When it comes to relationships, money matters. Whether it represents power, stability, or even independence and acceptance, money plays in important role for you and your partner. Often, it can serve as a key contributor to the demise of many relationships.
In the case of most relationships, money can represent different things for you and your partner. At times this can lead to pain points in your relationship. Some find that they value money more than their partner and vice versa. Often, how someone feels about money stems from how they were raised. We’re you raised in a financially secure household? For me, being raised by a single mother, I was taught to value money for the independence it can provide you.
Not only is it important to understand your beliefs, values, and expectations surrounding money in your relationship, it is also important to know where your partner stands on this subject. For example, if you find money holds little value to you in comparison to other aspects of life but your partner feels as though money is incredibly important for security, it will likely lead to conflict.
Having a candid conversation about money on an ongoing basis can be incredibly preventative and ward off disagreements on matters of money for the future.
Take my own relationship for example. My husband recently came to me and shared that he is interested in starting a side business in addition to his full-time job. Knowing my husband and past conversations we have had regarding money, I understand that for him, money represents security and therefore alleviates anxiety. For me, I hold high values surrounding quality time with family. Having two little ones at home, I held many reservations surrounding the idea of my husband taking more time away from our family to focus on a side business. You can see that in this example, there is a slight conflict in values.
So, what do you do one that conflict arises? Well, for me, I knew that I needed to respect my husband’s values, and, in the end understood that we are both working towards the same goals and are on the same team. However, I also needed to assert my own values regarding the importance of quality time as a family. My partner and I eventually agreed on dedicating a day each week that is specifically focused on family, allowing flexibility (apart from that day) towards advancing his side business.
Although we are far from perfect in navigating issues of money and constantly strive towards keeping the conversation going in a productive way, there are a few things that we did do well:
We reminded one another that we are both on the same team. We are working towards the same goals and we are both invested in the outcome of advancing our careers as well as spending time with the family. No matter what value was emphasized, both of us benefit.
Also, we both asserted our values. My husband reminded me why taking on the role of advancing his side business is important to him. For me, I shared with him my reservations, not wanting him to lose time with me and our children. Both of us were then able to empathize with one another. Ideally, we want both ourselves as well as our partners to be happy in order for the relationship to operate effectively. We both had a vested interest in making sure that both values were respected and acknowledged in an intentional way.
Although this is just one example, there are several ways that money can impact a relationship.
Do you and your partner hold similar values surrounding money?
If those values differ, how do you reach a place of compromise and respect one another’s values.
Do either you or your partner need to work at developing a healthier relationship with money?
Finally, are both you and your partner transparent, honest, and forthcoming involving matters of money?