5 Rules for Having a Constructive Conflict Conversation About Money
How do you fight with your partner when money is on the table? Do you argue with them over how to budget or criticize them for their “uncontrollable” spending habits?
As we’ve learned so far in the Managing Money in Marriage column, conflicts about money in a marriage aren’t really about money. Most arguments are about what money means to each person in the relationship. It is those differences, not the dollar value, that are often the root of financial disagreements.
So how do you work on those differences?
The Destructive Nature of Money Conflicts
Have you ever felt like your partner was the enemy when it comes to money? In 1969, George Bach felt that way when he published The Intimate Enemy. Bach believed that relationships failed because partners didn’t air their resentments, so he encouraged couples to “let it all out.”
He gave couples foam rubber bats and encouraged partners to take turns saying what they resented about the other person. One partner might say, “I resent you for spending our money on a stupid boat we never use,” followed by a whack with the bat. Then the other partner might say, “I resent you for spending thousands each year on clothes and