THe Debt Myth

Having Trouble Getting Your Spouse on Board? Start with Why

You’re sick and tired of being in debt, and you’re not going to take it any longer. In fact, you’re all fired up about getting out of debt.

There’s just one problem: your spouse isn’t on board. They may pay lip service, but they’re not following that up with action. Or worse, maybe they’re actually making things worse by going out and buying things on credit.

Start with why

If you’re having trouble getting your spouse on board, remember to start with why.

As Simon Sinek puts it in his book Start with Why, Martin Luther King Jr. “gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have a Plan’ speech.”. And in doing so, he inspired.

It’s inspiration that leads to action, and action leads to changes.

Share your dream

You’re not getting out of debt for no reason, so share your vision of a debt free future. What will things be like? What will you be able to do then that you can’t now? What would your spouse be able to do that would get them excited?

Clearly articulate that instead of whipping out a spreadsheet and a proposed bare-bones budget. Inspire and sell the dream.

Add time and enthusiasm

You’ve also got to give your spouse time. After all, you didn’t decide to change overnight. Your thoughts percolated, you struggled, you researched solutions, you saw possibilities, and then you got excited.

Give your spouse time to do the same. I talked about how great it would be to have a paid-for house for what felt like a long time before my husband came on board with that idea. Even then, there were things he wanted to do first before working on paying off our mortgage.

But I kept talking about my vision, and gave him time. After all, his ideas matter just as much as mine. Now, sometimes he is the one talking to me about how great things will be when we’re completely debt free.

So start with why. Inspire, and then act — while coming back regularly to your inspiration for shots of motivation.