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Money in Relationships: How To Make Money Help (Not Harm) Your Relationship

July 23, 2008

This is a guest post by Ryan from Smarter Wealth.

Money can make or break a relationship. In fact money is one of the major causes of divorce in the world today. Many couples will argue and fight and even get bitter at their partner over financial issues.

I have been with my girlfriend for over 2 years and we have made a consistent effort to work together when it comes to money. We have had some difficulties when it comes to money, but overall we have a healthier relationship because of the way we decided to act about money.

If you want to have a great and long lasting relationship then you need to resolve this issue of money with your partner and you need to work together to reach your financial goals. Once you begin to work together you will find more and more that money is not a problem to tear your relationship apart but it is actually a tool to help keep your relationship healthy.

Here are some important first steps you will need to take as a couple to deal with your financial issues:

1. There are More Important Things than Money
Money is not the most important thing in your life. Money, though great, will never make you truly happy. It is through relationships which we find our greatest fulfillment. No one sitting on their death bed ever says “I wish I had more money”, instead they say “I wish I had a better relationship with …” Money is not the most important thing in life and this should be true for our relationships. When money becomes a focus in the relationship you know that there is a problem. Shift your focus off money and onto more important things.

2. Sit Down and Discuss Your Goals
If you are having trouble with money in your relationship (or even if you haven’t) then it is important to sit down together (without distractions) and talk about money. Talk about the way you view money, what you want to use money for, what your financial goals are etc. Try to understand where the other person is coming from. Embrace similarities in your goals and work through the differences.

3. Honor the Other Person
In everything you do with your finances try to honour your partner. Don’t do things behind their back that you know wouldn’t honour them. For example, if me and my girlfriend want to save up for our wedding (we will be engaged shortly so this is a future example) then if I went out and spent all my money on gadgets and junk then she wouldn’t feel honored. When you become selfish with money problems will begin to rise.

4. Learn to Compromise
Learn to compromise on your goals and your visions. Don’t be so fixed on what you want that you try to destroy all of your partner’s dreams and goals about money. For example, my girlfriend wants to do property developing in the next few years. Personally, I don’t. I want to invest into my online business. But I will compromise and save money so she can do property developing which is her dream. By releasing her into her dream she will release me into mine

5. Be Generous
The life of a generous person grows larger and larger. Make a decision to be generous to each other constantly. Me and my girlfriend will always shout each other meals (shout: Aussie term for pay for someone) when we go out. We overall I end up spending the same amount on her as she does on me so it cancels itself out, but the spirit of generosity makes your partner (and yourself) feel valued in the relationship.

Now I just wanted to share with you a few ideas I personally use to use money as a tool for building my relationship with my girlfriend:

  • We pay for each other at breakfast/dinner/lunch
  • We buy each other flowers
  • We buy each other presents
  • We plan special date nights for each other each week (one week she will plan and pay for one, the next week I will and so on)
  • We help each other out if we are in a tight spot (if she runs low on money one month I will lend her a couple of hundred)
  • We teach each other about finances (she is always, always, always teaching me about being generous with finance, I am always teaching her to budget and save)

So stop making money a wedge in your relationship and instead unite and work together to make money work for you in building the best relationships possible.

Thank you again Ryan for this great post about making money work in our relationships.

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