Talking money can be a hot topic in families. By hot, I mean volatile. It is a subject that can create tension and unease if not handled correctly. Most people not only don't how to manage money correctly, but further, are not educated on how to communicate effectively about their money concerns to their family and loved ones. If we are able to educate ourselves and our family on money matters, we will start to notice less unnecessary debt, healthier family dynamics and wiser spending decisions.
Ignorance on personal money matters is a dangerous game to play, so it is crucial that at the very least a basic understanding of the game of money is learned. A great starting point is to learn how to openly communicate your financial issues with your partner in a way that creates less conflict and more awareness & understanding between each of you.
We all come into a relationship with our own money baggage, which usually is so attached to us that we don't even notice how much our baggage influences our everyday thinking and decision making. We like things done (or not done) in a certain way, so anything that contradicts that way will be scrutinized and judged.
With that being said, once you engage in a long-term relationship you will eventually experience moments when you question why your partner thinks, acts or behaves the way they do. Over time these kind of things can start to rub you up the wrong way because its not how you do things and if you don't know how to 1) identify yours and your partners money characteristics and 2) speak diplomatically about what disturbs you then you are heading for a tough time of fighting, resentment, anger and distrust.
Set Up A Money Meeting
A loving relationship requires absolute support and trust of each other. In order to support and trust, you must first come to a point of understanding. A great metaphor would be to walk in your partners shoes.
In a calm way, inform your partner that you would like to set up a meeting at a convenient time to discuss some money issues that are bothering you. Do not attack your partner or speak in a harsh manner. This will immediately put up their defenses. You are team, remember that!
It is important to remember that You Are Not Perfect! You too have faults. Some of which you may not even realize that you have. This understanding of yourself will greatly assist you to have compassion and empathy for your partner and what they will tell you during your money meeting.
Ask them lovingly about their money story and they will be happy to share because we all want someone to understand us and support us. Create a sacred space where you and your partner can be free to share and be vulnerable. See their life, from when they were young, right up to this point. Allow them to tell you their money story. How they grew up? What financial challenges and setbacks did they have to endure? What habits, beliefs and values did they absorb from their parents that relate to money? What fears and anxieties do they have about money? If something bothers you about some of their money patterns, query them on it, but do it with love and leave out the judgment. This can be an incredible growing and bonding experience. You can learn more about yourself and your partner which can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Allow your partner to finish what they are saying. Do not interrupt them! This will only make them angry. No matter how much something may bother you, what is most important is the long-term health of your relationship. You must try to understand that although whatever is concerning you at this moment in time, will most probably be completely forgotten in a years time. However, it is crucial that you play your cards right because however you react at this point sets the tone for future engagements.
1) Don't discuss money issues while in bed at night. Your bed and sleep time is your sanctuary. If you taint it with heavy discussions are/or arguments, you will pay the price by having lack of sleep.
2) Do not discuss money first thing in the morning. It sets the tone for the day and if the discussion unsettled you in any way, it can create a tense day going forward.
3) When discussing money, try set up a money meeting. Don't let money and its concerns become the dominating topic of all your discussions.
4) If you cannot control your money problems, seek help! It is not a weakness. It is a strength that can completely change your life for the better.
You love your partner. Love them for the things you have in common and for the things that you don't understand about them. Our partners allow us to see the world through their eyes. Maybe you can learn a thing or two.
Thanks for reading,