Today, let’s talk about the awesomely brilliant hack you need, so you can stop having money fights in your marriage.
This hack will help you reduce the money fights you have in your marriage.
Not only that, this important thing will also help you build a strong, healthy marriage…
… and would help you build true connection with your spouse, beyond just living like roommates in your marriage or inching towards a divorce.
Right now, we’re in the fourth paragraph of Page 30, under the title ‘Nerds, Free Spirits, and Budget Committee Meetings’, in Chapter 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.
And here’s my lesson for the day:
The key to saving your marriage from money fights is to have money meetings.
So, what causes money fights in a marriage?
In other words, what’s that recipe for a never-ending stream of money fights?
Here are the four main ingredients that contribute to the distasteful meal that is “money fights” which often lead to divorce, according to Dave:
- Couples who don’t agree on money are more likely to have lots of troubles in their marriage
- Partners with opposite personalities attract – think hasty & calm; always late & always late; spender & saver; carefree & very detailed, early riser vs night owl, etc.
- Men and women are different
- Every marriage has a Nerd, Free Spirit, Spender, and Saver
Combine all these 4 together, and it’s easier to see why those money fights eventually end up in divorce in many marriages.
So, how do you avoid save your marriage from divorce?
Or more specifically, how do you save your marriage from money fights.
The answer, according to Dave, is to have money meetings, or what he calls: Budget Committee Meetings.
Having budget committee meetings in your marriage will help you and your spouse to work together as a team, so you can work on your family finances together.
What’s a Budget Committee Meeting?
In a budget committee meeting, you have two members – you AND your spouse.
You both have to be at the meeting, you both have to contribute, and you both have to engage in money discussions in the meeting.
It’s fine to let your kids sit in these meetings, but they don’t get to make any money decisions – the decisions is for you and your spouse to make. And both of you need to do it together.
Meeting Nights, Not Date Nights
In line with this committee meetings about money, let me share with you a story that supports the need for couples to set aside time to meet about money.
This story even takes it further – it shows that they key to a healthy marriage is to go beyond date nights.
To have a healthy, strong marriage, you need to have meeting nights, where you talk not just about money, but about the hot topics in your marriage.
Here goes the story
The story’s about Adam Grant, the renowned professor of psychology at the Wharton School of Business (Wharton) at the University of Pennsylvania.
In other words, as a psychologist, Adam studies how we, humans, can find motivation and meaning in our lives, and live more generous and creative lives.
In fact, Adam believes that the most meaningful way to succeed is to help others succeed.
Anyway, Adam was teaching a class of undergrads at his school when his students asked him: “What advice do you have for romantic relationships?”
I mean, that’s a question you wouldn’t expect a business professor to want to answer.
But Adam did answer, and it wasn’t an answer I was expecting. He said: “My wife and I have a weekly meeting.”
Adam said the idea for the weekly meetings started when him and his wife, at one point, had a long list of things they were nagging each other about.
Adam’s wife, Allison, had a list of things she wanted Adam to do; and the same goes for Adam too – he also had a long list of what his wife could help him do.
And since there was no time for them to iron these things out and resolve the list, they kept on nagging each other and getting frustrated day by day.
Until one day, when both Adam and his wife sat down, and they both went through their combined lists together.
In one sitting, the couple was able to express, to each other, what they wanted done; and so no one had to constantly remind the other person of what they wanted done.
And here’s what they found: the nagging disappeared and each person knew what was expected of him / her.
In other words, Adam and his wife enjoyed the feelings and results from that meeting, that they decided to make the meeting a weekly habit.
They talked about the kids, bills, maintenance, and every topic they considered important in their home.
According to the couple:
“Taking the time to schedule a regular, quiet, uninterrupted discussion to figure out who was doing what helped ease anxiety about household tasks and eliminated loose ends.”
For me, I can tell you that this works wonders in our home. My wife and I tried the weekly meetings, and I can tell you that it works. Initially, it was hard having those tough discussions on who takes care of what.
For example, the feeling of knowing it’s now your job to complete a task: I suddenly pushed backed because of the pressure of knowing that I now have to take out the trash can, whereas before now, it was whoever got to it first.
But as soon as we both got over those early hoops, it was easier to set the right expectations, and not try to guess what the other person will or won’t do.
But to be honest, the hardest part about the weekly exercise is the follow-through. You can’t just say we’ll meet every Saturday, or every Sunday evening.
You’ll need to set a realistic time that works for both of you; and you’ll also need to develop that push to keep to that time, as best you can.
Also, don’t come to the meeting unprepared, expecting to just wing it.
You and your spouse should each come with your already prepared list of things to come about; that way, you won’t be waiting for your partner to start / lead the discussion, because you both already have things that you can’t wait to talk to each other about.
Having weekly meetings is truly a wonderful habit that you’d be glad you practiced in your marriage.
According to Adam and Allison: “The beauty of a weekly meeting is that you have a natural opening, a distraction-free time to turn toward your partner.”
For more on Adam and Allison’s experience with their weekly meetings, read these:
- Is Swapping Date Night for Meeting Night the Secret to a Happy Marriage?
- Hold a marriage meeting: 3 things this expert does for a happy marriage
You Need Meetings In Your Marriage, To Discuss Money
So, if weekly meetings are so important to a healthy, happy marriage, and money is such a hot topic in any marriage, then…
… my instinct says that having a portion of your meetings, where you talk about money is so, very important.
Another name for this part of these meetings is the Budget Committee Meeting, as Dave refers to it in this book.
So, what does all of these mean?
It means that: the most important thing you can do to save your marriage from money fights and divorce is to…
… have Budget Committee Meetings (or meetings about money).
And in these meetings, a few things are so crucial:
- Both you and your spouse have to be there
- Both of you need to be prepared and be ready to participate
- You both need to actively be involved in the discussion
- This is exclusive to only you and your spouse; your kids can attend and listen, but they don’t get to make the money decisions
And because budgets are usually set once a month, you can make these Budget Committee Meetings once a month…
… and then bring up any other money-related discussions that cropped up during the week in the other general weekly meetings.
Please remember: The key to saving your marriage from money fights is to have money meetings.
And, according to Dave, “If you’re not working together on your money plan, your money plan’s not working.”
That’s all for today, my friend. We’ll continue in the last paragraph of Page 30 of the book tomorrow.