Relationships and Finances
11/28/2016 10:15AM ● Published by Hood Magazine
According to Marina Pearson, who authors a blog covering topics of interest to couples, fights about money have three underlying issues:
- Financial security
- Poor communication
- Negative thought patterns, or what she calls the “hidden hamster wheel”
Financial Security – When we get upset with how a partner has spent some of the money we have, it isn’t usually about the actual purchase; it’s about how much money is left AFTER the purchase. We are really worried about how we will manage from this point forward without the money they spent. Security comes from a feeling of protection from bad things. We are often under the illusion that if we have enough money, nothing bad will happen. Rethink your idea of what security is and what financial security is made of. And – this next part is important – have a conversation with your partner about these beliefs. For your partner to respect your ideas about financial security, they have to know what they are.
Poor Communication – Poor communication in a relationship is more than just not listening or learning to share your feelings. It’s also being honest about money and how you are spending it. Communicating about making purchases is important – before you swipe your card!
“Some people think that deceiving their mate over spending or financial decisions is nothing more than a harmless secret, an innocent white lie, but it is deadly to the relationship,” says Howard Dayton of FamilyLife.com.
Sit down with your spouse and agree on an amount that can be spent without consulting the other. Anything above that amount should be discussed as a purchase that you both get a say about.
Negative Thought Patterns – I always tell couples that I counsel, “If you look for the negative in your partner, you will find the negative. If you look for the positive, you will find the positive.”
The same holds true for your beliefs about how your partner handles money. If you feel that they are frivolous, you may begin to view all of their purchases as frivolous or even selfish. Take that a step further and consider that we begin believing that our frustration, anger or happiness is a direct result of our partner’s actions, not of our own negative/positive thoughts about their actions.
Marina Pearson calls this the “hidden hamster wheel” because once you begin this cycle, you can tread the same ground over and over and never get any closer to solving the real issue.
As Christmas gets closer, make time to sit down with your partner and have the “money talk.” Decide how much money you are going to spend and how it will be divided – and stick to it! Be open and transparent about purchases and listen to one another. It really can make a difference!