One of the most unpleasant conversations you can have with your wife/husband is about your financial problems. And normally, it isn't just one problem you have, it's multiple. Whether your conversation is about your debt or mismanagement of money, there's not a special day of the year specifically dedicated to bring these up. So when and how do you do it?First things first, you need to do it immediately. The longer you wait, the worse your situation gets. Where is the benefit of waiting to talk about your upcoming car payment that you have no money for? Or the list of repairs needed for the house that you can no longer ignore? The quicker you can hash out any of your feelings and frustrations, the faster you can create a game plan to get through these problems.
My parents have always seemed to have a good financial system in place. As a kid, I didn't have to think twice about food or clothes because there wasn't a reason, we always had plenty. It wasn't until my dad got laid off that we learned that we couldn't afford the same lifestyle as before. It also was the most I have ever seen my parents argue. It wasn't because they blamed each other, it was because they were frustrated that they couldn't find any work. They were frustrated at the problem. And now as married adults, we can understand that our emotions towards our issues tend to get the best of us.
So if you don't want to talk about it because it will start an argument, I get it. But don't forget that you agreed to be in it for better or for worse, for richer or poorer. I'm sure they're feeling the same way, they just don't want to go first. So let's take a look at how we can even bring up the subject in some “out of the box” ways...
You can create an “appointment” with one another where you can sit and look at it with a more business mindset. That way it takes a lot of the feelings out of it but leaves the logical and rational thinking. This also allows time for both of you to prepare mentally and emotionally for this conversation rather than a random conversation turned argument.
If you like to look at your problems and find humor in them like I do, make a fun suggestion. Go do something that you like that way you start associating the not so fun topics with your fun hobbies. So if I wanted to have a conversation, the first thing I think of is “how can I make a game out of this.” To me, that relieves tension while still working on fixing the problem.
Ultimately, you know you're spouse better than anyone. If you know their trigger points (which I'm sure you do), then try to stay away from those. If you're the one who gets heated in the conversation, start trying to put yourself in your spouses shoes. Once you see yourself through their eyes, you start to think differently about the words you use.
Having financial problems are no fun. But having financial problems and marital problems is worse. So instead of looking at it as you against your spouse, start looking at it as a team effort. Us against debt. Us against car maintenance. Us against bills. Your spouse is not your enemy, try to remember at your next meeting. Too many times we hear that spouses feel disrespected in marriage because they do't know anything about the finances. Change that today!