Article by Craig Ford | When you first got married, you probably made a lot of assumptions about what your spouse believed about money. That’s perfectly natural. Usually, instead of taking the time and effort to fully getting to know someone, we take an emotional short cut and assume that they’ll do things in the exact same way as we do.
That’s why you’re surprised when your spouse:
- Writes a check knowing full well there is no money in the bank.
- Stops at an out-of-network ATM because the walk across the street (to an in-network ATM) is just too much hassle.
- Spends $10 every lunch and refuse to take a lunch.
And that’s exactly why your spouse is surprised when you:
- Insist on washing the zip lock bags to re-use them.
- Even insinuate you should cut the cable TV.
- Bring up the topic of cutting up the credit cards because you have a credit card debt problem.
Typically, these topics are issues because, until you were married, you never took the time to ask how they would respond to all these situations. Thus, one strategy for a healthy marriage and money relationship is to explore what each other really believes about money.
I think talking about money can really help you open up a new door to financial intimacy. However, for these questions to bless your marriage, you should consider discussing them with the following ground rules in place.
First, the purpose of these questions is exploratory – not accusatory. If you have an agenda to use these questions to change or manipulate your spouse, they’ll perceive it as just that.
Second, if you’re currently in a financially adversarial situation with your spouse, these questions are better asked and discussed in the presence of a qualified counselor.
Finally, allow an adequate amount of time. Perhaps you should consider taking a date together where the two of you strengthen your financial intimacy through open discussion.
21 Discussion Questions for Married Couples
1. When you were growing up, did you think your family was poor, middle class, or upper class? When you look back now, do you still view it in the same way? Do you have any regrets about how your parents handled money? Are there parts of your financial history you plan to avoid?
2. Did your parents typically see eye to eye on the topic of money? When they did disagree, what was the process for coming to a consensus?
3. What were some of the best ways that your parents spent money?
4. Would you classify yourself as a saver or spender? When you think about investing, do you feel confident or cautious? When you work, do you typically want to choose the path most traveled or least traveled?
5. What is your greatest financial fear? How do you think that fear impacts and influences how you spend your money?
6. What do you believe about money? I believe money is best used by ______________.
7. How do you feel about debt? Are you comfortable having credit card debt, payday loans, car loans, or a mortgage? When I look at the stack of bills we get in the mail, I feel _______________.
8. How much does something need to cost in order for it to be an us decision instead of a you decision?
9. What is the biggest financial adjustment that needs to take place in this marriage?
10. The one thing I’ve always been to shy to tell my spouse about money is _____________________.
11. I feel ___________ when you ____________ with money.
Current Financial Situation
12. If one or both of us were to lose a job today, how would you feel? Would you be financially ready to handle that crisis? If not, what could be done today to help you be prepared for it?
13. How are you enjoying your job (or homemaking)? Is there anything I can do to be more supportive?
14. I think our current debt levels are: (a) no big deal, (b) something to be aware of, (c) a serious issue, or (d) a crisis.
15. Do you have an emergency fund in place? What would need to happen to start saving up for an emergency fund?
16. If there were one thing you could change in our finances to make you feel so much better, what would that one thing be?
17. When it comes to giving money to the church or others, I feel _____________.
18. What do you want retirement to be like? Where do you see us living? What do you see us doing? Should one of us work? Part-time or full-time?
19. What are three things you’d like to do in your lifetime? What are the financial implications?
20. The one thing I’ve always wanted to do with my money is _____________.
21. (Here’s a creative one) If you won a million dollars, what do you think you would do with it?
We’d love to hear from those of you who have discussed some of these questions with your spouse. How did it go? What did you learn about each other? Meet us in the comments!
Used by permission from ChristianPF.com, Excerpts from 21 Financial Questions to Improve Your Marriage
Photo: Marriage Tax