The Secret To Having Healthy Money Conversations With Your Spouse
This past week (July 2018), my husband and I celebrated nine years as husband and wife. Now, I know that’s not really an impressive number in the grand scheme of things, but the truth is, we wouldn’t have made it that long had we not figured out how to communicate with one another. You know what they say, the leading cause of divorce is money issues. Although, both my husband and I are from divorced households and neither of those divorces ended because of money, but that’s a whole other issue. And I can promise you, we’ve had our fair share of fighting about money. Communication is the key (or at least I’m convinced it is) to a happy and healthy relationship with your spouse. And no, I don’t mean “perfect” or completely free from arguments, but happy and healthy. So, if you’ll allow me, I’m going to bring you in and tell you about the money argument my husband and I had not long ago.
A little background story
Obviously, I’m completely anti-debt. I mean, I get taking out a mortgage, but I no longer see the point to taking on tens of thousands of dollars of debt to buy a car or having to swipe the credit cards to buy clothes. I mean, I used to do all of those things, but I’ve since felt the freeing reality of a life free from debt, and I have zero desire to go back to my old habits. Here’s the thing, my husband has felt that, too. Back in 2016, he quit his corporate life-sucking job to start his own business with his business partner. And the only reason that he could make that leap was that we had an emergency fund established and the only debt we carried was our mortgage. That freed up my husband to allow him to take this risk. He’s been in business ever since it’s remained a cash-only business. In a previous blog post, I revealed how and why my husband and I bought a truck in cash although my husband had been considering taking out a loan. That “new to us” truck was an answered prayer.
When the fighting about money began
Eventually, temptation started rearing its ugly head again. He got an offer to buy a fully-loaded, nice as nice can be 2017 Duramax. This is my husband’s dream car, and when I tell you that he was ready to go to the bank and take out a business loan so he could buy this truck, I’m not kidding. He wanted this truck so bad he could taste it. Alas, we kept arguing about this gosh-darn truck. Honestly, I was so frustrated. I mean, really — we’ve come sooooooo far just for us to be sink back into debt over a truck??? To say that I wasn’t happy would be an understatement. But finally, I had to look at my husband and say, “I can’t control what you do with your business. I love you, but you will not change my mind about debt just like I know that I can’t stop you from going into debt. I won’t agree to this, but I won’t hold it against you. I do ask that you truly consider this. Every business, at least once, has someone that doesn’t pay for services that have been provided and if you’re not careful, you may end up in the same boat as X (a family member who went bankrupt for this exact reason). I know you know that this can happen.” After a few days, my husband came back to me and said, “Okay, so why are you so against me getting this truck? I mean I could save the business a ton in fuel costs and we can write off the payments.”
“You can write off the full amount we paid for your truck this year so the write off really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. You’ll still owe the money and there are probably better things you could spend that money on if you think about it. We sold the truck that you had for 13 years — the truck we both loved dearly. You needed a truck that could haul your trailer and anything else that you needed to haul and this truck can do all of that. Yes, it’s geared incorrectly for the job that you need it for, but that’s something that any mechanic can fix, and you can write off the cost of it and it will be cheaper than buying another truck. I feel like this is a distraction from other things you could be doing and it’s a distraction that isn’t really important.”
It’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Now, my husband hasn’t fully made up his mind yet on what he’s going to do. But I can tell you that by me humbling myself and realizing that no, I cannot control what my husband does no more than he can control what I do, we were able to have a real conversation about it. The thing is, my husband, respects my opinions — or else he would have already taken out that loan and bought the truck before discussing it with me. Again, I don’t own his business so I literally have no official say in what Southern Craft Remodeling does or doesn’t do. I firmly believe that because Pat and I have worked so hard to build up an open and honest flow of communication, we’re able to respect each other’s opinions and love one another in a way that honestly when we were newlyweds we didn’t know was possible. I want this for every relationship. I really hate society’s view that love equals agreement. No, true love, as in truly loving someone does not mean that you agree with them about everything. True love means loving them regardless and being able to still respect each other even if you don’t agree. That’s truly loving someone in my opinion. I want to encourage you that if you’re married and you’re in a season of money issues, remember to shelve the emotions. Bring the love. You don’t need to agree with their viewpoint, just bring the love.
Jessi is the wife to a handsome lumberjack lookalike, mom to three little ones and during their nap time, she’s a financial coach. She and her family have paid off just over $55k of debt in 2 years and are almost a 100% debt-free! She loves coaching others towards achieving their dream life by learning to manage their money and embracing their own real life on a budget.
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