Our wedding vows include the words: “for richer or poorer” – but as we all know, keeping this vow is easier said than done. For almost three decades, I’ve seen love diminish when couples fight over money! To avoid these damaging fights about money, follow these five (5) simple guidelines for handling money issues throughout your relationship – so you don’t have to end up fighting about money.
Consider these five guidelines below to be your relationship tools for keeping the spark alive in your relationship whether you are dealing with the “richer” or “poorer” times in your relationship.
- Know thyself. Be aware of what money really represents to you (this might require a little bit of soul searching here) – and do not impose your attitudes and beliefs about money onto your partner.
- Know what money really represents to your partner. And don’t try to convince them that they should be more like you! (I know you know what I mean.)
- Communicate your individual attitudes and values about money to each other so you develop a joint strategy you are both comfortable with. Think of this as your financial blueprint for relationship harmony! Develop a clear, concise plan for how you use your money; that is, how you spend it, and how you save it. If you happen to come into a financial windfall – an inheritance or you hit the lottery (hey, somebody has to win) – discuss and develop a strategy for how you will use that money. Money that people “fall” into is often the start of a very slippery slope for the unraveling of relationships if plans for these monies are not discussed. This is why you need to be very clear on guideline #3 folks!
- When you find you are at a crossroads when it comes to money issues, clearly communicate your differences with respect and patience. This will avoid all the finger pointing, blaming and accusations inherent in the following statements: “You don’t care how I feel about blah, blah, blah when it comes to spending money” etc., etc., etc.
- When differences regarding financial decisions come up (and they will) respect these differences without accusing the other of being cheap, irresponsible or spending money like it is going out of style. Doing this will keep the issue focused on the differences regarding the finances and avoid the pitfall of entering the dead man’s zone of character assassination!
REMEMBER – Love should be the platform whereby all financial decisions are made –“in good times and in bad, for richer or poorer.” So keep money in its proper perspective in your relationship – to avoid it becoming a power struggle and/or control issue.
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann