Money and marriage can mesh well – if both partners can assert their financial beliefs and money personalities without hesitation! This mini-test for assertiveness in a love relationship will help you determine if your money and relationships are meshing well…
“Studies show that assertive communication can help build personal confidence, assist with managing stress and anger, and improve coping skills for emotional health and well-being,” says psychologist and author Sari Shepphird. “Assertive communication is the perfect midpoint between aggressiveness and passivity – you avoid needlessly hurting others, yet you are sure to see results.”
If you veer between aggression and passivity (or passive-aggressive communication), read Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships. And, check out this mini-test for assertiveness, plus seven ways to assert your financial beliefs in your love relationship….
Are You Assertive in Your Love Relationship?
Being assertive in your love relationship is about speaking up for your feelings and needs — whether it’s about saving more money or deciding how to invest a $10,000 inheritance. Assertive communication gives you the freedom to express your feelings about money to your partner – including your financial habits, opinions, and needs.
And, being assertive about your money beliefs in marriage can not only lead to financial abundance, it can improve your love life!
A Mini-Test for Assertive Communication
Complete the following statements by answering with: (A) Always (B) Frequently (C) Sometimes (D) Rarely (E) Never
1) I stand up for my own needs.
2) I feel I deserve to be heard.
3) I believe I have a right to my own feelings and opinions.
4) I share those feelings and opinions with others.
5) I ask for what I want and need.
6) I am able to say “no” when I do not want to do something.
7) I am afraid it will seem selfish if I express my feelings or opinions.
If you answered C, D, or E to most of questions 1-6, and/or answered A or B to question 7, you might benefit from assertiveness training.
Money and Marriage - 7 Tips for Asserting Your Financial Beliefs
1. Speak in direct, clear statements. Use “I” statements so your partner knows what you’re thinking and feeling. For example, instead of saying, “You ignore me every time I bring up our credit card debt!” you could say, “I feel hurt and scared when you watch television when I’m trying to talk to you about how to handle our financial debt.”
2. Be clear in asking for what you want. Miscommunication or misunderstanding can make money problems in marriage worse. If, for example, you need to figure out how to deal with credit card debt and can’t seem to find the time to talk about it, you could say, “I need to talk about our financial future and current debt level. Can we agree to talk at at 7 o’clock tomorrow?”
3. Assert yourself until you’re satisfied you’ve been heard. My husband and I mostly see eye-to-eye on our financial decisions — but even so, I sometimes wonder if he’s hearing me! If I don’t feel heard, I repeat my request or statement and ask for a specific response. I don’t get angry or frustrated — because sometimes he needs time to think — but I do make sure he’s actually heard me. Attracting more money in a love relationship takes time and effort, as well as assertive, honest communication.
4. Don’t apologize for your feelings or needs. If you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t apologize! You don’t need to say sorry if you’re trying to plan your financial future or deal with money problems. Asserting your financial beliefs and needs is a healthy way to take care of yourself and your family.
5. Express yourself calmly — and take deep breaths! Don’t insult or accuse your partner – that’s not an effective way to communicate in a love relationship! For example, instead of saying, “You are so stubborn, you never listen to me!” you could say, “I feel frustrated when you interrupt me, so please just listen for a moment.” Asserting your financial beliefs can involve intense emotion, which is fine! But, don’t let those emotions override your discussions about money in marriage.
6. Listen to your partner’s views about money. But remember — you don’t have to agree with his opinion or money beliefs! Nor do you have to do what he asks. If you want to make more money as a couple and learn better communication skills, practice listening and being open to your partner’s perspective. Remember that men and women have different financial beliefs.
7. Don’t take responsibility for your partner’s financial behavior. If your partner is struggling with destructive money habits or bad financial decisions, find a way to love him or her without taking on the debt. You might want to keep your savings or checking accounts separate, or have your own credit card. Try to keep your financial record separate from his, especially if he’s not good with money or has a bad credit score.
When it comes to marriage and money, being assertive takes time and practice! But, the more you focus on honest and direct communication, the easier it’ll get. Follow the steps above, and you may find that asserting yourself in your love relationship can make those money talks better and more effective.
If you have any questions or thoughts on asserting your financial beliefs, please comment below…
If you know in your heart it's time to move on, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
The mini-test for assertiveness training and tips for improving communication skills is an adapted excerpt from Dr. Shepphird’s book, 100 Questions and Answers About Anorexia Nervosa. For more information about the assertiveness training tips you’ve read here, visit DrShepp.com.