Paying off debt is a tremendous stress-reliever for your marriage.
Tips like these helped us pay off $127K in debt. You can read our story in Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
Paying off debt isn’t for wimps. It’s especially not for wimps who are married. Communication is key when it comes to paying off debt AND remaining married at the end of the journey.
Here are 7 Things to Say to Your Spouse When Paying Off Debt.
It’s Going to Be OK.
Being in and getting out of debt is scary! Some of us flip out and fear the worst—that we would lose our homes, our health, our marriages and more. You need to reassure your spouse that it will be OK. No matter what obstacles you face, or how bruised and bumped your heart might feel, there is always hope. Help your spouse avoid freak-out mode by whispering these five simple words.
I Love You.
Travel back in time (use the Scooby Doo sound effects if you need to). Remember walking down the aisle? How your heart was aflutter with such strong emotions? Remember saying “I do”? Paying off debt requires you return to that place of overwhelming love and adoration. It’s easiest to blame the people we are closest to for all of our problems. It’s difficult to say “I love you” when they may have actually contributed to those problems. We all own part of our financial predicaments. Don’t shut down your heart. Remember that you chose your spouse and he or she chose you. Return to your vows. Say “I love you” frequently and sincerely. After all, you want to remain married after your debt slaying journey is over.
You Matter More.
It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of paying off debt and lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. This temptation is the greatest within a marital relationship. Pause and take time to acknowledge to your spouse that they matter more than paying off debt. While becoming financially sound is a noble pursuit, you still want to be married at the end of the journey. People are always more important than things. People—especially husbands and wives—take priority.
How Are You?
It will be important to check in on the emotional status of your significant other during the process of paying off debt. Great endeavors are grueling emotionally. While we were paying off $127K, I swung wide pendulums of emotions (I had ALL the feelings!). Check in on your spouse and ask this simple question. You may have no idea what their current status is.
Appreciating what your spouse is contributing to the debt slaying journey is important. Maybe he is working long hours. Maybe she is spending more time with the kids all by herself because of those long hours. Maybe she is cutting costs in every area of the budget. Maybe he is sacrificing his recreational time for the pursuit of paying off debt. Both spouses make sacrifices while paying off debt by working more and spending less. Be sure you pause and thank your spouse for their dedication to the goal and their efforts of hard work and sacrifice.
What Can I Do to Help?
I’ve often heard Andy Stanley quip that this is the most powerful question in the universe. I would argue it is the one question that could save your marriage. Asking “What can I do to help?” gives your spouse room to breathe and demonstrates that you are willing to leverage your gifts and abilities to further their personal pursuits.
Let’s Dream Big.
Many times I’ve mentioned that my husband captivated my heart by asking the question, “What would we do with our money if we weren’t sinking so much of it into payments, interest and debt?” This question and the process of dreaming big allowed me to envision a future for our family, community and world where we could do fun things, be generous and make a difference. Where would you go? How would your children’s future look different? How could you transform your community or even the world? This vital statement will give you momentum when your hearts are feeling low.
What would you add? What words need spoken between spouses during the process of paying off debt?
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. Great news! It is now on sale for just $2.99 on Kindle.
This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal or maybe even something for free, you also help our family pay off our mortgage early. And for that, we royally thank you!