Money fights are, in fact, the #1 reason for fighting among couples. Money sparks more disagreements, kindles the most resentment and confusion, and is a major reason (if not the reason) behind many divorces. And guess what? As you accumulate wealth throughout your relationship, money fights do not disappear; the stakes just get higher.
This begs the question: “What exactly are couples fighting about when they fight about money?” Sure, there might be some discrepancy between spouses about how much money each person wants to spend on clothes, entertainment, vacation, etc. But I hate to break it to you – many times money fights have very little to do with money! Unfortunately, money often gets in the way of love – even in the most romantic and otherwise compatible relationships.
So what is going on here? It is common knowledge that people enter into their romantic relationships with their own psychological portfolio of emotions, hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses – all of which have been shaped by our past. However, no one addresses the portfolio of emotions we bring to money and finances – which has also been shaped by our past. So money – and the emotions surrounding it – is usually the 600 lb. pound gorilla in the middle of the room in any relationship. And it rears its ugly and “not so little” head when we have disagreements on how to spend or not spend it in our relationship.
Let’s address this 600 lb. gorilla in the room head on with the following facts.
- Marriage is a financial arrangement as much as it is a love relationship. Love and money have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Money is an emotionally loaded issue for couples because each person brings their own set of values, beliefs and attitudes about money to their relationship – most of which have been formed by the time we are 12 years old. Conflicting values and attitudes about money are at the core of financial conflict in relationships.
- Most people don’t really know how their views about money have been shaped. We tend to know we are either a “spender” or a “saver” – but if hard pressed to tell you why or how we got this way – most people couldn’t tell you for sure. Therefore, it becomes quite a daunting task to build a financial life that blends both partner’s hopes and dreams for today and the future!
- Money fights are rooted in what money symbolizes for each person in the relationship. Does money represent emotional security, control or power for you? Do you know what money symbolizes for your partner? You must know this information so you can begin to bridge the difference between what money symbolizes for you as a couple. And there will be plenty of differences to bridge since you grew up in two different homes which, in all likelihood, valued money differently. Doing this will go an incredibly long way in helping to end, or at the very least, de-fuse your money fights.
- Money fights have to do with each partner’s perception that the other does not respect your feelings when it comes to financial decision making, nor are they willing to accommodate your needs. In other words, you or your partner feel disrespected or ignored by the other when a financial decision is made that you either disagree with or would not make.
Once you have done all of the above – you need to shift your view of money. Shift your view of money by removing all your emotions out of money and treat it for what it really is – a commodity. Once you do this, you will no longer view money in your relationship as a means of power and control, and you will be well on your way to stopping the money fights in your relationship to save your marriage!
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann