Talk to any relationship expert and they’ll tell you—money is one of the most hot-button topics for couples, whether you’ve been together two years or 20, and whether you’re arguing about the cost of school tuition, an approach to paying off debt or simply a post-pandemic shopping spree. (Oops.)
But instead of pointing fingers or losing your cool, there’s a deescalating phrase you can utter in the heat of the moment, according to Catherine Richardson, a couples counselor at mobile therapy platform Talkspace.
It’s just five words: Help me understand this cost.
“We are often so intent on having our values or opinions heard that we lose the ability to listen,” Richardson explains. “A phrase like this helps you slow down and get a better grasp and gain perspective on what your partner is trying to say.”