Talking about money in a marriage - the right way - is critical. In fact, financial disagreement is one of the leading causes of marital argument divorce in America. That means if you and your spouse fight about money, you certainly aren't alone.

Talking respectfully about money doesn't make the problems go away, but it gives you a chance to work through them. With practice, you can become great money communicators, and come closer to gaining control over your finances as a couple.

Here are 10 tips for communicating about money

  1. Ideally, begin talking about money and finances before you are even married. Find out a little about each other's financial goals and spending habits. Now is the time to disclose if you have debt, so it isn't a big unpleasant surprise later.

  2. Find out each other's spending styles. Is one of you a saver who has a hard time letting go of cash even for important things? Does one of you have a hard time sticking to a budget? Talk about how you can help each other.

  3. Discuss your attitudes about money in general. What are your values when it comes to money? Do they match? Is a compromise needed?

  4. Understand your weaknesses. If one spouse is weak in an area, the other will need to step up and support that area. For example, if one person has no ability to keep track of bills and pay them on time, the other will need to take that responsibility, or figure out a way to share the job if necessary. On the other hand, if one spouse struggles to let go of a dime even for needed repairs, the other spouse should be given leeway to encourage reasonable expenditures without being accused of irresponsibility.

  5. If one person has a natural knack for numbers and finances, that's great, but both people should have a decision-making role. The numbers person can perhaps be the one to handle the details, but should not take over complete control.

  6. Be candid about money mistakes right away. Many people fear their relationship could be threatened if their spouse knew about overspending or credit card debt. Keeping it a secret will only make this worse. Work together to recover from mistakes.

  7. Have a set time to check in with each other about the finances. Don't let it go too long. Sit down and go over balances and bills. Get excited with each other when goals are met. If done regularly, this meeting will only take a few minutes.

  8. Avoid money discussions during date nights or in bed.

  9. Realize that often women see money as a security issue, and can be experiencing fear about finances, whether they know it or not. Conversely, men often see money as a score card of how well they are providing, and can take a substantial self-esteem hit when things aren't going well. Compare these viewpoints to your own situation and adjust.

  10. Remember that patience and kindness can be the best help for getting a reluctant spouse to participate in a family budget and working together on money concerns.

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