We’ve heard it before. What makes a marriage last is the continuous effort made by two individuals, every single day. There’s no other way! Which is why the ever so touchy subject of finances also requires two people and above all, openness and collaboration.
Financial obstacles are real. If not handled appropriately, the impact can make or break the newest of relationships and the healthiest of all marriages. I believe we have mentioned before that even the simple act of bringing up a partner’s credit score can trigger unwanted and rather unnecessary conflict.
First, it’s important to note where the majority of financial obstacles come from. More often than not, the two individuals facing financial turmoil have two distinctly different ideas about money, how it works, and how to use it. These beliefs can stem from financial environments in childhood but also habits formed in early adulthood, whether good or bad.
One individual may believe in heavy savings, investing, and maybe even “couponing.” The other individual might have strong impulses to purchase without thought but might also not have experience with budgeting. This combination yields a relationship where one partner is trying to save their money while the other is living paycheck to paycheck. Without making the effort to collaborate with one another, this is an all too common financial conflict in the making.
Your personal beliefs about money need to be shared in a healthy relationship. It’s possible that neither one of you is necessarily wrong. Being able to approach the subject of finances in a mature manner with openness and honesty is financial intimacy.
There’s no doubt that finances have destroyed millions of otherwise healthy relationships. And we might not be at fault. Perhaps we weren’t taught how to handle finances, how to talk about money, or didn’t have the capabilities to receive help before it was too late. There could be a multitude of reasons to blame. However, we do have a responsibility to fulfill for ourselves and as adults. We must conquer financial intimacy with ourselves and within our relationships.
Financial Intimacy | Make it work for you with THREE rules
Find a way to make your two financial belief systems work for the greater benefit of your relationship and your future.
If neither belief system is conducive to what you want and need as a couple, toss both and come up with a new belief system together.
You must always consider the financial well-being that is required to surpass the needs of your specific household.
Financial Intimacy | Finding the fun in finances
Within a marriage, financial intimacy is about effectively coming to an agreement due to two-way honesty, collaboration, and the mutual effort to communicate with respect and without conflict. If handled correctly, finances can be such a motivating topic for couples. Whether you want to become debt-free in five years, find financial freedom together, or retire at age 40 to travel the world; find the fun in finances if you need a place to start.
Do this by having an “average” conversation about money. Lighthearted. You can even make it a little flirty. Talk about your dreams and ideas. Plans that you want to make with each other. Places you want to go. If you could spend extravagantly, what would you purchase?
Within this conversation alone, you’ll learn how each of you make financial plans, if any, to achieve these goals. This gives you an immediate premise to find something you both want to strive for, and collaborate to make a plan accordingly. Together.
Remember. You can blend your two belief systems about money or kick them both to the curb and start anew.
Financial Intimacy | No pride, just honesty.
From here, you might realize the work that needs to be done first. Review the series of questions below as a means for personal reflection and if needed, healthy and thought-provoking discussion with your partner. Ultimately, you want to compare what you want and need with what you have. Put your pride aside and answer/discuss honestly.
How much debt do you have? Who do you owe and how much?
Are you currently allocating expenses appropriately across the two of you?
If your goal is to buy a bigger house, what is your credit score?
What’s in your wallet right now? Savings, investments, cash, etc.
Do you understand how to pay your rent or mortgage on your own?
Do you understand your household finances? Who needs to be paid and when?
With this information, create a shared vision for your financial future together. Value your relationship by putting work into financial intimacy. Don’t play the blame game and create unnecessary conflict. With consistency, openness, honesty and collaboration, your financial possibilities as a couple are endless and stressless.
Need more help? Seek financial assistance or therapy together. Lay all the cards out on the table with honesty and get some assistance in communicating with each other about where to go next. It will be worth it.