Four Steps for Couples to Have More Success Discussing Money – Free Relationship Advice From Couples Therapy Lesson #3

Ways for Couples to have Less Drama and More Success discussing money!

  1.  Many couples who fight about money have a different idea about how much money should be saved versus spent.  I encourage partners to find a compromise by discussing how much money is left over between them after all of the bills and necessities are paid each month.  Then, I ask each person how much of that discretionary money they would like to spend versus save.  Next, I encourage the couple to make a compromise about half way between their two price points.  Whatever money is for spending versus saving, I encourage the partners to divide between them equally.  No one has to ask or consult their partner for discretionary spending, and I encourage each person not to criticize how their partner chooses to spend (or save) their own discretionary money!
  1.  Sometimes couples have conflict over money because they do not accept and understand one another’s views about money. To help with this, couples should discuss each person’s needs about spending and saving money.  I use the Dreams Within Conflict exercise from the Gottman Institute to urge people to talk about their dreams for saving and spending money, because inevitably there are personal dreams behindsavingfor retirement or a house or a car, or about spending money on a vacation or furniture to make a nice home.  There are almost always emotions and stories behind money, for example stories about how money was viewed, saved, and spent in people’s families while growing up.  I have a worksheet for using Dreams Within Conflict on my website along with other Free Couples Therapy Worksheets.
  1.  Another reason couples fight about money is because one or the other partner makes large purchases without consulting their significant other!  I like to encourage people to agree to not make purchases over a certain amount without discussing it with each other.  In addition, many couples put some of their savings money in an account where they save together for large purchases that they want to make together as a couple.  Or, alternatively, a couple could put a large purchase on a credit card and then make a payment from their monthly income towards that bill.  Both people should add to the dream list for future large purchases, and ideally each person respects their partner’s suggestions for future purchases.
  1.  Finally, some couples who are fighting about money are actually fighting about several various topics – without getting much of a resolution on anything.  The problem in this case is more about the couple’s ability to repair problems and to find compromises in general.  In this case, a few sessions of couples therapy to learn constructive ways to resolve disagreements and improve communication about all topics (including money)would be my recommendation!

Please contact me for more information about Couples Therapy in Baltimore, Couples Therapy in Silver Spring and Couples Therapy in Columbia Maryland through my contact page!



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