Many couples don’t want to talk about money. The reasons run from “It will ruin the romance” to “I don’t want to rock the boat”. Love and marriage are perceived as pure, hopeful, and precious – and money is often considered dirty, callous, or controversial. Here is why this thinking is completely wrong, and how your love is already in trouble if you think this way.
What is Love? Why do We Marry?
When we love, we value a partner’s strengths and see how they complement our lives. We also see our partner’s vulnerabilities, and love them even more. Many of our values align. We learn from each other and grow in ways we never expected. We face the world stronger and happier than when we are just one. Even the fights or sadness teach us and make us wiser as an individual and a team.
Why We THINK We Shouldn’t Talk About Money
As a culture, we make money all about the bottom-line. We often “size someone’s worth” by their assets…or debt…or salary. Money is sometimes used as an instant gauge of everything a human brings to the world, before anyone even gets to know them. We think we will be judged. Harsh. And so wrong.
Let me challenge you on this, as I do many of my clients. You can be a lemming and follow this line of thinking that is a powerful undercurrent in our society, or you can fight to make your love stronger by thinking about money in an entirely different way and start setting an example for everyone else. I know you can do this.
Parenting and Money Conflicts are Very Similar
Consider parenting, which is a great analogy. When you have kids, it’s all about divide and conquer when things need to get done, and solid alignment when it comes to the values you teach them, life preparation, and the discipline you apply. There will be conflict, communication, and working together when you each think differently and have to work it out. You have no choice, because issues will come at you like a freight train and you’re molding young minds.
Money involves the same conflict, communication, and working together. It’s about your same value system, and preparing for life today and tomorrow. It’s just that money isn’t “in your face” everyday like your job, your kids and life. We think it can wait. We think it will open wounds, or change how our partner thinks about us.
Money is a Core Part of Marriage, Trust & Intimacy.
Lying by omission is the beginning of eroding your love and marriage. If your money secret continues, you have to hide statements or have secret conversations. Friends who know may be told to avoid the topic or get cut off in the middle of a conversation. Behaviors become covert and eventually, are caught. Your partner in your most intimate relationship is the last to know. Trust is eroded. Disappointment and hurt replace it. The act of hiding becomes more of a deal breaker than the problem itself.
Do Two Things to Protect Your Love & Marriage – NOW
1. Come Clean on Debt and Credit Card Balances. Chances are, your partner already knows there’s something going on. If you’re married, your sole decisions are affecting two of you now instead of just one. If you love and respect your partner, they need to know and be part of the decision-making.
2. Be Clear on Who Owns Which Assets. Some people believe money signifies love. Your partner may expect to own all of your assets with you for this reason. You may have been bitten once before in love gone awry, and want to protect yourself. Money means security to you. Start the conversation on what money means to you both, not the actual dollars. It will begin to build the foundation of understanding.
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