Financial disagreements are among the most common sources of conflict for many couples. The problems can begin at any stage of the relationship. Often, they grow over time. It can feel as though the differences between you are so entrenched that you will never resolve them. However, there is always hope. Learning to work together, couples can find new ways to navigate money issues.
Couples and Money: Surface Level Issues
What do you and your partner argue about when it comes to money? It’s likely that there is some difference between the two of you. Over time, the difference has become magnified, and you are locked into your individual positions about the topic. Common differences include:
- Who should earn money and how it should be earned
- Division of responsibilities when it comes to paying bills
- Differences in scarcity vs. abundance mindset
- Beliefs about earnings, savings, spending, and debt
- How risk-averse you each are when it comes to finances
- What you each consider important enough to spend money on
These things become bigger sources of conflict whenever there are financial pressures. However, they can occur even when money is plentiful.
Couples and Money: Deeper Issues
Although what you fight about tends to be one of the surface-level issues described above, there are probably deeper issues at the root of the conflict. In addition to the conflict between you as a couple, there may be a conflict within you about money. In fact, the external conflict that you have with your partner is often a reflection of the exact same internal conflict happening inside of you.
Each of us has many parts within ourselves. We have parts that are stingy and parts that are generous. We have parts that act based on fear and parts that are brave. Additionally, we have an inner Self that holds wisdom. When we learn to understand the different parts of ourselves, we gain access to that inner wisdom. Then we are able to act from a place of curiosity and compassion.
Once you become open to the idea, it can actually be amazing to see how the fights you have with your partner about money almost exactly mirror the fights your different parts are having in your mind. So often, you think that your partner is the problem. Furthermore, you think that the two of you are opposites, because you have been locked in battle. In actuality, you may have more similarities than you think.
As you begin to see the different parts of yourself, you can gain compassion for them. Then you can apply that to offering compassion and generosity to your partner. Your partner can do the same work. Together, you can come to see that the conflict isn’t an entrenched issue that will never be resolved. Instead, it is a puzzle. When each of you let all of your parts speak, the puzzle becomes easier to solve.
Teamwork to Solve Couples’ Money Issues
Over time, you can each loosen your grip on your need to be right about money issues. You can address underlying concerns, and deal with the many emotions attached to financial issues. Most importantly, you can rely on teamwork. First, you can bring together the different parts of yourself as a team to figure out your own financial challenges. Then, you can work together with your partner as a team against issues that arise in the marriage. Couples and money: it’s a challenging issue but not one that can’t be resolved. Working on it together, you can both thrive.