REAL Couples – REAL Issues – REAL solutions.
This blog is in a series inspired by real conversations between real couples preparing for marriage. The words they have spoken were inspired by using one of the guided conversations that comes from a self-guided course available at www.OnlineMarriagePreparation.com.
STEP ONE: How do we define our issue?
Differences in managing money
STEP TWO: Why is this important to me/us?
Bride: I stress about money more than the average person and I dislike some of the choices you make when it comes to spending money. You’re more of a “go with the flow” kind of person and I am more of a “only spend money if you absolutely have to” kind of person. We will soon be combining bank accounts and I don’t want to get stressed out and worried when you spend money on something that I feel that is unnecessary. I believe that we can help each other. Because we are both on opposite ends of the spectrum, I believe that I can learn a lot from you and you can learn a lot from me and we can learn to meet each other in the middle.
I know I have had some random and unnecessary spending in the past that you have not been a fan of, books and movies and random things you didn’t think were needed. I have done some working on it to make sure I have gotten better at trimming down the excess spending and prioritized necessity versus greed. I have gotten a lot better at managing money and that has reduced your anxiety on the issue a lot. You are typically a lot more tight with money and have become more comfortable with spending since my habits have changed and I am only spending money on what is necessary.
Bride’s Feelings: hopeful, sad, fed-up, willing, guilty, ignored, uncomfortable, positive, tense, optimistic, angry, powerless, confused, determined, motivated, annoyed, stubborn, afraid, overwhelmed
Groom’s Feelings: hopeful, guilty, optimistic, foolish, motivated
STEP THREE: What will a better future look like for us?
Bride: I feel that you and I will be at a more peaceful place when it comes to money when we resolve this. I feel that we will feel accomplished and happy when we look back at how much we learned from each other. I will be proud of you for being willing to compromise with me and I will feel proud of myself. I may feel worried at times still, but I think that it will be good for me to stretch my boundaries more, which I have been wanting to do. I need to learn from you and ask you how to manage my anxiety about money. We need to be willing to save money for us and our future and not spend it on things that we don’t need at the moment or ever. We could both learn from each other and compromise to make the other one happy and comfortable. We could talk with our parents and getting advice from them.
Groom: I will feel thankful to you for being patient with me for trying to trim excess spending. I will be so thankful that you will have seen me through the struggles of managing finances more responsibly. I will feel proud that I will have made the step from an irresponsible kid to a responsible man who understands what to spend and not spend money on. Please continue to be patient with me and understand that this has been a difficult transition for me to make. I think we could write down and plan out our finances better and more consistently. We need to continue these responsible spending habits: plan, report spending to each other and combine our accounts to hold each other accountable.
STEP FOUR: What are our best ideas?
Idea One: We could talk to our parents about how they have managed finances in their marriages. We could also ask them how they managed to get through times of difficulty regarding finances.
Idea Two: We could combine our bank accounts, which is something we have already discussed in the past. By doing this, we will both be able to keep track of finances and be on the same page regarding where our money is going.
STEP FIVE: What will I/we actually do?
We will both sit down with both sets of parents together and ask questions to help us learn how to work as a team. We will talk about how they have managed their finances in the past and what has worked for them in life and marriage for spending habits. We will also ask them if there were difficult times financially and how they handled those situations. We will ask questions to help us learn how to work as a team.
STEP SIX: How will we know that we’re making progress?
We will both be comfortable with where we are at and won’t feel that one is controlling the money more than the other.