Nina over at Queercents is conducting a series of interviews with couples around the topic of finances and how it affects their relationship. Goodness knows money is one of the most challenging topics couples face. Why? Because money holds so much emotional power for all of us (not to mention purchasing power) and when you combine two sets of beliefs and behaviors that could potentially be wildly incompatible, you get a challenge at best and a nasty divorce at worst. And the worst part about it is couples rarely talk about the money thing before deciding to partner and live together. It is like an after thought and then suddenly the topic comes up and it’s like — “you what?!?”
This week, Kim and I are the featured interviewees. You can read the full article complete with a picture of us from our recent Olivia cruise here.
As a long-term couple that has had their ups and downs with money, I can attest to the fact that being open and brutally honest with the reality of finances is the best way to make this part of a relationship work. While being brutally honest, however it is imperative to show ruthless compassion for one another because as financial guru Suze Orman often says “people first, then money”. I learned this lesson the hard way at times when we’d get into a heated discussion about money and I’d forget that it is more important to love my partner (even with tough love at times) and be respectful and compassionate than it is to hammer home some point about money in a moment of high emotion. What I also learned over the years is that I cannot change the other person. It took time, willingness, and courage on Kim’s part to shift some of her negative beliefs and behaviors around money to get us to where we are today in terms of priorities and plans around money. Goodness knows I have my bugaboos too that trip me up and if you asked her she’d say I sometimes drive her nuts.
The good and bad news is that: relationships are always a work in progress. If you’re in it for the long haul plan on devoting time and energy for maintaining ongoing diligence and communication in order to be successful and find harmony in your financial matters.
What does the financial communication look like in your relationship? Is it going smoothly? Rocky? Are you off the path entirely in a ditch somewhere? Or, are you avoiding the money conversation like the plague?