Money can be a hot-button topic for couples and the subject is the root of a lot of fights in relationships. No matter how long you’ve been together, chances are, at some point you’ll end up bickering about the cost of school tuition, how much you spent on your latest Target run, or someone’s “frivolous” spending. But counselor Catherine Richards has figured out a way to avoid most of those arguments and it all comes down to five simple words.
According to this relationship expert, saying this phrase during the heat of the moment can defuse a fight in a flash. So what are these magic, deescalating words? “Help me understand this cost.” She explains that we often lose our ability to listen because we’re so intent on having our values heard, but this phrase helps us slow down and get a better perspective on what your partner is trying to say.
So, if you’re outraged that your partner is splurging on $6 coffees every day, listening to them explain that this treat really brightens their day may help you feel better about it. Once we know why our partners make the money decision, Richards says we can then calmly discuss if it works with our budget or not. Coming up with a plan together can promote connection for a couple and feeling like a team doing something together is always good for the bottom line.