How to Communicate About Money

So you’ve bought into my proposition in my last entry that unequal financial power that is not discussed will lead to distancing everywhere, including the bedroom.  But how should couples communicate about such a difficult topic?

Let’s start with a few basics.

Approach one another when one or both of you recognize an issue is emerging. Don’t wait until you explode. Simply state your concern without sarcasm or disapproval: “I’m upset because I see XYZ happening and that worries me for the following reasons.”

If you can’t clearly explain your concerns, spend some time figuring out why you’re upset before your broach the topic. If you can’t explain it to yourself, honestly, how is your spouse supposed to get it?

Give each other time to consider possible solutions. Setting your concern out there is a great, but don’t expect that move on your part to end the entire issue. Don’t expect a solution immediately. Maybe your spouse has to think it over, and maybe s/he doesn’t agree with a solution you might have proposed. A few days to a week is usually sufficient for this mulling over process, unless a major life change is involved.

Now, work together to create and institute a plan you can both live with.

Get some further ideas on communicating with your spouse from Opdyke’s own WSJ blog on the topic, and return here for ideas on how to divide up checking accounts and how to handle the checkbook.


I help adults and adolescents through the particular struggles of our time: tension between couples, parenting frustration, blending new families, separation and divorce, (un)employment, cancer, and loss. When relationships come to an impasse, I use mediation techniques to try to ensure that each party will have his/her needs heard and accounted for in a dignified way. In addition to talking, listening, and reframing, I utilizes the tools of metaphor, active teaching, role-playing, visualization, and hypnotherapy.for families and businesses, as well as in cases of divorce.

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