Christian Mingle is proud to bring you regular guest posts from some of our favorite voices in the Christian community. From the challenging and inspiring to the warm and the witty, these posts will help you strengthen your faith and your relationships. This month: in an exclusive interview, #1 New York Times best-selling author and TV host Rachel Cruze offers some sage advice on talking about money in a relationship.
Talking About Money In A Relationship With Rachel Cruze
Christian Mingle: Hi Rachel, and thanks for speaking with us today!
You’ve mentioned that talking about money in a relationship is a fundamental part of having a healthy partnership. What would you say is the biggest benefit to discussing money with a partner?
Rachel Cruze: Money is the number one thing couples argue about, and more couples than ever are starting their marriage with debt. When you aren’t talking about money openly with your partner, it can feel like you’re carrying the burden and stress on your own. When you open up and have the conversation, you’re talking about more than just money! You’re sharing your goals, dreams and values with one another, which can bring a new level of unity to your relationship.
Christian Mingle: So chatting about your finances is romantically helpful! How else can it bring you closer to your partner emotionally?
Rachel Cruze: You get to know your spouse on a much deeper level when you talk about your money. Talking about it reveals your fears, worries, dreams, goals and so much more, which ultimately brings you closer together. It’s important to have those talks when you’re moving toward a serious relationship, and especially when you’re married. One way to do this is to create a monthly budget together. It sets the stage to have conversations you may not have had otherwise. You have to be intentional when it comes to talking about money, and your life together will be sweeter because of it.
Christian Mingle: So, it’s clearly important, but money can still be a taboo subject to bring up, especially in a new relationship. What advice would you have for people who want to take that step forward with their partner but aren’t sure how?
Rachel Cruze: Oh, the first money talk! It’s scary to bring up money when you’re dating. But it’s so important to have that talk if you’re at a place in your relationship where you’re considering marriage. I think a good place to start is just to talk about what money was like growing up in their household or sharing your financial fears. You can learn a lot about each other this way. I actually have a worksheet on my website that shares several money conversation starters for couples.
Christian Mingle: What happens if that talk shows that you have dissimilar financial backgrounds? Do you have any tips for people in relationships where they and their partner have totally different approaches to talking (and spending!) money?
Rachel Cruze: I always tell people to embrace their differences. Each person is going to have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money. One might be a saver and one might be a spender. One might be a nerd and one might be a free spirit. Each one needs the other to balance things out! The saver can help to put boundaries in place for the spender, and the spender can help the saver to remember that it’s okay to have a little fun! Being a natural spender or natural saver is not right or wrong. There’s no “right” way to be. The most important thing is that you make plans together.
Christian Mingle: Given the importance, how early is too early to start having a healthy approach to talking about money in a relationship? For instance, can it start as early the first date, when you’re figuring out who should pay?
Rachel Cruze: You don’t have to be a crazy person on the first date and grill them about their finances. I do not recommend that! But as you get more serious and marriage is on the table, you need to talk about money. Trust me on this one! Money is the number one issue married couples fight about. If money is already a source of tension, marriage will only magnify that. You can set yourself up for a successful marriage if you talk about your finances and plans before you walk down the aisle. Try setting a wedding budget together as practice! That’s a great first step. Just be sure to avoid the temptation to merge your finances before you say “I do.” Wait until you’re married to combine bank accounts and don’t be tempted to pay off your partner’s debt before you’re married.
Christian Mingle: And finally, as a money and finance expert, who do you think should pay for the first date? Does the answer depend on who does the asking?
Rachel Cruze: I think it’s always a good idea to offer to split the check. If the other person offers to pay, sure, let them treat! My husband Winston paid for our first dates, and he did it with a credit card. I never said anything about it on the date, but given how I grew up, I did find it ironic that my date bought me dinner with a credit card. As the relationship become more serious, I told him about my feelings toward debt of any kind. Thankfully, he agreed and the credit card was history! From that point in our relationship, we decided together to live without debt—and that even means no credit cards.
Christian Mingle: Thanks Rachel!
You might also be interested in: Curiosity: The Secret To Effective Communication In Marriage
About the Author
As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and host of The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey.