Christian Living: Getting Spouses on Board
- Wednesday, September 19, 2012
For years I have taught that spouses must work together. One of the most consistent questions I get on our radio show and in letters is, “How do I get my spouse to join me in working on the money?” Many men are really frustrated with wives who are spoiled little girls who just want their stuff and they want it now (red-faced and lip in pouting position)! Many more women are frustrated, angry, and deeply resentful of men who refuse to help with the decision making about money. They are left shouldering the responsibility of making all the decisions and resent carrying the responsibility single-handedly.
If you’re having trouble getting your spouse to help with the money issues or join the get-out-of-debt crusade there are some things you don’t want to do. We have all tried nagging and whining and those don’t work. You also don’t want to keep saying, “Well, Dave says we have to do this. Dave says we have to do that.” Beating them with another person’s advice will only cause them to be defensive. I have received many e-mails from spouses saying, “I hate you Dave, and I don’t even know you."
So what are you supposed to do? First and foremost a little honest communication is in order. Your spouse isn’t a mind reader. Simply explaining you are excited about working together to get out of debt so you can build wealth, and excited about living on a plan so you can save more, give more, and live more will excite any spouse. You’ll see them wanting to join your new found crusade. Tell them what you want and why.
If that doesn’t move you toward some good conversations then you may have to concentrate a little harder. Try writing down some of the points that concern you, explaining why. Sometimes the written word will get a spouse’s attention before other things.
Ladies, when you are trying to get your man’s attention, try posing the financial situation as a battle or an adventure. I often suggest that you take both his hands in yours and press your knees against his knees and tell him that you would consider his joining your fight for financial dignity extremely romantic. Even the thickest of guys will get the hint. After all, all you are asking for is some help.
Men, when you are trying to get your wives onboard remember that most women are wired for relationships and security. Ninety-seven percent of women surveyed said they would like more communication in marriage. So try saying, “Honey, I was reading that if we spent a few minutes a month working on a budget together, it would increase our communication in every area and ultimately create more intimacy and unity. Would you like to try that?” I’m willing to bet you won’t need to say much more.
Although men and women are different and opposites attract, common sense and a success mentality tell us we have to work together. Two horses pulling a wagon can pull a huge load up a hill if they work together; pulling in different directions will simply turn the wagon into firewood. The simple fact is if you aren’t working together, it is almost impossible to win.
Remember we are talking about a sensitive subject here because money represents power, priorities, dreams, even fears. Jesus said, “Your treasure is where your heart is.” So when you can agree on spending you have aligned your value system and will create unity. Budgeting together will create healing and communication in your marriage. If your marriage is too damaged to use these simple communication techniques to begin talking about something you have been a bit lazy about you may need to see a marriage counselor for a tune-up.
Since money problems and fights are statistically the biggest problem in marriage, any one of us who is wise will be on guard against these problems and looking for ways to win. We have heard that the Chinese symbol for danger is the same symbol used for opportunity. You have the opportunity to impact your marriage in a vastly positive way, but you have to do it.
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. More than 1.5 million families have attended Financial Peace University in more than 30,000 churches nationwide. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Ramsey on Twitter and on the web at daveramsey.com.
Publication date: September 19, 2012
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