Growing up I remember my mom and dad discussing the family budget, and the conversations that revolved around money in general.
On a whole my parents were never very contentious people, and it was rare to see them disagree, let alone argue.
But it seemed that every time money came up, that contention that was usually not present in their relationship creeped in, and you could tell that if it were possible they would avoid this subject at all costs.
Now that I am married I can relate to how my parents felt.
My husband and I do not disagree about many things, but when it comes to finances it seems that every other conversation or discussion we have about it leaves one of us just a bit peeved.
So how can any couple avoid fighting over something that is completely necessary in a marriage and a household?
Here are 5 tips that when applied, will help discussing money and budgets turn into helpful and productive conversations rather than argumentative and destructive ones.
1. Use each other's strengths
Are you the saver, while your husband is the spender? Or vice-versa? Either way establishing what you are each good at when it comes to handling money can help you both to be financially responsible and happier about your spending habits.
If you are really good at creating the budget and finding where and when you should save versus when you can spend, have that be your thing. If your husband is better at making better purchasing choices and staying within the budget when he does spend, have that be his thing.
2. Take the word "I" out of financial conversations
You are both key participants within your marriage. You probably have joint bank accounts, share a house, and share a car. This means no matter who is bringing in the income; it's BOTH of your money.
That means even if only one of the spouses is working, the other should never feel they can't participate in how the money is spent or not spent.
When talking about money and savings saying things like "We should spend less here..." or "Let's save to buy this thing then..." instead of and statements using the words "I" or "you".
Doing this helps you feel united in your goals and won't make either one of you blame or accuse the other.
3. Set your goals together and work toward them together
When it comes to finances it is VERY important to have a budget and one that changes and grows as the needs of your family change and grow.
Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist who specializes in relationships, writes in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, that, "What's most important in terms of your marriage is that you work as a team on financial issues that you express your concerns, needs, and fantasies to each other before coming up with a plan."
Sitting down together and identifying what your budget is and how it should be spent guarantees you can both be on the same page when it comes to money.
4. Keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important
Couples who can successfully talk about finances without serious contention can do so because they make sure to have these conversations frequently.
Reviewing your finances regularly as a couple can take the anxiety out of them and help you both get in the habit of talking about it openly and honestly.
Make sure you are completely transparent in the way you each spend your money and share it with your spouse. That way there is nothing to hide and nothing to get riled up about.
Make payday, or another day if you would like, a "finance date" and update each other on the status of the budget and where things may need to be adjusted or changed.
5. Always be honest
There is nothing more destructive than lying to your spouse about money.
Always be honest with your spouse when it comes to finances, and if you made a mistake or overspent address it and move on.
Help each other to understand how important and beneficial this type of honesty is, and you will find that there will be nothing more to argue or get mad about when you do have to talk about money.