?
Both of you are adults, and adults, even kids, don’t like being nagged to do something. Nagging and whining will wear you out and make the other person think you’re just a crying baby.
2. Don’t be manipulative
There’s no special trick, ‘tactic’, or hack to use. Your spouse is not a system that you can game or trick into doing something they’re unwilling to do.
Personally, I know sincere, straight, and honest communication can be hard to pull off at times, especially when it comes to issues around money; but I can tell you that sincere, genuine communication works, and also lasts – which is what you want on this journey of financial health for your family.
3. Don’t tell them how clueless or dumb they are
If your spouse isn’t on the same page with you regarding your money, it doesn’t mean one person’s smart or brilliant, and the other person is dumb and clueless.
It simply means each of you is looking at the same situation in different ways – which is to be expected since you and your spouse didn’t share the exact same parents, background, upbringing, or life experiences.
In fact, if your spouse gets the impression that you think of them as dumb or ignorant, it’ll most certainly not end in the way you want it.
Due to natural evolutionary and survival instincts, your spouse will try to get protective and defensive, so they can be safe in this suddenly hostile and unfamiliar environment.
You’d think that can’t happen in a marriage; but it can, when, for example, a husband thinks his wife thinks of him as dumb and stupid, and she’s just trying to show him ‘the light.’
… if your spouse is not on board with the money plan, it doesn’t mean that they’re dumb, stubborn, or clueless. First, it simply means that each of you is seeing the same situation in different ways.
If you can choose to not do these three things, you’re already setting up the table for a very positive and fruitful money discussion with your partner, that could lead to remarkable, awesome results for you and your spouse.
All that’ll be left, then, is to focus on exactly WHAT TO DO to bring your spouse around, so you can both work on the money together.
Which is where we’ll continue from tomorrow in the second paragraph on Page 33 of the book.
That’s all for today, my friend; thank you.