Couples who want unity in the area of finances need to be willing to use each other for accountability and support.
My wife and I have made a pact that nothing major financially will be done without agreement from the other. This pact is sometimes a real pain. There are times I really want to spend money on something and I feel like I'm going into the principal's office to get permission. Sometimes she feels the same way.
Yet that short-term pain and relinquishing of "rights" has brought us closer and closer together. The trust and respect we have for each other because we don't have any "little secrets" has caused our marriage to prosper. Not only has our marriage prospered, but we also make fewer bad financial decisions and no major money decisions on impulse.
Sounds a little controlling — and maybe a little boring — but I assure you we love the benefits of increased intimacy and wealth.
In his book Making Love Last Forever, Gary Smalley says that men respond well to two types of communication techniques. The first is a rating system, such as 1 to 10. It might sound like this: "Honey, on a scale of one to ten, flowers are a three and you helping me put together a plan to be debt free is a nine." Sometimes we guys hear what you're saying, but don’t realize how important it is to you.
Smalley also suggests word pictures. He has a whole book of them called Love Languages; I recommend it. A word picture is a metaphor.
For example: "Honey, when you blow off looking at these bills with me and I have to deal with the collectors alone, it makes me feel the same way as I would if I were kidnapped right in front of you and you did nothing to protect me."
Let the emotion you are feeling — whether it's abandonment, resentment or whatever — show through in your word picture, but be careful not to be accusatory or use an angry tones; you don’t want to put your spouse on the defensive.
Husbands, when you're trying to get your wife onboard, remember that she is wired for relationships and security. Asking her a question such as, "How would it feel if we had $10,000 in savings just for emergencies?" will get her attention. Ninety-seven percent of women surveyed said they would like more communication in marriage.
So what if you said, "Honey, I was reading about how if we spent a few minutes a week working on a budget together, it would increase our communication in every area and ultimately create more intimacy and unity. Would you like to try that?" I’m willing to bet you won’t need to say much more.