There's no question
Differences over money
and finances are some of the biggest issues
that challenge couples and tear them apart.
In relationships, the
question always becomes how to look at these
challenges as unique opportunities to heal
and move toward deeper connection rather
than to disconnection and separation.
So why does money drive
a wedge between two people who are committed
to loving one another and in many cases have
Here are a few reasons
backgrounds, values and beliefs
We all come from
different backgrounds and carry different
values and belief systems from our birth
families and life
we don't even know why we carry these values
and beliefs but they still have a very deep
hold on us. We just know that they are
"right" and can react unconsciously when
someone goes against these values and
2. "Spender and Saver"
If there's one scenario
we've seen over and over, it's the
"spender/saver" love combo. One person likes
to spend money ("You can't take it with you"
attitude) while the other person feels more
secure saving money with a "Just in case..."
approach to life. There's usually great love
friendship between them
but this difference usually is difficult to
3. Never taught about
Most people aren't
taught how to deal with issues that arise
over money and finances with a partner who
may look at life
differently. They try
to use their parent's model-and that model
may not work with the person they chose to
share their life with.
4. Two people/different
goals for their financial lives
One person's concern
may be paying for a child's college
education while the other person may want to
save for a vacation home or spend whatever
money is earned right now.
So, how do you deal
with these differences and even create a
deeper connection with a partner when you
Here are some tips...
1. Look at your
history, beliefs, and values about money and
finances. Ask yourself who was your role
model for your beliefs about money and then
question if these beliefs still serve you.
Susie's parents lived
during the depression and saving money was
an important part of their lives. So Susie
likes the security of having a financial
cushion to fall back on-and lots of money in
To Otto, saving
money doesn't have the importance that it
does to Susie. We've discovered that we
were both out of balance and needed to come
to the center on this issue.
2. Decide in advance
how you are going to handle the finances.
Early in our relationship, we decided to
share equally the household expenses but not
combine our personal finances.
It has been important
to us to feel like equal partners and this
was one way that we could do it. This may
not work in your circumstance.
All we are
saying is to consciously decide about how
you are going to deal with finances before
you get married, move in together or make
any kind of long-term commitment to each
3. Talk about what each
of you values in the area of finances. What
are your short-term and long-term goals?
Talk about them with your
partner. It's only after you know what's
important to you and your partner that can
you create and keep a deep connection with
misunderstandings come up, listen to your
partner and try to understand the frame of
reference he/she is coming from. Be open to
taking a look underneath at what you both
think is the problem-because more than
likely it goes much deeper than what
When you listen to each other
and share with an open heart, you might
uncover and clear up some misconceptions and
assumptions about intentions behind your
actions or words.
Years ago when we were
discussing business finances, Otto felt
tight and restricted when Susie used the
word "budget." His frame of reference from
20 years in sales was that "budgets" were
imposed from some outside authority and
Susie's frame of
reference came from managing a library and
she dealt with budgets every day. She didn't
feel triggered by the word "budget"--it was
just a business tool--but she was triggered
by Otto's reaction.
It was only until after
each of us understood the other's frame of
reference for this word that we could make
sense out of what was going
on between us and choose to connect with
each other instead of stay disconnected.
were also able to discover some deeper fears
that this "money" issue uncovered.
In your relationships,
whether you're talking about money or
anything else, It's important to understand
and respect your partner's needs,
desires, frame of reference and values, as
well as your own.
When you're trying to
work through money issues (or anything else)
one of the big keys is "staying open"
personally and emotionally to your
friend, partner or beloved.
Another key is to chose
to love the other person anyway-- even if
they are different from you and look at
different issues in ways you don't.