The saying goes: “Money is the root of all evil”. Although this does not always hold true as its importance cannot be disregarded, it still is a cause of conflict in many marriages. There is an added burden if the spouses have conflicting ideas about money and if one of the spouses refuses to participate. This can also be very frustrating in a relationship, even more so if the couple is married with kids and income and expenses are shared, and it can also make you feel stuck. The root causes are varied, ranging from underlying fears to more serious financial issues that the other partner may not be aware of. Therefore, it helps to identify the reason behind such a reluctance as this may, eventually, solve the problem. The following may help you deal with your problem:
- The easier it is for your wife to participate in a financial discussion, the better. Also, it might help to discuss the basic budget first, for instance groceries and other utilities, and talk about other expenses, such as eating out and shopping, at a later stage. It may also be easier for both to break the money into weekly amounts and actually handle cash rather than using debit cards or online banking applications.
- Take note of the way you are approaching your wife about the issue, especially if the situation involves debt or a struggle sticking to a budget, as she may feel like you are blaming her. Even if this really is the case, blaming someone else doesn’t improve the situation. Blame tends to make the other person feel defensive and may defeat the purpose. Therefore, try to avoid blaming your partner when talking about money and try working together to solve the issue and avoid focusing on the past.
- Rather than thinking that your wife won’t talk about money, you can check with her whether she feels involved or not in the process. You may find out that your spouse feels that you are taking control of the finances, especially if she is dependent on you financially, and she would like to have a more active role in financial planning and responsibilities.Therefore, try involving her in this as much as possible and, together, come up with a financial plan. If need be, also set a particular date and time for discussion.
- You can also help your partner revisit past goals and desires, such as owning a home or travelling, to be able to compare directly to your current financial situation. This helps you check whether you are able to accomplish your goals and may realize what is going on and take action.
Finally, keep in mind that together you can overcome this issue, but it might take time and calm communication. Therefore, a quiet time to sit down with your partner and engage in such discussions is ideal. Also, do not hesitate to involve a third party should the situation become too tense as a mediator can help you both remain calm and focused.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Johanna Cutajar is a Master in Counselling graduate from the University of Malta. She works with children and adolescents as a counsellor within the education sector on a variety of issues including relationship issues, trauma, bereavement, transitions, and general mental health.
Caldwell, M. (2020). When Your Spose Won’t Participate in a Financial Plan or Budget. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/spouse-won-t-participate-in-a-financial-plan-2386017
Dashnaw, D. (2019). My Husband Won’t Talk about Money. Retrieved from https://www.couplestherapyinc.com/husband-wont-talk-about-money/