4 Money Conversations to Strengthen your Marriage


In this episode of the Building Us podcast, co-hosts Erik Garcia, CFP® and Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT discuss a little bit about their roots, when and where they started working together, and the idea of how couples can have healthy conversations around money.

Episode Highlights:

  • What are some ground rules for healthy communication, and for having a healthy conversation? (2:32)
  • Matt talks about the importance of staying connected. If you conflict with somebody, you want to try to stay connected to them. (4:17)
  • Matt shares that he doesn’t want people to use aggressive and verbally abusive language to each other. (4:49)
  • Erik mentions that sometimes money is like the window into our souls, and money makes us feel vulnerable. (5:58)
  • Matt says that curiosity is the other side of communication. (6:47)
  • What are some healthy questions that couples can ask each other? (7:12)
  • Erik shares that retirement is somewhat a goal, but it’s a goal that doesn’t have an end. (7:39)
  • Matt talks about the attitude and values of money. (7:39)
  • Erik thinks that part of understanding your attitude is understanding the environment in which you were raised. (9:43)
  • Matt sees that when couples are coming together, sometimes one of them grew up in a home where money was handled in a very healthy way, very open way, and the other spouse or partner was raised in an environment where money was more toxic in some way. (10:18)
  • Matt says that debt was something that he and his spouse needed to talk about. (13:10)
  • Matt shares that feelings are significant and feelings often drive our reactions and behaviors about money. (13:54)
  • Erik shares a good example of understanding your partner in terms of how they feel about money. (14:36)
  • Matt mentions that his financial values have changed from being entirely about himself to partly about him, partly about others, and leaving a legacy. (16:12)
  • Erik shares that money is one of the issues where he often sees people don’t have healthy conversations. (16:40)
  • Matt talks about financial skills and habits. (17:03)
  • Erik shares a story about his first wedding anniversary. (17:32)
  • Erik mentions that couples that report on having less financial conflict, tend to have healthier and more intimate lives. (19:55)
  • Matt shares that generally for couples, their finances get more complicated over time, and even if they have good foundational skills, those skills and habits may need to adjust over time. (20:45)
  • Matt talks about creating a Venn diagram for couples’ values and skills. (23:28)
  • Erik mentions the book entitled A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne. (24:37)
  • Matt talks about collaboration and communication. (27:44)
  • Matt talks about being able to communicate openly and transparently. (29:39)
  • Matt shares that a lot of people when they’re worried about something, will just avoid it and come up with 100 different reasons not to talk about it. (30:21)
  • Matt mentions that stress can sometimes come out as anger and criticism but it can sometimes come out as shutting down and avoiding it. (30:49)
  • Erik mentions that in his e-book, he talked about how to distill financial principles that transcend income, and transcends wealth. (32:44)
  • Erik shares that the ground rule of healthy communication if you’re asking questions, is to ask questions to learn. (37:14)
  • Matt mentions that the great ground rule is not to ask a question with the intention to educate your partner. (37:47)

Key Quotes:

  • “If we meet judgment too quickly, it’s going to shut down one person and it just shuts the communication down.” – Erik Garcia, CFP®
  • “Money taps into scarcity and fear and some of those really powerful emotions that all of us wrestle with.” – Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT
  • “It’s very difficult to be in a relationship with someone if you don’t understand their values and if you don’t understand their attitudes. Money is one of those things where I see so often that people just don’t have healthy conversations about it.” – Erik Garcia, CFP®
  • “The less financial stress a couple reports, the more satisfactory intimacy they experience.” – Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT
  • “If you can connect your reaction and your emotional reaction to a deeper fear, it will help you explain that better to your partner, and if your partner in their own curiosity can understand that, hear that and validate that even if you don’t ever agree, you can stay much more connected in the process.” – Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT

Resources Mentioned:

About Erik Garcia

Hi there, I'm Erik. How you manage your money and other resources impacts practically every aspect of your life. I help individuals and families invest plan for a more secure and predictable financial future. Thanks for taking time on my site!

Visit my website →