Heart to Heart

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1. Create a ritual around money conversations. Sit where you can see each other's eyes, light a candle, and ask each other questions such as: What's the most powerful belief you have about money? How do you expect your financial future to differ from your past? What steps are you taking to create that future? How do you see me in relationship to money?

2. Get honest. Sit down together with your financial paperwork—tax returns and pay stubs and credit card, bank, and investment statements. Avoid anxiety-provoking questions. For example, "Where'd you spend all your money?" sounds accusatory. "How much do you think you spent last year and in what areas?" sounds kinder. Schedule a future meeting to delve further.

3. Examine how connected you want your financial lives to be. If you merge finances, set boundaries and decide how you'll make spending decisions. Know that keeping your money separate won't prevent financial challenges. Make heart-to-hearts an integral part of your ongoing communication. You'll strengthen your relationship with money and each other.