Once a couple opens up and starts talking about money, it’s not unusual for them to disagree about how to handle it—even if they’re working toward a common goal like getting out of debt. If you don’t believe it, check out some calls to The Dave Ramsey Show where couples have decided to let Dave settle their money disagreements.
Since disagreements over money are usually a matter of when, not if, it’s important to decide ahead of time how you will respond. And for believers, apply all the rules for other conflicts to family disputes. That includes stuff like being kind and considerate (Romans 12:10), doing everything you can to keep the peace (Romans 12:18), loving others like God loves you (1 John 4:7–8), following the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31), and refusing to leave the conflict unresolved (Ephesians 4:26).
Once you’ve determined your battle strategy, it’s good to know what types of disagreements you can expect. They generally fall into three categories, and most of the time, you can tell a fight is coming. So arm yourself with a little patience, a little grace and a whole lot of common sense. With a little preparation, you can keep your disagreements from becoming knock-down, hair-flying, name-calling household fights.
1. I didn’t marry Dave Ramsey.
This argument is the culmination of a thousand “Dave says . . .” comments. You know how it happens. You’re trying to have a discussion about next month’s grocery budget or if you can afford to add $10 to your blow money, when your spouse responds with, “Well, Dave says . . .”
Whether Dave really says it or not, this tactic will not win the argument or change anyone’s mind. Stop beating your spouse up with “Dave says . . .” and have a real discussion about your money issues—just the two of you.
2. But we owe it to ourselves.
In this corner: Debt Buster, so gazelle intense that he collects coins from the sofa and uses them to pay extra on the credit card. And in this corner: Burned Out, who’s just looking for a break from all the budgeting and debt snowballing. Burned Out strikes at Debt Buster’s weak spot by suggesting a vacation . . . or a new computer . . . or a new television. Debt Buster responds with a flurry of refusals and absolutely no compromise. It looks like we’re in for a doozy of a fight!
This 12-round brawl could be avoided if Debt Buster would simply agree to budget for little fun each month so he and Burned Out can continue to make the big sacrifices that will get them out of debt. Burned Out needs to do her part as well and focus on the big picture: living debt free.
3. We’ll never have this chance again.
Whether it’s super-low interest rates that make home buying irresistible or a soaring stock market that has you drooling over retirement investing, one of you may feel you’re going to miss out on a terrific opportunity because the other is focused only on paying off debt.
The truth is, if you try to buy a home or begin investing before you’re out of debt, you’ll regret it as soon as the first emergency comes along. With your cash tied up in debt payments and a house payment or stuck in a Roth IRA, you’ll have nothing extra to cover unexpected expenses. So be patient. Wealth building happens over time, not all at once.
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