*Not their real name
It’s interesting that couples who are able to share all other aspects of their lives: recreational, physical, emotional, spiritual, etc., are stumped when it comes to topic of money and how to join their money together. Often couples feel that they shouldn’t “taint” their relationship with money talk. This unspoken topic, however, then become a major source of conflict in the couples’ dynamic. Couples engage in a variety of financial guerilla warfare where money is used as power weapon: e.g., taking the yours-and-mine approach, spite spending, or secret hoarding and secret spending.
Financial intimacy, like other areas of the couples’ intimacies, requires couples to get to know their partner and allowing their partner to get to know them. Specifically in the area of money, the goals of financial intimacy are to make your partner your financial partner (i.e., someone whom you are communicating and working together to address financial issues); to understand each other’s point of view; to manage your money styles and negotiate your differences; and to create financial harmony.
Financial intimacy is about getting to know yourself and allowing your partner to get to know and trust your financial awareness. To be intimate in this area, couples need to learn strategies to overcome negative habits and thinking that keep them in a perpetual financial tug of war. They also need to gain knowledge on how to communicate and work together towards shared values and vision for their financial future.
Tips for starting the process of financial intimacy:
- Self evaluation of the obstacles in being transparent in the marriage.
- Set up regular appointment with partner to discuss finance.
- Start meeting by establishing small goals to be accomplished.
- Stay focused on money issues and don’t bring up old hurts to gain the advantage.
- Listen to each other and check out what the other person is trying to say.
- Try to staying focused on your concern vs. turning it into an attack.
- Say positive statements to each other in order to inspire change.
- Seek more information and other resources on financial management.
- Use numbers (dollars spent) to guide the discussion instead of feelings or beliefs.
- Bring in 3rd person if come to an impasse. E.g.,, accountant, advisor, counsellor or other trusted parties.
- Write down agreement.
- Acknowledge effort and progress to each other.
- Celebrate progress and success.