Money can be one of the most hot button issues in a marriage. It is common for a couple to get along in almost every aspect of their marriage, but when money is brought up it is all out war. What if you decided to change that pattern? Is it possible to use money in your marriage to build your spouse up? I say the answer is yes! Using a chapter from the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman as a guide, let’s take a look at five ways to use words to build up your spouse.
1. Compliment your spouse. You may be thinking there is no way you could find something to complement your spouse about in regards to money, but I challenge you to do so. Maybe your spouse always pays the bills. Thank your spouse for putting in the time to take care of that. If your spouse really is bad with money, really search for an area of improvement to compliment them on. Even if they save money by finding something you needed on super sale. Take your time, be thoughtful, and always be on the lookout to pay your spouse a sincere compliment.
2. Encourage your spouse. This can be one of the most powerful ways to affirm your spouse. When it comes to money, there can be many different ways to show encouragement. It could be as simple as your spouse saying they are going to sit down and put a budget together. Encourage your spouse to do so and offer to help. Maybe your spouse brings up that they were thinking about getting a second job or start a side business to help you get out of debt faster. Offer them a word of encouragement about how you know they can do it and what it would mean to you to have the debt paid off. Just be careful not to “encourage” your spouse to do something just because it is what you want. Make sure it is something they want to do and you are just there to provide them with some confidence.
3. Speak kindly. It is especially important to speak kindly to your spouse in the heat of battle. Even if they are not speaking kindly, you can choose to be the mature adult and defuse the situation by remaining calm. Money fights can get very heated and ugly, but it is vitally important to take a step back and get everyone calmed down. The other thing to remember is that the tone in which you say something makes a huge difference. Saying “you really handle money well” with a bitter, sarcastic tone is much different than saying the same thing in a cheerful, loving tone.
4. Speak humbly. Requesting something and demanding something are two radically different things. For example, “it would really mean a lot to me if we were to sit down and discuss our budget on Thursday night” versus “we have got to get your spending under control, I am going to make a budget and you are just going to have to deal with it!” One is a request and another is a demand (please tell me you know which one is which!). The bottom line is that if you speak to your spouse from a humble, loving attitude, it will not be seen as nagging or belittling.
5. Really impress your spouse. If you really want to score points with your spouse, talk about them in a positive way to someone else when they are not around. Chances are, it will get back to them at some point and they will really feel good about it. For example, you may tell your friends, “my husband really works hard to provide for our family. I am so appreciative of him for that.” Or you may say “my wife is an amazing budgeter. She has a system that works great for our situation.”
My suggestion is to pick one of the above. Don’t waste time, do one of them in the next three days. If you are not used to doing this, it may be tough at first. It is worth it to improve your marriage to take the leap out of your comfort zone and go for it. It may just be the first step toward getting your financial house in order.