Is money the root of all evil? Can you learn why money causes problems in your relationship?
That really is the question. How often do you come across somebody that doesn’t want to make more money? I’m sure you probably want to make more money yourself. But, then what happens? You no sooner start making more money, and it’s not enough. Perfect example of money causing problems.
So, how does this play out in your relationship? Whether both people in a relationship work outside the home, or one works outside the home. Money matters will always come up in a relationship. Let me just say, if you have decided to stay home with the children and take care of the house, then you have a full time job. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Unfortunately, in our society money equals power. It’s been that way for a long time. So, if you are the one staying home or you make less than your partner, then it may be used against you. If that’s the case, then you will need to speak up for yourself. Don’t be shy, let your partner know how hard you work, and what your worth is.
You don’t want to sweep the subject of money under the carpet, either. Often times, the job of making sure the bills are paid is put on the responsibility of one. This can cause that partner to feel resentful. You don’t want your partner to feel like an ATM. It’s important in a relationship to feel you are on equal ground with your partner. This means you both need to know everything about the finances.
Here are 4 tips to help you understand why money causes problems in a relationship:
- The arguments about money, aren’t about money. Sure, how much money you make will determine where you live, the car you drive and the clothes you wear. But, you don’t have to let money define your relationship. This is where you want to go beneath the surface. Start a conversation that will build understanding about your beliefs of money.
- Work on understanding one another’s beliefs about money. You didn’t just wake up one day and have your belief system about money. It started long ago in childhood. You learn your beliefs about money from your family of origin. How did your parents make decisions about money? Did your family have enough money while you were growing up? The more you talk to one another about your belief system and where it came from, the more you will understand one another. This will help diffuse the conflict and help you come to a compromise together.
- Accept there is not an easy answer. A lot of couples come into my office with this one, and they want to solve the problem immediately. Let’s be realistic, this problem didn’t develop overnight. It’s going to take more than one therapy session or one day to solve it. If you are digging underneath the problem, you will uncover the real problem. Give it time. There needs to be safety and trust in the relationship to talk about underlying problems. This means when your partner opens up to you that you don’t throw it back in there face, or laugh about it. This is when you need to take your relationship seriously.
- Express what you need. If you feel there are things you need to buy for the house, then you need to tell your partner. If you feel you are being micromanaged, then you need to tell your partner. If you feel your partner spends too much, then you need to tell your partner. If you want more help managing the finances, then you need to tell your partner. What is the common denominator? You need to tell your partner what you need. This really is the first step. I know it sounds simple. But, I have seen many couples over the years. They aren’t always expressing what they need. After you have expressed what you need, then work on a plan together. This means compromise. A compromise is something both people in the relationship feel good about.
Money doesn’t have to end your relationship or put you in the poor house. But, if you put off talking about it, then it just might do that. I have found issues like this are a work in progress. There are many different influences out there about money. Men have good reasons to feel the way they do, just as women do. What you want to do is learn to understand your differences about money.
Are you looking for help on why money causes problems in your relationship. You'll find more of that in Relationship Challenges.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. I have helped facilitate this difficult conversation, why money causes problems with many couples. They have been able to come to a compromise that works for both of them. For more information, please call (650) 892-0357 or email Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.