by Judy M McCutcheon
Isn’t it an amazing thing to love and be loved in return? Think about the feeling of happiness that comes through when everything is working in perfect harmony in your relationships.
As the month of weddings draws neigh, I want to encourage couples who are either in the final stages of preparation for the big day or are thinking about their big day, to make money discussions a big part of their relationship. Over the years, I’ve learnt about how money can affect our relationships. First, it is imperative to understand that we are all one big ball of emotion, so it makes perfect sense that we all have an emotional connection to money. The thing we need to ask ourselves is “where did we get our knowledge of money from?” Truth be told most of us got our information about money from observation. We observed how the adults in our lives interacted and treated with money and that helped to form our perceptions about money. How do you treat with the money that you have? Are you living beyond your means or carrying excessive debt? Do you find ways to get rid of your money by engaging in foolish spending? Or are you in a constant battle over money with your spouse?
Our issues with money run deeper than we care to imagine, it is all a part of our past conditioning and socialisation about money. Research indicates that the number one source of conflict in relationships is money. Armed with this information you would think that couples would make discussions about money a priority, unfortunately, that is not the case. There is one study which shows that 91% of people look for ways to avoid discussions about money. Before you think of intermingling your finances, it is important that you explore your individual money personality and share it with your significant other. It is also important to share your fears at it relates to issues about money so that your partner understands, why you treat with money the way you do. Finances are very important to the health and happiness of your union, so getting together regularly to have discussions on your financial health is of vital importance. In a survey conducted by Money magazine, 80% of couples between ages 35-44 argued about money. But there is some good news, the fights get less as you get older. Hopefully, you are able to weather the storm and grow old together.
For your sanity and peace of mind, understand that a marriage is a partnership and not a one man or one woman show. You must be able to support and trust each other in financial matters. Getting together regularly to talk about money, not only helps to keep the arguments at bay, but it is also healthy for other areas of your relationship as well. It is important that you decide on your financial future together. Setting and working towards common goals, helps you to keep focused on your financial priorities. Another important aspect is the financial power balance within the relationship. Before making that big leap, discuss in detail, the roles, and responsibilities each of you will play in earning, spending, and managing your finances. Talk about how the financial responsibilities will be shared and respect what each other brings to the union. If you lack the financial knowledge to effectively manage your money, then this is a great opportunity for you to learn together. In addition to gaining knowledge, this will help to bring you closer to each other.
Finally, how much or how little you and your partner argue over money depends on each of you. Don’t bring the past into the present and remember what is spent is already spent. Don’t engage in the blame game or try to make your partner out to be the villain and you the hero. Remember that trust, honesty, financial fidelity, compassion, caring and understanding helps to create a successful financial and romantic union. Be open when you engage in money talks and love will listen.
© All Rights Reserved
Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company. www.goblueinc.net