101 Ways To Improve Your Marriage Money Relationship

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  So here it is.  One big fat list on how to improve your marriage money relationship with your spouse.  Interestingly, many of those things listed do not directly relate to money.  But, if you can’t get together on all levels – spiritually, emotionally, and physically then it will be hard to connect financially.  When your entire relationship is healthy it will flow into your marriage money relationship.  When your relationship is struggling it will flow over into your finances.  You must be willing to have money discussions as a couple.

Since money is one of the leading causes of divorce in North America, it is important to address how money impacts your marriage relationship.

101 Ways To Enhance Your Marriage Money Relationship

  1. Pray about your finances.
  2. Openly share your past financial mistakes – don’t have any money secrets.
  3. Budget together.
  4. Get a joint checking account.
  5. Go for a long walk, hold hands, and talk about your future.  Focus on marriage money issues or problems.
  6. Work out a game plan together.
  7. Set spending limits on certain categories.  How much do you both think should be spent on certain items?  When shopping, make sure you know if it is something your spouse would agree with you buying. 
  8. Make some important decisions once.  What percentage of your income will you give?  What percentage are you willing to pay for a car?  Will you buy cars with cash?  Once you’ve made the foundational decisions you don’t need to remake them every time you encounter a new situation.
  9. Ask for forgiveness for past mistakes.
  10. Talk openly about your financial background – How did you parents spend money?  How would you evaluate our marriage money relationship?  What ways are you like your parents?  What ways are you different?
  11. Know each other’s income.  Money earned by either spouse belongs to the family. 
  12. Have a weekly budget meeting.  That’s what we do and, well, it works.
  13. Keep a list of all important financial documents.  You never know when you’ll take a shortcut to heaven so make sure your spouse has easy access to all your important financial documents.
  14. Divide financial responsibilities based on giftedness and passion.  Wouldn’t the marriage money relationship be better if you each got to do what you loved and were good at?  Whatever is left over agree to do it for the team.
  15. Set ground rules for disagreements.  These are simple rules.  Don’t yell.  Never say “you always”.  Be completely humble and gentle.  Honesty is the best policy.
  16. Schedule a money planning day once a year.  On this day you’ll deal with all the “big” financial decisions that have a huge lifelong impact.  Here’s a long term financial goals checklist.
  17. Get counseling.
  18. Read a financial book together – here’s a list of 88 top personal finance books to get you started. 
  19. Take a financial knowledge test.
  20. Husbands, love your wives, and wives, respect your husbands.
  21. Work as a team.  I know you know this already, but have you made a covenant?  I will work together with my spouse no matter what happens.  Make the promise and keep the promise.
  22. Change your vocabulary – our money, not my money.
  23. Honor the non-working spouse.  Appreciate the contribution you both make.  Say at least one encouraging word each day to the non-working spouse.
  24. Take time to play together.  When you feel like a team you’ll work like a team.
  25. Agree on a budget for dates and babysitting.  I think it is essential for you to take dates together.  Perhaps the greatest investment any young couple could make is for a babysitter.  Don’t have the money? Form a frugal community
  26. Learn each other’s love language, then speak each other’s love language. 
  27. Think not only of your own interests.
  28. Never go in it alone.  Don’t take a job without consulting your spouse.  Don’t make a big purchase without consulting your spouse. 
  29. During a financial crisis switch into survival mode.
  30. Hug your wife every day and tell her you love her.  Compliment your husband every day and tell him you respect him.
  31. Take premarital counseling.  Identify and address important issues before they morph into marriage breakers.
  32. Don’t talk negatively about your spouse to others – especially when your spouse is not there.  Honor and respect your spouse with every word you speak.
  33. Recognize your differences.  Know that spenders will spend and savers will save.  When you know what to expect of each other you are less likely to be surprised when the predictable happens.
  34. Think of three positive things to say to your spouse every day.
  35. Consider a policy of complete support.  When you make a decision, be the wind beneath their wings – not the anchor.
  36. Make business family decisions together.  Learn how to keep your small business without losing your family
  37. Listen to the advice of your spouse.
  38. Put emotions above financial gain.  Do what feels right, not just what makes the most math sense.  Choose a good night of sleep over a fatter wallet.
  39. Talk frequently about each other’s work schedule.  Are you getting enough time together as a couple?
  40. Carry the financial burden together.  Don’t ditch your spouse and leave them with important financial decisions.  You are both responsible to make a contribution to your marriage money relationship.  Give input and feedback as needed. 
  41. Change the environment.  Talk about money at a restaurant or on a walk instead of in front of the computer.
  42. Write a letter of appreciation to your spouse.  What have they done recently that has helped your financial situation?
  43. Ask honest questions and listen.  Do you think I’m too controlling?  What areas do you think I spend too much money on?  Am I frugal or cheap?
  44. Never raise your voice.  Well, actually if you’re at a sports event it is OK, but I’m talking about when you disagree with your spouse.
  45. Identify the core issues, and then brainstorm till you have a headache.  Often couples talk about money symptoms, not money reasons.  Debt, for example is a symptom (Larry Burkett). Why did you go into debt?
  46. Be willing to give as often as you seek to take.
  47. Resolve any family baggage that is contributing to the issue. 
  48. Agree together that you need to get out of debt.
  49. Prioritize your financial game plan.  What is currently your greatest financial problem or need?
  50. Look for the sickness, not just the symptom.
  51. Don’t accept loans from your parents.  It will drive a rift between you.
  52. Always try and side with your spouse. Some couples thrive on disagreement.  They simply  love the tension.  Make better use of your energy and strive to agree with each other.
  53. Know that money fights are normal.
  54. Don’t focus on blaming each other.  Focus on solving the issue.
  55. Write down your goals – short term, medium term, long term.
  56. Create a mock budget separately to help show your spending differences.  Focus on areas of large differences.
  57. Set up automatic deductions to reduce the financial workload.
  58. Agree on the appropriate emergency fund amount.
  59. Contribute equal amounts for retirement, regardless of who earns the income.
  60. Nominate one spouse to keep financial records.  Hint: choose the most organized.
  61. Develop a credit card use policy.
  62. Learn each other’s investing risk tolerance.
  63. Let the nerd be a nerd, but don’t force the non-Geek to look at all the numbers.
  64. Make big financial decisions slowly with a lot of wise guidance.  Marriage and money decisions should always be made together. 
  65. Agree on gift amounts.  Who will you buy for and how much will you spend?
  66. Hold each other accountable – kindly.
  67. Make retirement decisions based on what is best as a couple, not just as an individual
  68. Purchase enough life insurance to protect your spouse.
  69. Prepare a will together.
  70. Go deeper and share your fundamental view of money.  Why do you want it?  When do you have enough?  How do you define financial peace?  What do you do when you have enough?  How has money impacted you marriage relationship?
  71. Know that money fights often reveal issues in other parts of your relationship.
  72. Recognize and honor the financial commitment each of you are making to the marriage.
  73. Don’t avoid money concerns; your frustration will only increase.
  74. Take a romantic weekend away at least one weekend a year.
  75. Take regular dates.
  76. Set goals based on your joint values.
  77. When you meet together always set action items.  What needs to be done and who is going to do it?
  78. Keep talking about purchases until you are both in complete agreement.
  79. Decide to find lost money – review the budget and cut out unnecessary expenses.
  80. Agree together about where you want to give and how much you want to give.
  81. Let the financial nerd research, but present ONLY the relevant information to the non-nerd.
  82. Answer all financial questions and doubts before proceeding.  Both individuals should feel comfortable with the decision.
  83. Have a garage sale and agree to sell some stuff.
  84. Have a night out where you agree not to talk about money at all.
  85. Care more about your spouse than your net worth.  Communicate that priority.
  86. Both of you should know what your money is doing and where it is going.
  87. Be sure both of you have a general sense of your financial standing.  Do you know your net worth?
  88. Make investment decisions together.
  89. Agree that it doesn’t matter who makes the money. 
  90. Revisit your financial game plan at significant life stages – birth of children, children in school, empty nest, retirement years.
  91. Attend a marriage seminar.
  92. Join or form a small support group for married couples.
  93. Do a bible study together on the topic of money.
  94. Send a random email thanking your spouse for their involvement in the finances.
  95. Recognize and reward small changes.
  96. Set a BIG goal like a vacation.  Keep those goals in front of you to motivate you to work together.  Always enjoy the rewards together.
  97. Agree that it is better to have little money with love than a lot where there is strife in the home.
  98. Work together to teach your kids about money.
  99. Attend church together.
  100. Allocate spending money for each partner.
  101. Visit the financial advisor together.

Photo by Martin Kingsley.

Any other tips on how to improve your marriage money relationship?

Comments

  1. says

    I think you might have overlooked one or two Craig ;-)

    #10 stands out for me. We don’t always understand the impact of our family histories on our money decisions. My wife and I came from parents who were very frugal, maybe even to a fault. Early in our lives we rebelled against that to our own detriment.

    Now we’re closer to what our parents were, moneywise, but not as extreme. There has to be a balance and if it goes to heavily in one direction (in our cases, extreme thrift) you could be rebelling without even knowing it.
    .

    • Craig says

      @Kevin
      Hmmm. Next time I’ll try and make the list a little longer so that I don’t miss one or two :).
      Sorry for underperforming once again – ha!

  2. says

    Massive list Craig – don’t get too down about missing one or two points! :) I appreciate this #22 particularly – “Change your vocabulary – our money, not my money.” It bugs me that so many married couples divide their money – he’s got his and she’s got hers. Something is not right about that.

    Also, on #60 – “Nominate one spouse to keep financial records.” In my family this is a joint exercise which is so helpful to see how we’re tracking along as we go.

    • Craig says

      @David
      The vocab shift is huge.
      My wife and I do our finances together, but we find it easier if we know who is supposed to do what. That way we aren’t left saying, “I thought you were going to do that”.
      Thanks for the comment.

    • Craig says

      @Jason
      In prayer we learn to be vulnerable with each other. That can be a scary thing (and a huge blessing). Inviting God into our finances is so important. I’m glad you highlighted #1.

  3. says

    Great list Craig.

    In our 19 years of marriage, we’ve never once had a money fight. We’ve had money stress (like when we had $76K of cc debt), but we’ve never ever fought about it.

    For us, it boiled down to a few of your offerings: we are a team (so every problem is jointly made and jointly solved), we are in harmony on the function of money, and we are lock step in what our perfect money state looks like.

    We also, long ago, adopted our own money theme song and one of us will begin singing it whenever we start talking about serious money matters. It is Neil Diamond’s Forever In Blue Jeans:
    Money talks …. But it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk …. And long as I can have you here with me ….. I’d much rather be ….. Forever in blue jeans.
    .-= SailboatFamily´s last blog ..Goal Granularity =-.

  4. says

    Hey Craig, I was re-reading this while I wrote my Superbowl Roundup, and this is on my list of best of the week.
    There’s great advice here. You’d make a great counselor.
    The only one for me that was a question was number 10. My wife’s parents were always struggling with the joint checkbook, losing track of missing checks, forgetting to balance, etc.
    When ‘Jane’ and I got together, we went to his/hers/ours checking. When our direct deposits hit, we keep enough to have a few hundred in each of our accounts, and the rest goes to joint. This way, we don’t risk a bounced check and the joint account is used to pay the bills. This has worked for us for 15 years so far.
    .-= JoeTaxpayer´s last blog ..NASA vs The Recession =-.

  5. Craig says

    @Joe
    Thanks for you kind words.
    You are exactly right that some of these tips could in fact be horrible, depending on how a couple relates to each other. I am a big fan of joint checking, but I know many couples who successfully keep their own accounts. Thanks for the good reminder.
    Thanks also for including this post in your roundup.

  6. maame tawia says

    thanks so much,Craig, took a lot from blog. i simply like the Biblical persrpective. Good work, God bless you.

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