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One of the hardest adjustments newlywed couples face is combining finances. While you may know your brand-new husband like the back of your hand, this is most likely the first time the two of you will fully share your bank accounts and bills. Making that transition can be tricky, especially if you don't know his financial philosophies, or if you don't see eye to eye with his spending habits. When talking about money, it's often about how you say it as much as what you say. We consulted psychotherapist Tina Tessina, Ph.D, and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage for her top money talk tips. Consider these three golden rules of communication:
1. Use (positive) manipulation.
When suggesting an idea, lead with what your spouse might like about it, suggests Tessina. Take, for example: "Honey, you know that new car you want? We could take some equity out on the house to renovate the kitchen and get that new truck, and the interest would be cheaper than a car loan."
2. Count to three.
Did your beloved just confess to spending half of the weekly grocery budget on a case of craft beer? Take a deep breath and address the issue as you would at the office: Instead of saying the first thing that comes to mind, think of a comment that sparks a discussion—not an argument. For example, you might respond, "What was your reasoning?" instead of, "That's so irresponsible!"
3. Forget who's right or wrong.
Rather than arguing over who gets the last word, focus on finding a solution. "Each partner's point of view can be valid, and you can learn from the other," says Tessina.