Thriving In Love & Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights About Your Relationships, Your Money, And Yourself, by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhan
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I am not completely unfamiliar with the authors , who have written a set of books geared towards helping men and women understand each other, helpfully called For Men Only and For Women Only. When I chose this book to read, I did not realize that it was being aimed at married couples as a way of encouraging them to reflect upon the different ways that men and women think about money and how that relates to overall struggles in communicating what is most important to them. Even if this book is not immediately relevant in an obvious way to me as a way of better understanding a spouse, it certainly is useful in helping me to understand my own approach to money and its origins. Like many people, I have attitudes towards money that relate to being a man (which carries with it certain expectations) and also some that relate to my own background, and plenty that relate to my own priorities. I think the book does a good job at not being hostile to its readers about these matters, which are admittedly rather contentious.
This book is about 250 pages long and is divided into 8 chapters with various statistical appendices about methodology and a first look at what prevents money tensions that are not included in this particularly hardcover version but are posted online. The book begins with a discussion of the awkward fact that arguments and tension about money are not really about the money itself but about more fundamental expectations and priorities about life in general (1). After that the authors talk about the daily problem of dealing with money issues and a simple solution about listening well and being honest about one’s thought process (2). The author talks about the way that people think of their own wants as reasonable without viewing others’ wants as equally reasonable (3) and the struggles that happen when people seek to make themselves more secure in ways that make others less secure (4). The author discusses the tensions in seeking independence (5) as well as the ways that different manners in thinking and listening create conflicts frequently between spouses (6). The author then looks at the negative aspects of our knee-jerk reactions (7) as well as the return that comes from investing in mutual understanding (8), after which come acknowledgements and a love and money conversation model, as well as an index.
In reading this book I was struck in particular by the way that the authors sought to frame a discussion about gender in the awareness that gender was considered a problematic thing to base things on in the contemporary period. Even ten years ago, this book would have been written a bit differently because certain things would have been assumed that cannot be assumed now, and the way that the authors use statistics and other evidence as a way of showing general patterns (while also commenting on the exceptions within those patterns) is a very thoughtful one. Given that awkwardness and tension about money is a nearly universal issue that many people have to face, it is good to know that there are people who want to help make the conversations about these matters work out easier by addressing the deeper matters that go beneath the specific opinions about money and do so in a way that tend to alleviate conflicts and increase interpersonal respect, something that is all too rare when one is engaged in a tense discussion about money and tends to feel as if one is not doing a particularly good job at handling such matters.
 See, for example: