How To Get Your Spouse to Help You With the Finances

May 31, 2016

In a previous post, we explored how important it is that married couples work on their finances together, and we reviewed 9 Reasons Why Working on Your Finances Alone Hurts Your Marriage.

Understanding why you need to work together is one thing, but doing it is another. Assuming you are the one handling your finances primarily, here are some things you can do to get your spouse to help you.

How To Get Your Spouse to Help You With the Finances

 

Be Patient

This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but here’s why it’s so important. Whether your struggle is that your spouse won’t help you with the budget, or you’ve been inspired to pay off your debt and they have not arrived at the same conclusion yet, extending patience and understanding provides much more of an incentive than nagging and complaining.

You catch more flies with honey, right? Your spouse will be more likely to come around if the tone regarding your finances is a calm one.

Communicate the Benefits of Working Together

Have you clearly stated why you want your spouse to help you with the finances? It may seem obvious to you, but make sure you’ve communicated to your spouse what you stand to gain from working together as a team: a greater chance of achieving your financial goals, increased accountability, and better communication in other areas of your life.

Dream Together

As a couple, spend a little time dreaming. Ask yourselves what are some things you hope to do regarding your money? Do you want to travel in the future? Do you wish to become outrageous givers, change careers, or buy a home? Spending a little time dreaming with your spouse will provide the inspiration and motivation needed to start working together.

Focus on Your Why, Not the What

Once you’ve dreamt a little with your spouse, those dreams should become your “why”. Keeping your “why” at the forefront puts reason to what you are doing. If you are cutting back, you can focus on the dreams and goals you’ll achieve by doing so, rather than on what you’re sacrificing.

Prioritize Doing the Decision-Making Together

Working together with your spouse can look different for each couple. Hands down, though, the most important thing that you need to do is to make all your budgeting decisions together. When it’s time to do the budget, both of you must participate. Because your overall financial plan is tied to it, this is beyond crucial.

As long as one partner does the budget alone, you miss out on operating as partners, as equals. Working side-by-side makes it “our” plan, not “your” plan – and you both will be more likely to adhere to it.

Figure Out What Makes Your Spouse Tick

What appeals to your spouse? If having a beer and a burger while you work on the budget will make the process more appealing to your spouse, then by all means, plan that. If they need to work on it when they’re relaxed and have nothing else on their plate that day, then make that happen.

No one jumps to do tasks that they don’t enjoy or feel they are not good at. “Catering” to your spouse’s needs increases their desire to participate.

Play to Your (and Your Spouse’s) Strengths and Weaknesses

Even if managing your finances is not a natural gift for either of you, one of you gravitates to it more than the other. Keeping that in mind, think about how you should handle the tasks outside of the decision-making, like writing out checks, paying bills online, going to the bank, etc.

Decide together how and by whom those tasks will be handled, taking into consideration both of your strengths and weaknesses.

Replace Yours, Mine, You, and I

This may seem simple, but give some thought to the language you use. If it is “I” and “you” and “yours” and “mine”, then that is no incentive for your spouse to come around to working on the finances. Send the message that you’re a team and that you’re in this together by using “ours” and “we”.

Inject Some Fun

Yes, working on your finances can be fun. Be intentional about making it that way. Put on some music, do the bills outside on your deck, or go to your favorite cafe and have a latte. If you make the process of working on your budget and finances fun and appealing, your spouse will stop associating it as drudgery.

Find the Solution That Works for You

Try different approaches to working together until you find the one that appeals and works for both of you. Perhaps when you do the budget, your spouse could be the one entering the info on your spreadsheet or writing it down, and you could take care of sending off checks and paying bills online. Use some trial and error to see what method you both like and can agree on.

Don’t give up on your spouse. Keep communicating and exercising patience, and be sure to acknowledge any effort at all that they show in participating in the finances. Even small steps are still steps in the right direction. By following the tips here, you will begin to see change and will be well on your way to working together.

Which one of these tips resonated the most with you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

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