Romantic relationships are a partnership of two people who have decided to share in the joys and sorrows of a committed life together. Married couples take the vows: “For better or worse, for richer or poorer” – Stop right there. People say vows similar to the ones just written but do we really mean them? – especially the part about “for richer or poorer”? Even though we say these words – if we are totally honest with ourselves we really mean: “but I hope it’s for richer”. Common sense dictates no one in their right mind wants to be poor. I mean honestly, get real.
Following are 7 simple ways or guidelines for handling money issues throughout your relationship so you don’t have to end up fighting about money. Consider these guidelines 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.
1. 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.
2. 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).
3. 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!
4. When you find you are at a crossroads when it comes to money issues, clearly communicate your differences to each other using respect as your baseline. 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.
5. 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!
6. Keep money in its proper perspective in your relationship. Money does not define your relationship or your love for each other. Do not allow money to come between the two of you. Keep your love and respect for each other at the core of your relationship and defend this love at all costs!
7. Love is the platform whereby all financial decisions will be made –“in good times and in bad, for richer for poorer”.
Make no mistake about it; money is an absolute necessity in life. If we use love as our platform and respect as our baseline, money will have its appropriate place in our relationship. Although all differences regarding the handling of money might not always be reconciled, we will at least be able to “agree to disagree” respectfully regarding money issues. Let’s not forget what we all know to be true – money is merely a commodity in our lives. Money cannot buy love and it cannot buy happiness!
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann