Spike the Kool-Aid/Financial Flippers/Stop Fighting About Money with One Phrase

Stop Fighting About Money with One Phrase

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Stop Fighting About Money with One Phrase

In 2016, my wife and I got married. We planned our entire wedding from Orlando, even though we were going to have the ceremony in St. Charles, MO. And as anyone who has been married before will tell you, it was a ton of work.

As part of our marriage preparation, we chose to attend a weekend retreat for engaged couples. The retreat was designed to immerse you in an environment that promoted making sure you and your soon-to-be spouse were on the same page regarding several key issues.

One of the issues that was brought up was arguments, or fighting.

Now, my wife and I have never raised our voices at each other. And based on my experience growing up, I would say that we’ve never fought.

Do we have disagreements? Sure.

But even our disagreements are handled in a way that feels healthy, honest, and transparent. I mean, at the core of our relationship, we value communication. And I could see that being the cornerstone of any healthy relationship.

Throughout the retreat, the instructors would allow time for group conversation. And when we got to the topic of fighting, I was pretty surprised at how much arguing and fighting the other couples were experiencing in their relationships.

It kinda made us feel like we were doing something wrong.

According to the Einstein of love, Dr. John Gottman, the #1 thing couples fight about is nothing. But as the other couples spoke, the majority of fighting seemed to stem from more of the heavy-hitting topics: sex, kids, pet peeves, and communication. But there was one topic which seemed to be the most common: money.

If you were to do a Google search on what couples fight about most, the most common answer you’ll find is that couples fight most about sex and money.

And while my wife and I had not fought about either, we knew that we needed help with our financial situation. We just never felt we had the resources or knowledge to effectively address it. (Or so we thought.)

So then, how do we avoid these potential arguments? I mean, statistically, it’s going to happen. So how can we get ahead of that?

It was during this section of the retreat that the instructors shared one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard. And while the instructors intended for this advice to speak mainly to the potential fighting and arguing between couples, it can be used across many other areas of your life.

The best part? It’s so simple.

Here’s what they told us: “Don’t get furious, get curious.”

At first, none of us really knew what they meant. I mean, how is getting curious going to help to prevent fighting with my spouse?

And the answer was simple.

The more you understand why you’re so upset, the better equipped you are to get to the root of the problem and find a resolution.

Because, if we aren’t able to even answer why we’re so upset in the first place, then that might indicate a bigger problem altogether.

We all continue to grow, whether we are in a relationship or not. So it’s important to acknowledge the fact that our significant other is their own person. They have their own beliefs, dreams, goals, ambitions, emotions, etc.

Basically, the person you marry is going to change.

And we should never stop wanting to learn about who that person is. The same way that they should never stop wanting to learn about who we are. It should excite us to continue learning new things about each other.

So then how does all of this apply to finances?

Growing up, I used to hate money (and sometimes, I still do).

But when I was younger, it was because I thought everybody else had it figured out except me. I realized later that that all stemmed from me just not understanding money. I wasn’t asking any questions. Instead, I was just pissed about money.

I was pissed about my paychecks.

I was pissed about my lack of savings.

I was pissed that I hadn't started retirement.

But I never asked any questions. I never got curious. I just got furious. And it got me nowhere.

So ask yourself why money makes you angry, and how you can improve that relationship. Don’t let being pissed hold you back. Instead, embrace curiosity; because that’s how you’ll find a solution.

And THAT is financial empowerment.

Sometimes, we avoid asking questions because we’re afraid of the answers. But the only way to truly flip the script of your financial story is to focus on where you’re going.

Remember: regrets are only experiences we haven’t learned from.

Let’s focus on the road ahead, not the road behind. (The rear-view mirror is smaller for a reason.)

Getting curious might lead to some unwelcome answers, sure. But once you have those answers, you can start to develop a plan to address them. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself ten years down the road not having made any progress.

Using this phrase will help:

  • ​Shift your perspective from anger to inquiry,
  • ​Promote understanding rather than confrontation,
  • ​Foster communication and empathy,
  • ​Allow space for curiosity and mutual problem-solving, and
  • ​Prevent conflict by diffusing tension through curiosity and understanding.

Who knew that just asking questions would be so beneficial?

In life, conflicts, especially in relationships, are inevitable. The retreat my wife and I attended unveiled a powerful piece of advice that transcends arguments and spills over into the world of finance and beyond.

This simple phrase encapsulates the essence of fostering understanding, empathizing, and communicating effectively, especially when it comes to sensitive topics like money. It's not just about finances; it's about embracing curiosity in every aspect of life, seeking to understand rather than confront, and using that understanding to grow, solve problems, and forge stronger relationships.

So, as you navigate the complexities of finances or any other challenging aspect of life, keep in mind the power of curiosity. It's not just the key to resolving conflicts but also the pathway to personal and relational growth.

My wife and I in Toronto.

Stay Curious (yup, that's why I sign off like this),



Kyle Fowler

Founder of Financial Flippers

The personal finance world is packed with TONS of information. And while it's not all bad, it's not all good. I work hard to make sure I am sharing helpful content that keeps you on track while still providing different perspectives. If you ever have questions, want to share ideas for other topics, or want to know more, shoot me an email: kyle@financialflippers.com

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