Working with couples who sometimes find it difficult to come to a financial consensus is common in my practice! If you have struggled with this in the past, you are not alone.
What I have found to help couples is to first, refer them to a financial advisor, as I cannot provide financial advice. Second, we discuss what money means to both partners, how they came up with these money beliefs, and what money translates into in their relationship.
Taking the time to explore what your money beliefs are and where they originated from will help you when it comes time to verbalize your beliefs to your partner. For example, a partner who grew up with parents who never had enough to pay all the bills or for food, is going to have a completely different perception of money and how to spend money compared to a partner who grew up with a weekly allowance and quarterly family vacations.
Once you are able to identify where your money beliefs originated from, you will be able to identify what money means for you when it comes to a sense of security, stability, and living. Perhaps saving money every month makes you feel secure and comfortable to spend extra money during your vacation. Perhaps, you are fearful of only saving and need to live in the moment, which means there is no reason to save.
So why should you share these beliefs with your partner?
The main reason for this is because when your partner goes against these rules that we have set up for ourselves, that is when the money arguments commence. The beliefs that you have set-up, are there as a way to protect yourself, but when that is challenged, you may tend to tell yourself that your partner does not care about you, does not love you, or does not understand you.
Actions and beliefs:
For example, if you see your partner sticking to a budget you two have set together, and your partner follows through with saving $500 this month, you may tell yourself that your partner cares about you and your future together.
Now if you have discussed saving money already and your partner spends the $500 on some shoes and a nice a purse, you may tell yourself that your partner does not care about you and is not serious about your future together.
The only way to know about the underlying belief is to talk about it and share this with your partner! Remember no one is a mind reader and giving a cold shoulder does not translate to truth. For example, you can say something along the lines of “saving money means that we will be secure in our future and I get nervous whenever we overspend. I would be okay with spending money, after we have put away $500 into our savings.”
So the argument is not always about the dollar amount, it’s about the meaning that this dollar amount has on your relationship and the rule you have set up for yourself. I challenge you to dig deeper to understand your own money rules and your partner’s money rules.
Once you two have been able to identify what these individual money rules are, you can then create a couple identity around money and what money rules your relationship should have to feel secure and stable.
If you have found that money has been an issue in your relationship, I highly encourage you to reach out and speak with a financial advisor or representative as they will be able to guide you in the best direction of goals you both have for your relationship. It is never too early to get a hold of your finances. If you would like more information on this topic, there will be an upcoming couples workshop that will be focused on increasing your communication skills and you will have access to a financial representative who will be guiding couples on how to financially get on the same page together. Be sure to reserve your seat before they are filled!
I specialize in working with couples and individuals to restore their relationships by utilizing research-based therapy techniques. Feel free to look at the online services offered through Modern Wellness Counseling and check out the client portal to conveniently schedule your next appointment.