Talking to Your Spouse About Money

Talking to Your Spouse About Money


By The Marriage and Family Clinic

Everyone’s heard money (along with sex and kids) is one of the most common causes of arguments in marriage. While managing your money might come easy to you, talking about it with your spouse might be difficult. Do you ever wonder why you and your spouse fight so much about money? Well, we’ve got answers for you. 

Money Means More Than Just Money

There are lots of reasons couples fight about money: power, differences in financial goals, differences in opinion regarding spending v. saving, etc. Regardless of the reason, one of the first places we start with couples is to simply begin by learning how to talk to each other about money. Money always has some other meaning to people. 

When couples argue about money, a lot of couples have the same problem: They have not learned how to talk to their spouse about money in ways that are important to their spouse. So they argue in an attempt to compel their spouse to agree with them and agree with their own meaning behind money. Because one spouse might believe that money is more for saving and security, and the other believes that money is for playing and luxuries, each spouse will argue back and forth trying to defend their meaning they assign to money. 

Talk About Meaning, Not Money 

Next time you discuss your finances, try to compel your partner to assign the same meaning to money. Couples who do this will be much more successful when they try to talk to their spouse by addressing their spouse’s meaning for money.

There are lots of different meanings that your spouse could assign to money. If you don’t know what your spouse’s meaning is, it might be a fun conversation to have with them about what they think money is for (one way to do this is to ask what they would do with unlimited money). Simple conversations like this could save you a lot of capital both relationally and monetarily.


To be curious is to be eager to know or learn something.

Being curious with your partner means being curious about their world, instead of assuming you know what they’re thinking, feeling and experiencing.

This week: spark your curiosity and try to learn something new about your partner. This will require you to dig deep and be open to what they say. It can be VERY helpful when arguing. Instead of making sure you are heard, be aware of what your partner is saying and that you fully understand. Instead of judgement, get curious and start asking questions so you can understand why they feel the way that they do.

This will be especially helpful if you struggle with talking about money. This week get curious and talk about what meaning each of you associates with money. And work to understand, not judge. 


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