When my mom was growing up, they lived in a small town and no one in her family owned a car. In my dad's family, only his father owned a car (and only because he was a traveling salesman). Today, it’s not uncommon to see two or even three or four cars parked in a single family's driveway. As well, many newly married couples come into the marriage with their own vehicles in tow…but once the kiddos arrive, it’s often time for some tough compromises on who drives what.

This post will give you some insights for how to successfully navigate that compromise when the time comes.

Dave Ramsey on couples, cars and compromise 

At first, I was surprised to find a quote from Dave Ramsey during my searches on "couples and compromise." But it totally makes sense—after all, finances are often the number one conflict couples endure, and Ramsey's expertise is in finance!

The quote by Ramsey that I love is: "Lose the battle to win the war."

Here, the "battle" is getting your 100% way in whatever issue you’re currently fighting your way through…and the "war" is emerging from each conflict with your strong, healthy relationship intact. Love it! This is a great way to approach compromises on a family car and other issues.

3 Keys to winning the war (and a bit of the battle too)

Let's face it—as a couple, both partners need to "win" in at least some areas much of the time in order for each of you to feel heard, valued, and supported in the relationship.

There are three keys to making this happen:

  • Finding the points where you both agree first.
  • Allowing each partner to "win" in certain priority areas.
  • Agreeing to compromise on the rest.

Example: You have baby #1 on the way, and it’s time for a family-friendly car. You currently drive an older four-door sedan with good safety ratings, and your spouse currently drives a flashy two-seater sports car.

1. Points where you agree

Starting the conversation here means you start out on a positive foot where both of you "win."

  • You both agree the two-seater must go since three people can't fit into it no matter what.
  • You both agree the safety ratings for your new family car must be stellar.
  • You both agree that you want a car with high fuel efficiency and low emissions.

2. Areas where you each are allowed to "win"

Here, each of you gets to "win" in a few areas—including both "needs" and "wants" in the discussion.

  • You really want a sunroof and dual-side air bags.
  • Your partner really wants Bluetooth and surround-sound stereo.

3. Finding a workable compromise on the rest of what is still on the table.

Whether you do it by drawing straws, balancing your budget, shopping the market to see what’s available, or opting for a pre-owned earlier model rather than the "latest thing," at the end of the day, what you’re striving for is a mutually agreeable compromise.

Note: This is also why it’s so important not to choose your personal "wins" from step #2 lightly!

The outcome: a new family-friendly car! 

If you follow this three-step process, Dave Ramsey vouches for the potential for success.

But if for any reason you find you and your partner are struggling to have this conversation, don’t worry—expert help is available!

Extra helps from Dave Ramsey (just in case you need them):


Car Buying 101: The Best Time to Buy a New or Used Car
Car Buying 101: Choosing the Right Car for Your Family




Car Buying 101: Compromising on a Car as a Couple