I recently saw a survey that reported that nearly half of people in a relationship say they argue about money. I was surprised it was not even higher. And money stress is often a major factor in why couples split up.
What’s so crazy is that money is such a great opportunity for you and your honey to draw closer. Yep, you heard me right! Talking, strategizing and sharing your money fears and dreams can improve a relationship.
Once you both commit to learning how to have those conversations, you will be amazed how the stress can just melt away. Even better, working together, not against each other, is sure to deepen your respect and love.
That said, I realize right now many of you may be locked in a less-than-nurturing money dynamic with your partner. Here’s how to shift the energy and become money partners:
1. No Blame, No Shame. I don’t care if one of you did in fact run up a big credit card bill, without letting the other one know. That’s in the past. My challenge is all about the future: Can you both agree to put all your issues on the table and deal with them with love and respect, not incrimination? If you are the one who may have screwed up, can you meet your partner half way by acknowledging you will no longer be untruthful. If you’re the partner who got the nasty surprise, can you come in half way too, and forgive? Deep breaths. Calm conversation. You can do it.
2. Share Your Two Biggest Dreams and Your Two Biggest Fears. One of the problems is that we don’t easily talk about money. Quite often I have worked with couples who end up surprised when I get them to start talking-calmly-about what works and doesn’t for them. There is often an audible silence as one partner realizes they had no clue what was so important to their partner. And when this conversation can happen in a calm and loving environment-do you notice a theme-you are able to tap into the connection that brought you together in the first place. A connection that will help you both be empathetic and supportive as you begin to work together on your money challenges.
3. No one is Solely Responsible for the Monthly Budget. What I often see is that one partner is in charge of the monthly bill paying, and shopping etc. Then when there isn’t enough money to cover all the bills, or enough money to cover the bills and also tuck some money away for savings goals. And the partner in charge of the budget/bills gets all the blame. C’mon. That’s crazy. The simple fix: From this day forward you agree you both have equal responsibility for your family’s monthly spending. Doesn’t matter who makes what. You are a family. And handling the money must be a shared family responsibility.