Thriving in Love and Money; A Book Review

My wife and I don’t have very many intense discussions. We rarely argue. Yet when we do, it’s the same topic.

Money.

I’m sure it’s the same for most. Enough so that Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn were asked to write this book we’ll look at today. I learned of it on the Love Like You Mean It cruise when they spoke. That book is…

“Over 90 percent of couples experience some level of tension around money. In fact, money issues are the number one stressor in relationships. So many books try to fix the surface problems, such as how to budget and what to prioritize when it comes to finances, but the issues go much deeper than just a simple spreadsheet.

How do men and women view money differently? What do most couples fight about? How can they get on the same page? What questions should men/women ask their significant others before marriage? There are emotional and spiritual components to finances that most couples ignore. How can you agree on a budget if you disagree with each other on the basic purpose of money?

Thriving in Love and Money is based on original research Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn have conducted to get to the heart of these issues. And just as they did with their bestselling books For Women Only and For Men Only, they will use this research to provide the answers and insights you need to break the tension and provide the unity you’re looking for. Let this book deepen your understanding of each other, leading to clear communication, peace as a couple, and better financial decision-making.”

I got the Kindle version, so there are 21 notes and 109 highlights. I’ll try to keep the quoting to a minimum. Let’s set the stage.

“When we have conflict around money, it’s not about the money. Otherwise, on financial issues, rich people would never fight! Instead, it’s about things under the surface that we don’t even realize are there. How money makes us feel. Insecurities and fears. How we process things—and how our spouse does.”

“Here’s the key: If you aren’t thriving in the “love” part of love and money, it will be difficult to come together enough to do the “money” part well.”

“The reason we’re trying to understand one another is not only to draw closer, but so we can: (1) build a financial cushion, and (2) talk and come together about money.”

You’ve probably heard that one person is typically the spender and the other is the saver in a relationship. It goes deeper than that. 

“One of the most basic but crucial secrets to thriving in love and money is to look for and honor the reason your spouse feels the way they do.”

There are stories in there that match what Casey and I do. One game-changer that successfully married couples do is, in the budget, they both have a set amount to spend. 

That’s their money to do what they want with. I call it our allowance or personal money. My wife Casey’s usually goes towards food. Mine is mostly comic books and regular books.  

When it’s out for the month, it’s out. Which is usually when the stress starts.

“Kyle and Shara’s solution was similar to ones we heard in multiple interviews with thriving couples. Couples who designate a pot of money that each spouse can spend however they like were much more likely to be happy in their marriage. More on that in the “what do we do about it” part of this chapter.”

“A common solution we heard is to give general freedom under a certain purchase amount, while agreeing to consult each other for purchases over that amount.”

One more quote, then I’ll go over an insight that I discussed with Casey. 

“Tip #1: Next time you’re at odds, assume there’s a reason and ask, “Is this a value thing?” Ask yourself: Is this something that matters to my spouse that I am just not seeing—or not valuing? Or maybe even, is there something here that matters to me that’s being triggered, that I might not be aware of? And more to the point: How can I understand my spouse without judging them—even if I don’t agree?”

According to their studies, men stress about providing, even if they have six-digit salaries. Women worry about keeping the family together and their relationships current.

Casey said “amen” to this.

For example, a frugal man would grill out while the wife would get takeout so they can spend time together. They’ll spend money to do it, which causes the circle of stress to continue.

In fact, women would deal with more financial stress if it meant her husband didn’t have to work as much or bring in less money.

Which is good since I have FOMO with my family. Quality time is my love language, after all, especially now that I have a son. 

If you’re arguing about money, it’s a sticky subject, or you just want to improve your marriage any way you can, get this book.

5 stars.

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