Once upon a time, I sent out an email asking people on my mailing list a simple question:
Is it hard for you to talk about money with your spouse or partner?
I got hundreds of replies, including this one, which I found particularly difficult to read:
The answer is YES! It is hard, because it often feels defensive. She spent too much. He spent too much. Was that aligned with our values? What are our values? How come there isn’t more? And if only she would spend less, then I wouldn’t have to work so hard. 🙂
And now, drum roll please… the part of that message that made it so hard to read:
From, The Spouse.
In other words, MY spouse!
I have to admit that upon reading that, I was discouraged. There was even a part of me that felt like a fraud. Who am I to be talking to other people about money if my own wife feels this way?
But I also need to admit that she’s right. It’s challenging for us to talk about money. Not just with each other, but with our parents, our children, even our siblings, and friends.
And you know what? That’s OK.
This, my friends, is one of the keys to talking about money: knowing that it’s going to be hard. Sometimes, it’s going to be painful. And that’s OK.
At that time, my wife and I had been married for 23 years. She was my best friend then, in spite of the fact that we’d had more fights about money than I’d care to admit.
And you know what? We’re still married, she’s still my best friend, and we still have fights (or at least arguments) about money!
That’s the point. In spite of the difficulties we have talking about money, we’ve both agreed not to give up.
Talking about money may not be necessary for all couples. If you’re one of those rare people, great! More power to you. But I doubt that is the case for the vast majority.
My own experience is that talking about money is unavoidable. Like taking out the trash and doing the laundry, it’s just one of those things that has to happen.
And if that rings true, then you really have just two options:
1- You can end your relationship with someone, and then you won’t have to talk about money with them ever again.
2- Or, you can keep trying.
P.S. As always, if you want to use this sketch, you can buy it here.
. . .