Money. Nothing brings out the cray cray in marriages quite like having hard conversations about finances. Because the subject of money is so emotionally charged and difficult to talk about, we tend to avoid talking about it at all costs. However, the glaring problem with that approach is that we make decisions about money on a daily basis, and bad decisions will only worsen the longer we ignore them. Let’s be real— finances is one subject we literally can’t afford to sweep under the rug. 

I had the chance to have a great conversation with author, speaker, and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn about her new book Thriving in Love and Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights about Your Relationship, Your Money, and Yourself. Personal finance has always been an important topic for couples to address, but the financial challenges and threats brought on by COVID-19 are now making it an even more essential conversation to have. 

The greatest takeaway Shaunti found in her research is one I’ve personally learned in my own marriage: hard conversations — the tough talk—are rarely only about the issue at hand. The hard conversation, and the incident that sparked it, tend to only be the visible tip of a much deeper iceberg. (Have you ever said to your spouse or your spouse said to you, “Why are you getting so upset over such a small thing?!” It wasn’t about the small thing).The tension you feel about money isn’t just about money.It’s about your past, your childhood, your dreams, your fears: all of these things play into your willingness to acknowledge and  address the elephant in the room.

There are plenty of resources out there for pounding through the logistics of budgeting, home-buying,  investing, and so on, but often what is needed before trying to do any of that is to first understand how to untangle your thoughts and feelings when it comes to money. As Proverbs 4:23 suggests, our behaviors are the overflow of what is in our hearts. So before we make the practical changes we need to make, we always need to first investigate what is going on underneath it all. 

When we start taking the time to do that inner work, we will discover how freeing it can be to  precise words to what is vaguely happening beneath the surface and clearly see the walls that are blocking us from moving forward. Have you ever noticed how the most frightening elements of horror movies rely on the mysterious, the unseen, the undefined? Expose something to light, and it becomes much less frightening). Speaking of fear, fear is one of those barriers that can both make us act in unhealthy ways when it comes to our family’s finances and hinder our ability to be in harmony with our spouse on the subject. 

Perhaps you’ve avoided the conversations that needed to be had long ago in your house about the bank account, and you need a little guidance to get the conversation started. My discussion with Shaunti is going to give you those initial tools to a.) start to assess your own relationship with money, b.) sift out what fears are holding you back, and c.) start to move in the right direction of becoming unified with your spouse in all areas of your life. Don’t let the fear of having hard conversations keep you from doing the things you know you need to do to live a life you love.Conversations about money might be some of the most difficult, but that’s because they’re some of the most important.

Highlights from Today’s Episode:

  • Identify your feelings towards money
  • Combat your financial fears
  • How to talk money with your spouse

Resources from today’s show 

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Let’s Talk!

After you’ve listened to the podcast, I’d love to continue the conversation. Be sure and leave a comment!

  1. Set aside 15-30 minutes to pray and reflect: How do your feelings about and past experiences related to money factor into your approach towards money, both individually and in your relationship? 
  2. What fears do you have about finances? Considering sharing those with your spouse and asking them about the hangups they experience.
  3. Have you ever had planned conversations relating to money in your marriage? How often? And if so, what has been the outcome? If not, what can be your first step towards starting to have those conversations, or having them more often?

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