If you’ve been following us recently, you know we have our new book The 2% Rule To Get Debt Free Fast coming out in just a matter of days. Maybe the idea that another perspective on paying off your debt is intriguing. But there might be something else that’s bothering you – a deeper question that you wish you knew the answer to: How do I get my spouse on board?
We know this turmoil a bit too well. Or at least, Cassie does because I was that spouse, that husband, that didn’t want to get on board at different times when she wanted to address our debt.
There are honestly so many marriages that experience this same exact problem. But what we’ve found is that often one of the root causes of the struggle is in the nature of the fix itself. Let’s describe what we mean and how we believe the plan we present actually solves each problem. And while I am going to address this as if the husband is the hesitant partner, we all know it could be the other way around as well. Only you know how this article will best fit your family.
The Problem: The Source of the Pain Other Plans Cause
We’ve all been around the block a time or two before and know that most other “get out of debt” plans are painful and are similar in nature to the crash-diet approaches people use to lose weight. But these plans can cause an already hesitant spouse to shut down before you even get started. Let’s review just a couple of the problems these plans can cause in a marriage:
- The fear of sacrificing everything – Quite honestly, the biggest fear that generally comes across the mind of the hesitant spouse is the idea that he will need to give up so much to put the plan in effect. We all know that many of the popular plans encourage you to develop the ideal budget – that budget that will decrease your spending by at least 60-70%, force you to eat rice and beans for every meal, and drastically change your lifestyle towards a nearly painful existence. Just try to force that on anyone and see how long before they balk at the thought of the perceived suffering that is to come.
- Not trusting that you will take his desires seriously – Along with the thought that life is going to change for the worse is the thought that anything he values or desires will be discarded as worthless because they won’t fit the new financial goals for the family. In his mind, he had already planned a certain outing, or to buy a new toy for his hobby. As soon as the “get out of debt” subject is broached, all those plans will go by the wayside.
Do you see how the expected and normal crash-diet approach will often leave one spouse hesitant (at best) while the other is ready to get started? Do you even see how a spouse burned by these approaches in the past that didn’t provide the success they promised could even be more hesitant now? Let’s discuss how The 2% Rule is different and can help identify and solve some of these problems.
The Solution: This Plan is Different and Alleviates That Pain
After Cassie and I tried those other crash-diet approaches those first three years of paying off our debt (resulting in paying off only $15K in just 3.5 years), we knew we had to do something different. And it was that different plan that helped us find success.
What The 2% Rule Is: You can read more about the plan here, but in the end it’s a method to implement gradual change each month to achieve your goals. What’s crazy is that gradual change results in fast and sustainable change that becomes your new way of life!
This total mindshift is a totally different concept towards attacking and paying off your debt. But not only does it help you find more success in paying off your debt, it can help assure your spouse that this proven plan can result in less sacrifice and less fear of the unknown.
- Sacrifice is gradual and liveable – When we first tried those “other plans”, we knew that eating out was no longer on the table. We knew that our date nights were cast to the wayside. And we might as well forget any extras because we were going to scrimp by on pennies. When you realize the first month of The 2% Rule is to cut your budget by that 2%, all the sudden the fear of sacrificing everything goes away. Often, many families still eat out while finding that small monthly cut in a different area of their budget. When your spouse hears of this change in mindset, those fears of sacrifice and the fighting that often comes with it, often dwindle away.
- You take each others value very seriously – One of the things we encourage spouses to do at the first of the process is to fill out a Spouse Questionnaire in the book to allow each of you a voice on what matters to you both. Sure, some spouses aren’t keen on such a serious process, but affirming that it’s through this process that you will both be able to understand each other’s goals and values through this process will help diminish many of those hesitations that other plans can cause.
- The plan is flexible and works how you determine it will work – One of the tools we encourage spouses to implement is to set a spending threshold, that is an amount that you will not spend above without consulting your spouse. At first this can sound a bit intimidating (we explain in depth what we mean in the book), but I use this as an example that even this is flexible and determined by you both. There are no rules that constrain you to implement it exactly as we say it and each piece of advice is left for you and your spouse to decide how you will make it work. This gives you both a bit more confidence that this plan can be adapted to you and your family.
- Communication is key – Throughout the process, the goal is to establish open and transparent communication between not only you and your spouse, but within your whole family. While this can come off as scary at first, knowing that each of you are able to admit your struggles and even confess when you mess up, that can help give you a better sense of acceptance of everyone and help you cheer each other along throughout the process. Instead of one spouse being the boss (as often happens in most “get out of debt” processes), both spouses feel like they are contributing and working together as team – a truly awesome way for marriage to work.
We hope you see that sharing with your spouse how this plan – a gradual, yet effective way to pay off your debt – can help set aside some of those reactions you’ve experienced in the past.
With that, we wanted to share a couple of tips to help you through this process:
- Share this article with your spouse – We encourage you to share this article with your spouse and even share other articles with your spouse (like this one that should help him understand this is a unique plan). We hope that what we’ve shared already will help assuage any hesitant and negative emotions towards your desire to walk together towards debt freedom.
- Read our book together – It’s near impossible to get one spouse on board when he doesn’t understand the goals and actual steps to implement a plan. We would encourage you to share the book, The 2% Rule To Get Debt Free Fast, with him so he understands how this plan is so different from others that elicit those unwelcome emotions.
- Brainstorm a sample “first 2% budget cut” for the month and share it with your spouse – This may seem silly, but helping your spouse know that your lives are not going to go into a tumult because of “yet another get out of debt plan” just might help him understand your dedication and better yet the gradual approach this plan provides.
We hope this helps you understand a bit more where we are coming from and how we envision this plan can help other families. We know ourselves that this type of approach helps you both practically work towards your financial goals while giving you the tools to successfully reach them!
As we always share, we are here to help answer your questions and work with you.
Plus, don’t forget that for just a limited time (this ends October 23rd!) you can get a FREE copy of our 50+ page workbook when you preorder our book (don’t miss the details of how to claim your FREE workbook here!).
Having your spouse on board is 100 percent required. If you don’t have their support you’ll never succeed because you won’t be working toward the same goals. We struggled for awhile until we realized we had to be completely on the same page so we can really focus our efforts on our goals.
Yes, it is so true. A spouse will make or break the effort. That is why it is super important to take the time to take the necessary steps in communication and understanding to get through that barrier! Thank you for your thoughts.