Full disclosure – part one: I am a hopeless romantic. I totally love a good romance movie, song, or novel. And by good, I mean this: The couple is able to transcend the ups and downs and challenges that come their way.
Through the process, their love grows, evolves, deepens and becomes more mature and intimate.
Through the process they discover over and over why they are committed to one another. What continuously gets reaffirmed is that they have each other’s back and are a team of two with a common mission and goal.
If you are currently in a relationship or have ever been in one and experienced a connection with this type of depth, you know this feels so, so good. And if you aren’t or have never been, can you imagine it?
Now…can you imagine viewing your relationship with money in a similar way?
Can you imagine approaching every money decision and choice with unabashed confidence because you know beyond the shadow of doubt that money has your back and wants the best for you?
That may be a tall ask because if you are like me and others, you’ve had your share of financial failures, disappointments, and setbacks. These experiences have likely chipped away at your financial spunk and probably left you feeling a wee-bit jaded. So adopting the notion of money having your back either seems illogical or illusory.
And perhaps that’s the problem when it comes to love and money.
There’s a weird half-trust thing going on.
Perhaps that’s the core reason couples find talking about money awkward and uncomfortable.
After all, if your own relationship with money isn’t “right,” how on earth can you get it “right” alongside another human being? (Note: Please don’t confuse being a high-earner and having a positive balance sheet with having a healthy relationship with money. That would be akin to putting the numbers before the emotions.)
Clearly, I give this love and money thing a great deal of consideration. But lately I’ve been reflecting on what else I could share with you to help make this visceral intersection less conceptual.
Especially if you avoid the occasional fight about money for fear that it will fray your relationship.
Especially if you are slightly cynical and haven’t yet jumped on my bandwagon. The one that believes money can actually be a way for you and your mate to have a healthier, sexier and more intimate relationship than what you already have — or want.
There is a parallel between your relationship with money and the relationship you and your mate have with money. So, how do you get your own relationship with money “right” and at the same time strengthen the financial bond you have (or want to have) with your beloved?
You start by remembering money is always giving you feedback about the quality of your choices, and what is and what isn’t working – in your life on an individual basis and in your relationship.
Second, you approach the venn diagram that represents you, your mate and money with curiosity and use the following eight ways to help foster more intimacy – with yourself, your mate and your money:
1) Money reveals if you are practicing self-love
Only you know the self-talk that goes on inside your head. But if you did an audit for an entire day, what would you discover: are you kind to yourself, or fairly unforgiving? Do you focus more on your faults with money than you do your strengths?
This matters because the lens through which you evaluate your own “performance” with money is often the same as you judge your mate’s.
2) Money will tell you if you and your mate are operating as partners
Yes, you are together. But are you operating as two people working on divergent plans. Or, are you two people coming together working on a single plan?
This matters because it influences how you negotiate priorities.
3) Money acts a mirror
The feedback money gives you is like a mirror – one that uses money as a way of reflecting back to you your values, beliefs, behaviors, habits, expectations, dreams, hopes, goals, desires, etc.
This matters because with this understanding you’re able to shift from blame (as in the other person did/didn’t do something) to a heightened sense of self-awareness.
4) Money gives voice to your fears – about money and your relationship
Having fears isn’t the issue. Denying they exist is. When you acknowledge your fears, you’re able to examine the validity of them and put into action a way to address them.
This matters because you can’t solve a problem (money or relational) correctly and completely if you have misdiagnosed the issue in the first place. (For example: Is your debt problem a spending issue or an earnings issue? If you don’t know, you may be expending effort and resources in a way that doesn’t serve you.)
Next week, I’ll share the remaining four ways. In the meantime, it’s time for…
Full disclosure – part two: I love Valentine’s Day. Even when I’m not in a relationship, I celebrate it. Yeah, it’s a commercial holiday and a bit corny, but sometimes it is just the spark we need to remind us about the power of love. The love you get, and the love you give – especially the love you give to yourself.
Have a beautiful and Happy Valentine’s Day!
p.s. If you missed me on “Good Morning America” giving financial advice to a very lovely couple, click to view the segment.
p.p.s. On Tuesday, February 23rd at 8pm ET, I’m hosting a free webinar for couples. Click here to learn more and RSVP.