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2 Tips to Stop Fighting Over Money

Updated: Jun 13, 2023


Let’s talk about the two things that when combined, cause major problems for many people… love and money.

How do you and your spouse go when it comes to talking about money?

Is it something that you can discuss in a carefree way? Or is it a topic you feel needs to be approached while wearing a full suit of armour?

If you find it challenging to discuss money with your partner, and like raising the subject will result in a war of words, you’re not alone.

According to research, 60% of Australian couples say that money is the number one cause of conflict in their relationship, and one in two couples don’t sit down to talk about it regularly.

While many find money an awkward subject to discuss, 55% of adults agree that we should be more open and discuss it with our loved ones.

But how can you do that without fear of another fight?

Are there steps couples can take to talk about money in a way that leaves them feeling empowered and on the same team, rather than exasperated and in another deadlock situation?

I’m happy to report that there is!

After plenty of experimenting, numerous stalemates, and countless communication breakdowns over the years, there are two key things my husband and I have found work when it comes to talking about money together. Good news is, you and your partner can implement these two simple tweaks too.

  1. Check yourself & be responsible It’s easy to point the finger and call out our partners flaws - voicing all the things they’re doing wrong and how they’re stuffing up with money. But does that ever really go well? Unfortunately, like with most things, we cannot control or change another person (as much as we wish we could at times), and criticising often only makes things worse. The only person who we truly have any say or control over is ourselves; how we show up in situations, who we be, and how we respond to what’s in front of us. That’s why the best thing to do before starting a conversation about money with your spouse is to check in with yourself. Starting with YOU makes a big difference! Check yourself and being responsible invites you to ask yourself three questions: Who am I being right now about this? Why am I being that way? And Understanding that, who do I want to be going forward? Perhaps when it comes to discussing money with your partner, if something doesn’t go your way or you disagree, you start being righteous, domineering, controlling, critical, justified, or indignant. Or maybe you default to the other end of the spectrum… you go numb, shut down, be dismissive, secretive, meek, flippant, uninterested, stand-off-ish, or maybe you withhold your love and affection in order to get your partner to do something you want. You could be ‘being’ any kind of way (it’s not limited to this list alone). By exploring who you’re being about money and why, you can become aware of how you’re showing up in these conversations with your partner. Acknowledging who you’re being and getting curious about why you’re being that way not only increases your personal awareness, but it gives you an opportunity to let go of anything that’s no longer serving you and your relationship. You get to give up unhelpful patterns and reactions, and choose to create something new for yourself - a new way of being that will make a difference to how you interact with your partner during money conversations. Asking yourself those questions can look something like this: Who am I being right now about this? Ahhh… I’m being controlling, righteous and dismissive of my partner because I don’t agree with how they’re spending our money and I’d prefer they spend it differently. Why am I being that way? Why am I being controlling, righteous and dismissive? Oh, I see! It’s because we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up and I’m scared that if my partner spends it, our money will run out and we’ll suffer. Just like how I suffered and felt less than everyone else when I was a kid. Okay cool, that’s what’s really going on here. That happened when I was younger and it’s now affecting how I’m reacting now in this situation. The narrative that ‘we don’t have enough and will suffer’ no longer serves me. I can let go of that narrative now and choose to react in a different way. I choose to be open, and interested in my partner's point of view.”

  2. Watch your language How you deliver your communication - the words you say and how you say them - matter. The language you use when talking about money can either provoke a fight, or create space for a constructive conversation. It’s that simple. But then again, when it comes to money, it’s often not that simple… Especially when a large part of the population has been raised to stay hush-hush about it (59% of Brits say money is a private matter), and many have not been shown or given tools to discuss it effectively. That’s where having a toolkit of go-to words, leading phrases and conversation frameworks comes in handy; to help you navigate these tricky waters. Here are some language tips for you:

  • Remove emotion and use the ‘What’s Working’ and ‘What’s Not Working’ Framework Rather than saying things like, “you’re doing that wrong!” or “that’s stupid, I can’t believe you did that!” - try a different approach. If there are things about your money situation that are frustrating you, take the emotion and blame out of the equation by tweaking how you deliver your upset. It could sound something like this: “How we’re managing our money at the moment is really working. It’s great that we’re on the same page there. What’s not working right now though is how much we’re saving given the savings goal we set for ourselves. Do we need to adjust our goal, or are there other things we can do to increase our savings? What do you think?” Approaching what’s not working from a position of wanting to find a solution (rather than place blame) will help limit the possibility of another fight, allow you to meet at a happy medium, and create a new plan together.

  • Have future-based conversations The past is the past, it’s done and gone. So stop referring back to it and dwelling on what has been. Practice having future-based conversations by focusing on your shared goals and what you want for your relationship going forward. Letting go of old conversations and speaking to the future you want to create will breathe life into your money conversations. You’ll naturally relate to your partner differently, and how you operate with money together will shift. Rather than having conversations around what you or they did wrong in the past, or what you should’ve done better, start future-focused money chats by asking each other questions like:

    • What are your money goals?

    • Have I ever shared my long term money goals with you?

    • Knowing what we both want individually, what could we create together as our finance goals to work towards for our future?

    • When do we want to achieve them by?

    • How can we achieve them? What do we need to do next?

    • Who can we be for each other when it comes to money?

  • Use self-focused words No one likes being criticised, and as much as we try not to, often the words we use leave our partner feeling judged and beaten down. So, to have what you’re saying be received in a positive light, where your partner feels valued and seen, use words that focus on you. “I”, “me”, “my experience”, “I felt”, “I’m aware that I…”, “it seemed to me like… ” Switching your language and using self-focused words and phrases when you're communicating with your partner takes the spotlight off them, and the possibility of falling into old patterns and conversations reduces. By using these types of words, it also has you be responsible and links everything back to checking yourself and being responsible (all the good stuff I mentioned in point 1)

There’s no magic pill you can take that will solve your money woes immediately. Having freedom to discuss money without fighting is like peeling back an onion; there are layers and it will take time, patience, practice, and a commitment to peeling it all back. With these tools, you have everything you need to get going and transform how you talk about money with your partner. All that’s left to do is to get started. I know you can do it!

Sending you all my ‘ go get ‘em!’ energy and cheering you on!

Can’t wait to hear how your money conversations evolve and transform 🥰

Jaleesa x


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