Debt is listed as one of the major causes of stress. Couples can find their relationships under increased pressure due to their debt. Many people find it hard, to be honest with their partner or family about their debt situation, finding that the conversation quickly turns into an argument.
How can you discuss your debt without getting into a fight?
Women often enjoy deconstructing a problem in detail, before moving onto possible solutions. Many women complain that their man doesn’t give them time to really dig into the problem before throwing out solutions. This can leave them feeling like they are not being heard.
Men like to look for ways to fix things quickly, as this makes them feel useful to their family. This can lead to them rapidly offering potential solutions, rather than talking about the challenge at length. Some feel that their partner does not value their suggestions if they still want to talk about the problem and not their good suggestion.
With this in mind, it is important that when discussing debt, men allow women enough time to discuss the challenge, to analyze and investigate it thoroughly. They can try to hold off on offering solutions until they have a complete picture of the situation and also how it makes their partner feel. Sometimes their partner may not even want or expect any solution and may be very happy simply to have discussed the problems they face together. Women should try to be very clear about what they want from their partner, and should not be upset if their man offers ideas and solutions before the matter is fully considered. It can help if she remembers that these suggestions come from a place of concern for the family.
Since money problems are naturally a sensitive topic, it is better not to rush through this conversation. Rather choose a time when both parties are relaxed and not when you are busy or preoccupied.
Many couples like to do so over a nice meal when both are well rested and can focus on the issue.
Talking regularly about your debt, on a certain day of the month or evening of the week can help. By having a regular schedule to discuss this topic, neither partner will feel like they are getting ambushed.
It is not uncommon for one partner in a relationship to have more debt than another. It often happens that one partner normally handles all the financial matters for the whole family. They may, out of concern for their partner hide the true extent of their financial problems. Then when all the facts later become known it can cause a lot of stress if one partner blames the other.
Though it is not a good idea to hide debts from your partner, the other partner needs to consider why their other half felt the need to hide the info in the first place. Normally it is out of worry or concern that they will (1) upset or (2) stress their mate, so the motive is a good one, if not misguided.
Even where one partner has made mistakes and taken on debt that the whole family now has to cope with, it is vital to see what the real problem is. Not who knew what, but rather that there is debt to be dealt with. The debt is the common enemy and not your partner.
Paying off debts together, and helping to build a debt-free future can be a rewarding process that draws the family closer together.
When discussing debt, the tone of your conversation can make all the difference between a helpful strategy session and a bitter argument that accomplishes nothing.
It is true that it is not only what you say but also how you say it. By choosing kind words and sentences that do not assign blame, you can show that you care, and can avoid a lot of arguments.
Giving your partner enough time to express themselves, and realizing that the debt is the problem and not your partner, will go a long way to prevent unnecessary fighting.
Rather than starting sentences with “No. I think…” try saying: “Yes and…” Acknowledge what you have heard (sometimes even repeating it, so your partner knows you are listening) before offering additional suggestions to be discussed.
Terms of endearment and kind words will draw you together when dealing with debt rather than driving you apart.
If we make allowances for each other, remembering that men and women communicate differently, we can avoid fighting about this sensitive subject.
If you can find a convenient, regular time to discuss your debt together in a leisurely and calm way, you are less likely to fight. Avoid playing the blame game and focus on the debt as the problem that needs to be tackled together, you can avoid raised voices and angry words. Starting a sentence with “Darling” can help ease the tension when discussing debts.
Don’t let debt (which is already a problem) cause other difficulties in your home. Work together to discuss and find solutions on your journey to financial freedom.