Some people are savers, others are spenders. These personalities type are formed based on what we saw growing up. Some are consistent with what we saw and others do the opposite of what we saw. Either way, our early models impact our money personalities.

Awareness of money types and childhood beliefs about money help couples understand themselves and each other and be less reactive to each other. This consciousness enables couples to look at the issue from a more neutral than reactionary perspective.

The best tip is to to be able to learn how to have the difficult conversations about money by employing a structure that allows both to feel safe and understood. The more couples communicate effectively and feel safe around money, the more likely they will be able to work together towards effective solutions.

As a relationship therapist who deals with couples with conflict around spending, money habits are a big issue. It leads to a breakdown in trust, and leads to tension in the relationship.

In order to deal with these types of issues of overspending, it’s important for both spouses to articulate their thoughts about money as well as their spending needs in the relationship.

Gain Awareness about Emotional Baggage around Money

It’s important to address the potential emotional baggage around the issue that might be impacting a logical solution. For instance, if one spouse heard their parents talking about how money is all the root of all evil, they may feel like they have to spend it because they feel that they aren’t supposed to have it. Subconscious messages about money are creating the spending habits.

Once you put it all on the table and address it, then you can look at the practical dollars and sense and budgeting strategies. And while it may be hard for the spender to curtail their spending, if they don’t have the money, they can’t afford it.

How to tackle debt as a couple

Money, and especially debt, is a loaded conversation for any couple wrought with fear, shame, and anxiety. It is important to have good communication skills so that a safe conversation can be had. It is also worthwhile to understand each one’s experience with money and debt as that will shed some light on the current situation. Debt can surely impact relationships and cause a lot of trouble so it is important for both to be clear about the situation they are entering and develop some sort of plan as to how to pay off the debt and/or how to avoid debt. This can be done with the help of a financial planner as well who can provide realistic strategies. Once the facts are clear, then the emotional piece can be addressed so that both partners enter the relationship fully conscious of what they are getting into and fully prepared to meet the challenge. Otherwise, debt can be a huge stressor which can eventually lead to the demise of the relationship. To work together on understanding more of your baggage around money, check out our Money worksheets for couples to fill out together. 

Tips to make the money conversation go smoothly

One of the best ways to communicate or to begin the process of communicating is to ask to make an “appointment”. Simply asking, “Is now a good time? I have something that I’d like to speak about with you.” The act of asking for an appointment to speak will make sure that the person is ready to listen and receive what you have to say. Just that one tip will make a huge difference in how the conversation will go!

Some more tips are:

  • Eliminate all name-calling, finger-pointing, blaming, and shaming. A toxic relationship cannot thrive. Angry outbursts chip away at the love and trust that a couple has for each other.
  • Take ownership for your feelings and frustration by focusing on why your spouse’s actions disturb you. Replace the “you” of “you always do this” with “I” – “how I felt when…”
  • Learn to ask for what you want. It’s so easy to complain that we often forget what it is we are missing. Rather than focusing on how your spouse ignores you, share how badly you crave his love and attention.

It is worthwhile having a discussion about your childhood experience with money. How your parents viewed money will impact the role money plays in your relationship, and may be the source of potential conflict between the two of you. Getting conscious about the role money played in your home growing up will help you navigate some of these issues together.

We’d be happy to help you learn how to have safe conversations around money so you can get to a place of financial wellbeing in your relationship. Schedule a time to speak with us using this link or fill out the form below.

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Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact or