ERP 406: How To Negotiate The Division Of Labor For A More Harmonious Relationship — An Interview With Brian Page

By Posted in - Podcast January 9th, 2024 0 Comments

According to research, in 39% of households, women contribute equally or more to the income compared to men. This transformation, while positive, marks a significant shift from traditional gender roles and poses a unique challenge when both partners are engaged in the workforce.

Historically, women often assumed the role of stay-at-home moms, responsible for all household chores. Women raised in such settings encounter the challenge of harmonizing these deeply rooted expectations with the pressures of a thriving career. As a result, the need to redefine the concept of a successful mother and wife becomes crucial, calling for collaborative endeavors from both spouses.

In this episode, we explore strategies and insights aimed at addressing this dynamic, guiding couples through the process of redefining gender roles and fostering mutual understanding.

Brian Page is the founder of Modern Husbands. He shares ideas on managing money and the home as a team. He is a former Milken National Educator of the Year, CNN Money Hero, and Working Group Member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. He consulted for state governments, universities, and various nonprofits.

He served a one-year term as a Visiting Scholar at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Office of Financial Education.

In this episode

4:26 Brian Paige’s personal journey into redefining relationship dynamics.

10:28 Navigating the learning curve: Redefining roles and managing mental load in modern relationships.

17:20 Streamlining life: Outsourcing, automating, and systematizing for reduced cognitive load in relationships.

21:14 Navigating division of labor and money in relationships

34:05 Striving for equitable leisure.

31:41 The power of regular household business meetings.

37:19 Empowering marriages with valuable resources: The modern husband’s toolkit.

39:34 The significance of understanding the deep-seated beliefs and potential traumas that influence a partner’s financial decisions.

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Schedule uninterrupted weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss both personal finances and household responsibilities to ensure clarity and ongoing alignment.
  • Clearly communicate and mutually agree on the expectations for each partner’s roles in managing the household and financial responsibilities.
  • Practice active listening during discussions about money and division of labor, ensuring both partners feel heard and understood.
  • Adapt the division of household tasks based on workloads, ensuring a fair distribution that allows each partner adequate leisure time.
  • Use conversation prompts, such as discussing what each would do with a million dollars, to understand your partner’s values regarding money and lifestyle.
  • Approach financial disagreements with empathy, recognizing that deep-seated beliefs or traumas might influence your partner’s financial decisions.
  • If financial challenges persist, consider seeking professional help, such as financial therapy, to navigate complex dynamics and find mutually beneficial solutions.

Mentioned

Transition to Marriage Toolkit (course)

Relationship Map To Happy, Lasting Love

Online Meal Plans – The Fresh 20

Mind Money Balance

Connect with Brian Page

Websites: modernhusbands.com

Facebook: facebook.com/modernhusbands

Twitter: twitter.com/ModernHusbands

YouTube: youtube.com/@ModernHusbands

Instagram: instagram.com/modernhusband

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/modernhusbands

Podcast: modernhusbands.com/podcasts

Newsletter: modernhusbands.com/newsletter

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Facebook: facebook.com/EmpoweredRelationship 

Instagram: instagram.com/drjessicahiggins 

Podcast: drjessicahiggins.com/podcasts/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/EmpowerRelation 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

Twitter: @DrJessHiggins 

Website: drjessicahiggins.com  

Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Brian, thank you so much for being here. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

I’m thrilled to join. Thanks for having me. 

Yes. Some of what we’re going to be talking about, I don’t think I’ve ever had a guest talk about the division of labor. And you know we’re also going to be talking about financial responsibilities, how that fits in. I have had other guests talk about money and how couples negotiate those differences, and there can be a lot involved in that.

So before we pivot to our topic, I would love for people to get to know you, where you’re coming from. Maybe a little story about what got you into supporting people in this field, or with these topics.

Sure. So I’ve been married for almost 22 years. I married up, my wife is wonderful and supportive. We started our life together in Ohio, where I was a school teacher. I taught personal finance and economics, and was fortunate enough to get some recognition, and that led to a lot of other opportunities. So for much of our marriage, I taught, and then I also had a second full-time job, either it was consulting in the personal finance space or other things. My wife was, throughout some of our relationship, stay-at-home mom, and then she had the flexible schedule. My wife is brilliant, and she has significant career aspirations. Nobody wants to work two full-time jobs forever, either. So there was a point where we just made the decision: “Look, let’s figure out how we can transition you into your career path that you desire, and I will start to take on some of the responsibilities at home.” 

Interestingly, I was listening to a podcast, I think it was Hidden Brain, where they had a researcher on who was trying to explain why women are not promoted as frequently as men. She dove into the psychology of managers, both male and female managers alike. One of the challenges is that because of societal norms, that when a manager looks at a woman with a family, she thinks: “Oh, if I give her this promotion, she’s going to have less time with her family. If I give this man a promotion, who has a family, he’s going to be able to be more supportive of his family.” Because there’s this belief that money and masculinity are married. So I went home and told Hope: “Hey, why don’t you tell your boss that I’ll take care of everything. I’ll do it, whatever is needed. Share the story that you’re ambitious, you want to grow.” She did, and two weeks later, she got a promotion. That led to another promotion. 

Eventually, we were at a crossroads, because in her career space, we really need to live in Atlanta. So I decided to leave teaching, I took on a senior role with a company where I worked remotely, and we moved to Atlanta. One thing led to another, we both had some pretty stressful careers, and we have three kids. And what we did not necessarily need was more money, but we needed more flexibility. Because of the circumstances in our family, I became that flexible person. So now, everything that I had known in our marriage kind of completely flipped. I was happy to do it. I really enjoy seeing my wife crush it in her career. It gives her joy, gives her meaning, and I feel a little bit of a sense of obligation, because she did so much for me. So I basically Googled how to be a great husband, and what came up was just a bunch of ways to cheat on your wife and get away with it.

Wow. When was this, by the way? Helped us with the timeline.

it would have been a few years ago. 

Just a couple? 

Three, I think three or four years ago.

Wow, that’s startling!

So I decided, well, maybe I’ll figure out how to do something about this, as I go through my journey. At the same time, I had a really great position that had 100% flexibility, that was not a big workload, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a visiting scholar. So I’m slowly building up modern husbands with the goal of trying to share ideas that help couples manage money in the home as a team. My comfort zone is really more in the academic space. So we share on our podcast and on our website, ideas that are founded in research. That’s important, we’re not dogmatic. There’s lots of different couples and challenges. We’re diverse. We recognize that some people don’t believe in marriage, but they believe in partnerships. We are certainly folks who support people from the LGBTQ community. But it’s important to stress: here’s what traditionally works, here’s what doesn’t. So one thing led to another, and now we’ve got a pretty significant following, and creating a toolkit to help couples transition to marriage.

Wonderful! Well, I would love to hear more about that in a moment. I want to just understand a little bit more about what you were negotiating. Because it sounds as though in the early stages, your wife Hope, she was pursuing her career, but the pacing of it, given that she was probably mothering early young children and the demands of that. Then at some point, you had this conversation, you really put forth the offer to take more of the load. It sounds like that was a learning curve.

Yeah, so it really came in stages. I think the first stage, when we lived in Ohio, was that I would take on just more of what are traditional masculine roles at home, that are more one-offs and they’re not accompanied with the cognitive load that tasks are often accompanied with that are shouldered by women.

Just to chime in really quickly. For listeners who maybe don’t know that term mental load, would you be willing to just describe briefly what we’re referring to here?

Yeah, sure. So I’ll use an example. So I enjoy to cook. That’s one of the things that we did in this process is figure out like, what is our natural skill set, what do we enjoy to do? So we can start from there, dividing the tasks up. But if you’re going to cook, one of the methods I believe strongly in is a strategy that Eve Rodsky from Fair Play recommends, which is to own the task in its entirety, because of the cognitive load that comes with it. 

So let’s just talk about cooking. When I am deciding what to prepare for the week, I’m not just deciding that I’m going to make X, Y, and Z. I have one child who has nut allergies. I have another child who is a vegetarian. I have three kids who are going three different directions at three different times. My wife goes into the office two to three days a week. And they’re all in different activities, too. So the first thing to figure out is what nights are we eating at home? What nights do I need to have something prepared that people can pick at when they get home? That’ll be at different times. Then I have to think about, well, what do I need to go to the grocery to buy? So I’ve got to allocate time to go to the grocery, I’ve got to make our list. Then after I do all the preparing, I’ve got to figure out, what am I going to do with leftovers? 

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“All of these things are not just mindless tasks, they’re all connecting these different dots of thoughts. In order to do that, you have to devote mental space. And when you are devoting your mental space to do that, you’re not devoting it to other things.”

A big challenge for professionals who have big jobs is that oftentimes, at least I’m guilty of this, you’re oftentimes working when you’re not at work. You have things rolling around in your head that are related to work, but you’re thinking about managing the home then. 

So part of the challenge that couples have to tackle together is figuring out how you can free that mental space. So both of you are able to pursue your careers, or perhaps you’re taking turns. I mean, I’m learning more and more that that is more frequent, where you have two people who are very well-established or they’re very ambitious, and they just literally take turns supporting one another, as they go through the ebbs and flows that are accompanied with trying to work up the corporate ladder or build your business, whatever it may be, in your journey together.

So if I’m understanding you in the taking turns, that could be week by week: it’s your week, or it’s my week. Or it could be depending on phase of what is required, and that it’s more just having each other’s back during times that are really more demanding professionally.

So that’s a great question. Couples do both. So I had Dr. Ashley Williams from Harvard on. She was an advisory board and a podcast guest, and her husband is a physician, and they also have a child. So early on, it was week by week, they would take turns figuring out who needs to do what. Now, they have more of a simple life because they only have one child and it’s a young child, which I think week by week can be more difficult. Other couples, it’s more about phases. So right now, as an example, because I’m not a visiting scholar, because we decided to do this, I do all my work and schedule my time around the family. So I am handling probably 95% of what needs done in the home, to try to be supportive of my wife. I enjoy it, frankly. I feel valued. I think because my wife did it, she is super appreciative of it. I feel a little guilty because I was not as appreciative of her, because I didn’t know all the things that she did.

Absolutely! Well, and what you’re describing that this may not be forever ever, if we’re talking about phases, and when it perhaps can make sense, depending on flexibility, a word that you’ve used a few times. That gives a lot more opportunity and option for the family as a system to negotiate various pursuits. I really appreciate your describing and pausing with me to take a little time to talk about mental load. Because when one doesn’t do the task, it’s really hard, to your point, about appreciating or giving real acknowledgement and credit to what is involved.

I think the other one thing that I know people often reference as an example is the social engagements; maintaining relationships and coordinating schedules to have things to do, or go out for a friend, dinner or whatever have you. That seems like a simple enough thing to schedule something, but it’s actually quite involved when you think about the relationships. When one is heading that up more, they’re the ones that are corresponding a lot more. People who have high careers and whatnot, scheduling is not an easy thing.

Yeah. I have found that maybe, look, I’m a sample size of one and my friend, so I don’t know if this is gender-specific. It’s pretty easy to organize a bunch of guys to get together and do whatever, it’s literally a text. But when you’re organizing couples, at least my wife and then my friends’ wives, they like to get dressed up and do all these things. It is an entirely different animal that takes a lot of time.

Or a trip or a bigger outing.

Oh, I mean, like fundraisers. I was lucky in Cincinnati, where my buddy’s wives were all about doing that. So we would just check in. This is terrible. I was just like, what can I wear, what should I wear, where do I need to be? That kind of thing, and they tackled it all. 

You brought up the fact that when couples are trying to figure out how to manage all of these things, including scheduling social engagements, a privilege I think, and perhaps it’s earned in some respects, of living in a higher-income household is that you can afford to outsource. Like, we outsource anything that’s going on outside, like the lawn, the pool, anything; we have people that clean the house every couple of weeks. These things, they add up. I think that it’s important that when couples sit down and try to figure out how they’re going to tackle chores together, the division of labor together, that they’re not just looking at each other. But they’re also considering services that they can use to reduce their time commitments, their cognitive load their mental load. Because they can afford to do that, and time is a heck of a lot more valuable than money. Even if it’s like, we subscribe to Gobble, which is a meal delivery service, that cuts down on the mental load. Because I like good meals. Well, all the ingredients come with it. That is big, I don’t have to think through every single ingredient: am I missing something from the spice rack or whatever? So for listeners, be sure to consider how you can also outsource tasks. 

Absolutely. I wonder if you would also, for people who are still developing their financial situation or perhaps don’t have the privilege, that there could even be benefit to doing one’s best to automate, so that the mental load is not recreated every time. I remember years and years ago, this probably was like 10 years ago, I can’t remember the name. I can look it up if it’s relevant, if anybody wants to know. But it was basically a whole year that was already planned, like the meal planning, the shopping lists. It was essentially already done for you. It wasn’t like a meal delivery layer where food was being delivered. But it was the cognitive load of planning and having it all strategized. Or if it’s like Taco Tuesday. That there’s something that doesn’t require, or we have something that we can just lean on that we know that works, and systematize it. Do you think there’s value in that? 

Oh, for sure. 

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“The research about habits is clear, that the people who have the best habits are the people who have created systems where the habits are easy, and they’ve made their lives difficult to break their habits.”

So whether it’s managing the home, or in particular, managing money, creating systems to automate good choices and make bad choices difficult is essential. 

Okay. Well, I want to dive in a little bit more here, if we can. So one of the things as we’re talking about division of labor is just to even have the awareness to even start having these conversations could be not the easiest start up because of the perspective that each person is coming from. So what do you recommend to even initiate these conversations, if it feels like there’s disproportionate, like people are doing different amounts and trying to address that? That can be a sensitive topic. 

Yeah. I think the best thing you can do is, in an uninterrupted time, in a space where you’re not going to be distracted, and maybe it’s a date, just to ask your spouse. If I were the husband, I would ask my wife this, I’ve asked her this. When you envision a perfect husband, what do you envision, and then vice versa? What is it that that husband does to support you? It paints a picture for each other of really what they can do to support their spouse. I didn’t think of asking that question to my wife early on, and looking back, that’s probably my biggest regret. Because I think that relationships can be more successful if you simply have a vision of what a successful relationship looks like for you. Then it branches from there. So conversations about money are very different than conversations about the chores, let’s separate money and chores. 

When you’re tackling the household chores, again this is research-based, women oftentimes are challenged with the fact that they grew up with a mother who went to all the PTA meetings, who did all the cooking, who did all the cleaning. Because 40 years ago, 50 years ago, even 20 years ago, most mothers were the ones who had the flexible career; the default was for them to stay home. 

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“As a woman, women often struggle with the fact that they can’t do all of those things, and be a successful attorney or physician or whatever it may be. So they have to redefine what a successful mother and wife looks like, and they need a husband who works with them to do that.”

In 39% of households, women earn the same or more than men. In a world where women are now outpacing men as college graduates, women are ambitious also. So there has to be a mutual approach to supporting one another, and that women need to feel like they’re not less than because they can’t do everything their mom did for them. Because their mom didn’t do what they’re doing in their career, and that there has to be an open and upfront conversation about that. Then, men traditionally will just sit back, and I did this. Women oftentimes, by default, just start doing the chores, and men just kind of sit back and let it happen. A guy everyone once in a while will be like, what can I do to help? I would ask that, and it’s not like it’s a bad thing. It’s a good thing you’re trying to help. But okay, so if I’m in charge of all the food, I don’t want to spend the next 27 minutes telling you the mental load that comes with it and all the things you have to do. It’s literally just easier for me do it myself. So what happens is, women are just like: I got it, or whatever. Or they don’t like how he is doing it, that’s a big issue. 

Vice versa, whatever partner, whatever gender.

Yeah, whatever, right. That’s where men have to take on the role of sitting your wife down and saying: “I want to be a teammate, how can we divide this up?” It’s a much bigger conversation. Again, I’m just going on gender norms here. Women, they have to be willing to accept that they cannot do it all and still be happy. That they have a husband who wants to be supportive and to work with them, but that there are different ways to get things done. Nobody wants to be micromanaged, particularly at home, so you have to let some things go. We went through that, and there was a learning curve. You also have to have an understood expectation of what things being done look like. So what I think is done and clean might be different than what my wife thinks is done and clean. So that’s one kind of conversation. The other is money, and that’s an entirely separate, but I would argue more important conversation to have with your spouse. Because there is much stronger emotions tied with money. I mean, it’s a leading cause of divorce, it’s a leading cause of stress in a marriage. It’s because everybody’s money stories and views in relationships with money are different.

I know we’re not focusing per se on the money conversation. Is there anything you want to say around how to start that? Or is it difficult to even point to?

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“One of the things that all of the academics tell us and all the research says, is that once people actually start talking about money, they realize it’s easier than they thought it would be.”

So the best way to approach your initial money conversations. First of all, the best time is before you’re married. But let’s assume that we’re anywhere on the spectrum. The best way to do it is to have a money day, and to schedule uninterrupted time, distraction-free space, where you can sit down and have a very big-picture conversation about money. We’re not talking about the nitty gritty, budgeting, bill paying, we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about really the role that money plays in our marriage, and how money can play a role in creating more security and happiness in our marriage. That really starts with understanding how is it that we can work together to do that. And what the research says is that it’s important to establish that to be on the same team, and this is for first marriages, it’s going to be our money; not your money, not my money. 

Then as you work through the conversation, both partners need to be empathetic. They need to be active listeners, meaning that they are striving to really understand what their spouse is saying. They need to be cautious, realizing there could be financial trauma in their history. Definitely not accusatory, just looking to understand. Again, initial big-picture conversations, you’re talking about just values, like what is most important to you? If I were to say if there’s one prompt that you should start the conversation with, it would be: “If we won a million dollars, what would we do with it?” Start there, because it’s fun. You’re going to have an enjoyable conversation about how you would allocate that money. And what you’re really listening for are your partner’s values, your partner’s choices; you’re not judging them. But you’re getting a sense of what your partner really wants out of the household and out of money, without being judged. That’s a great place to start the conversation. 

Thank you so much, Brian, for giving some just bigger context of these initial conversations. Because as you’re speaking about the money and the bigger way of how the couple is perhaps coming into a new system and supporting each other, like you’re describing, there’s a lot of background to this. Somebody might have trauma or wounding, and they both have needs where they might feel the priority lies, and the values that you’re speaking to. Maybe one feels I can relax and feel secure if this is happening financially. Or this one feels like I really am onboard with that, as long as I have the freedom and can have experiences and don’t feel constricted. So there’s this way in which if people can have this bigger conversation, and they know how to be allies, and they know how to perhaps be in this empathetic understanding place, so that they can work together to get to win-win. Am I hearing that? 

You got it! 

Okay. Then for the domestic or more of the division of labor, I really liked how you were just inviting this conversation. There’s something that you said, I’m trying to remember what it was, that I wanted to reflect, because I thought it was helpful. I think it is that to begin the conversation and really recognize that we’re coming into this with certain learning, and that we might have to create a new system as well, or even have a little bit of a paradigm shift around where our tendencies or our default mode might lie. I can notice for myself, even if you’re not putting expectation on me to do X, Y, and Z, as a woman, I might feel the inclination to want to give and be nurturing. But then I’m over-giving, and then that doesn’t feel great. Or perhaps you don’t always know, so you feel a little at a loss. So you take a little bit more of a passive or uninvolved approach, and then long-term that doesn’t really help us feel this equity that we’d like to strive for. To your bigger point, if I reflect, it was like, what do we want in relationship? Do we want to have traditional gender norms? Do we want to have roles as far as what those traits look like? Or do we want to have more of this mutual equity? It’s not always equal-equal, but just that that’s the spirit of it. Is that right?

It is. Like you said, it’s not always equal-equal. I heard somebody once say that because of how complicated life is, that the measure of success is easier if you strive for an equal or fair amount of leisure time. 

Can you say more about that? Because that seems really important.

Yeah. So if let’s say that I work and my wife works, which is the case now. But she works 70 hours a week, and I’m working 40 hours a week. I need to make sure that I’m doing a heck of a lot more at home. Because otherwise, there’s no way she’s going to have any leisure time at all. So that means that there is an unequal division of labor at home. I’m going to shoulder more of it, because that’s ultimately what’s fair. Because she has to have some downtime; we all need our own time. I have an advisory board member who’s got a big job, but his wife has a pressure-packed job. She’s an ER physician at NYU. So when she has a bad day, it’s because people died. So when she gets home, he makes sure that the environment is in a way where there’s no stress when she walks through the door. Now he’s going to take a bigger burden of the household tasks in order to do that. But when you’re carrying around the cognitive load of the pressures of a job like that, you need that so you can have your own fair and equal leisure time. So it really depends on what those circumstances are. 

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“If you start to sit down and look at chores as simply a task that you move from A to B, and that you think that that’s what’s going to bring people happiness, that’s not right. That’s not a holistic approach at understanding what is it that makes people truly happy. It goes beyond that.”

Thank you so much. I’m recalling so many conversations where this was an issue, and to not have this clearly named, it’s hard to really get at. When there’s research that supports this in the health of the couple and each individual, this is extremely important. So thank you for acknowledging that. I think as we’re talking too, it seems implied, but I want to just check this out with you, that at any point, when any individual in the relationship is feeling some discontent, that there’s opportunity to renegotiate or relook at things. Is that part of it?

For sure. I think, obviously, when you’ve been married for a long time or together for a long time, you can kind of get that sense. You feel it. But what we have found that works is just regular household business meetings. Obviously, early on in the marriage, you’re going to need more of them. Then as you are married longer, you’re going to get into a rhythm and start to understand each other well enough just to pick up on little emotional cues. But if you just meet weekly to discuss both the personal finances and what needs to happen. Some couples do it every morning. Some couples will, for 10 or 20 minutes, take a walk, and discuss who needs to go where. “Our kids need to go to A, B, and C. How are we going to do this today?” Having those regular conversations makes it a natural shift into taking more or less on, because you’re just simply responding to the needs of your circumstances at that time.

And the emotional response to your person. There’s a little bit more visibility to see what they’re up against or what they need, and the inclination to want to support and want to help. 

Well, there was a Pew Research study that found that. The headlines were about money. Basically, the breakdown was that about 80% of women who did not have a college degree, felt that for a husband to be a good husband, he needed to be financially capable of supporting the household. So he didn’t have to be the breadwinner, he had to be capable. 62% of college educated women said the same thing. But 92% said that for a husband to be a great husband, that they just simply needed to feel supported and cared for and heard.

That’s a high percentage.

Can you believe that 92% of the people actually agreed on something? So yeah, that’ll give you an indication of how important these meetings are, to your point. That by just simply having the meetings, having these conversations, being an active listener, being empathetic, you’re giving your partner the support that 92% of women believe is what is going to show what a great husband is.

Yes, thank you. I’m just feeling so much gratitude to you that you have such a wealth of information and research to pull from, and that you’ve really thought through a lot of these things. It’s almost as if one could consult with you and get support around how to clean up some of these systems that maybe we’re not even aware that we’re perpetuating difficulty unnecessarily. 

Most of what we provide is free. We have a podcast that we host weekly, that’s the Modern Husbands Podcast. Our website ModernHusbands.com has loads of free resources. We send out a newsletter every two weeks. We don’t want to spam people; we know that people are busy enough. That has just these bite-sized ideas on how to stay on top of what the needs are in your marriage. And what we are doing is we’re building out a toolkit for couples who are transitioning to marriage, to try to expose them to all of these ideas before they begin their marriage. Because research has found that the first six months of a marriage is really when the habits are formed, and those are very difficult to break. So I’m really fortunate to have over 30 now, the nation’s leading experts in managing money in a marriage, and then also the division of labor, to be able to speak to specific issues that are particular pain points early on, just so couples can start their marriages the right way. 

Yay! Well, I will make sure to have that link on today’s show notes. I’m imagining for listeners that perhaps want to fine-tune or perhaps even just do a little bit assessment, it’s possible that one could even get that toolkit to do a little bit of checks and balances. Like, are we on point here, or is this an area that we could clean up or get a little bit more dialed in? 

Absolutely, it would be an excellent resource for couples who are perhaps just struggling with any of these things, these tension points in managing a home or managing money together.

Nice, wonderful! And what else might people find on the website?

So if you subscribe to our newsletter, we have a couple of free courses, one on saving and one on budgeting, that you have access to. Then when you subscribe, also as a part of the courses, you get these money day cards, which are just a series of conversation prompts that you can have with your spouse about money, to make the conversations go smoother. 

Wonderful! Is there anything else that you want to share that we haven’t covered in today’s conversation here?

Yeah. 

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“I think just the importance of understanding in relationship to money, that there can be some very deep-seated beliefs or trauma that are guiding the financial decisions that your spouse is making.”

 That conversations about understanding those decisions, if they’re contrary to what you think is best, need to be handled delicately, be empathetic, and just seek to understand. So you can determine how you can work through them to get on the same page. If it’s not something that you feel like you can do alone, you can hire somebody. So I have multiple members of the Financial Therapy Association on our board. These are experts in money; many of them are certified financial planners who also have expertise in relationships, many of them are academics as well and in marriage. The two tied together as a special expertise, that sometimes requires just a little bit more, and that it’s okay to seek that type of therapy if money is that big of a problem in your relationship. If you feel like that this is something that really could lead to divorce, I would work toward getting that intervention.

Yes. Because if a couple is really running into this conflict or these really difficult patterns, it can be easy to take things personal. Like, why are they taking into account our conversation, or why do they keep doing what they’re doing? And what you’re really suggesting is to have some real sensitivity, perhaps a real curious outlook, to seek to understand that there may be more going on that is getting in the way of someone showing up in the way they want to or intend to.

You got it!

I remember interviewing years ago, years and years ago, someone who both had the financial certification, and also the therapy as it relates to financial, both certification. I was like, wow, that sounds like a really powerful blend, and not everybody has that! So it sounds like you have a really great reference or directory for people to access as well. 

Well, wonderful. I’ll put the link to your podcast, Modern Husband?

Modern Husband Podcast, yeah.

The Modern Husband Podcast, as well as the link to the website, the toolkit, and anything else that you want to offer to, I’ll put that on there.

Thank you. I really appreciate you and the conversation today.

Signing Off

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Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching