Money Fights! No Desire? Three Marriage Counseling Tips: Talk About Money for Increased Intimacy.

Have you been arguing about money?   Tired of different values and beliefs regarding too much work, or too little monetary safety? Isn’t it time to stop fighting, and start talking in a fair way?fights over money

Fears regarding money, safety, security, and “what is enough”, have been happening for hundreds of years. It’s normal.   Circumstances can change in any relationship. Have any of these happened to you?

1. Has one of you become a stay-at-home parent?

2. Have one of you become unemployed?

3. One or both of you retires?

4. Are you having increases is monthly costs, so your money runs out before the end of the month?

5. Have one of you received a large sum of money, bonus, or payoff?

6. Has one of you become (financially) dependent on the other due to ill-health?

7. Do you plan to take out a big loan, such as a mortgage?

8. Are you beginning to take money from one account to cover another?

9. Does one of you need to make a large purchase from joint funds, such as to build a business, buy a car, etc?

10. Are one of you going to inherit what is for you a worthwhile amount of money?

I’ve seen well-put-together couples completely lose it when these kinds of things happen. Dynamics shift, attitudes feel like they’re changing, agreements that made sense don’t seem to work.   For example, when one person loses a high paying job, they can suddenly feel very vulnerable.

Other possibilities:

  1. Pay attention to what you’re feeling if and when you are not financially independent, which can happen as relationship/family grows.
  2. Has there been a major crisis causing insecurity, such as your partner having an affair?
  3. What if your job is no longer secure?
  4. With changes, do you suspect one or the other of you are paying more to household bills than the other?
  5. How’s your debt? Is it spiraling?
  6. Are you able to pay your personal debts?

When you can talk exactly what your concerns are regarding your finances, such as in counseling and on your own, you can start to think about possible solutions…

How do you manage your finances as a couple? Do the two of you fight often about money? I’ve found that when a couple argues about money, they often have issues around sex and control.  Do one of you tend to make all the decisions in your relationship? 
Who likes to be in charge? Do you have such different beliefs around money that you’re considering breaking up?

Counseling can help clear up the imbalances so you can enjoy increased desire and intimacy together! Through my experience as a relationship counselor, I’ve found that even the most seemingly ‘together’ couples can still find it difficult to communicate about money.   It’s so easy to avoid isn’t it? You may have no trouble talking about other subjects, but avoid talking about finances until there’s some sort of a financial crisis. Why is it so easy to avoid? When you are not talking about the state of your finances, there may not seem much of problem if…

  • Do each of you earn about the same, and provide financial stability for your selves as a couple? Then it’s easy to do what you like, without worry about what your partner thinks of your spending.
  • When your wealth is roughly equal at the start of a more formal commitment to each other, you can enjoy your financial independence.
  • Both of you have reasonably similar values and beliefs about money – you can simply take it for granted that you think alike. You’re also likely to trust your partner’s decisions about what the money is spent on.
  • Your families have no strong opinions about – or a say in – how you manage your finances?

However, all that can change. There may be a slow increase in irritations about your expenditures, or perhaps a sudden change in your circumstances. Either way the result will be that you’ll have to deal with money problems in your relationship.   It’s important, so that issues can be worked through with the assistance of a counselor, so intimacy can increase!

 

Tip 1: Begin talking early and regularly about money.   Can you learn to listen well, and talk well?  In a non-judgemental and calm way, set a time to talk about your finances!   Learn to RESOLVE issues by being verbal about who you are and what your truth is, without making the other person wrong. Be patient, as everyone comes from a different orientation with money. When making general statements like “You spend too much!”, or “You make poor choices!”, anyone will get defensive, and resolution will not occur.

 

Tip 2: Find a way to have YOUR household budget!

Debt can be a huge source of marital disagreement.. Whether you’re married or not, if the two of you are in an emotionally committed relationship and one of you has unmanageable debt, it’s likely to stress you both out!

If you have personal debt, is there enough in your personal account to cover payments on debt, or do you need to talk about options? Learn to talk about money in your relationship, so you can express yourselves in a calm and non-judgmental way.

Here is a list of ten free online budgeting tools:

http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/best-free-online-budgeting-tools/

 

Tip 3: Practice managing your finances

  1. What about having separate bank accounts, plus a joint account with automatic deducts for your regular bills?
  2. Could the stay-at-home person have an amount calculated for the general well-being of the family, and get a regular payment for that?
  3. Consider having more than one account for the joint account, with agreements on withdrawals.
  4. Why not have a discussion on the areas you both sense you could commit to spending less on?

Learn how to affirm and validate your spouse’s values and needs! Qualities such as mirroring, combined with validation, and empathy, means you can both compromise much more quickly around money than you ever thought possible!  Then discussions don’t have to escalate in to attacking fights.    When you both “win-win”, your sex and intimacy can escalate, rather than the fights!communicate about money and increase intimacy

Jim Bowen MA LPC has been assisting individuals and couples since 1992, with offices in Boulder and Denver. Contact Jim with email or call him at 303-534-8717. Why not call for a free consultation?