True intimacy has many facets, and a very important one is Financial. One of the top problems, and a leading source of divorce in the US are financial issues that divide a couple.
First, let me make a statement about the money problems that destroy relationships – it’s almost never REALLY about the money, but rather it is about what the money represents, what spending vs. saving means to individuals, and the proxy that money represents for personal values.
We’ve all seen the cycle, excessive personal spending during courtship is called “attentive” and that same spending post-marriage is called “irresponsible”. But, just as the strength and power of financial fights can be the downfall of a relationship, the healthy engagement of the financial aspect of your love can build extremely strong bonds.
At its simplest, how you spend money often is a reflection and representation of your values. Fights about money, are really fights about values. I had a great guest on my radio show recently, the worldly and wise Dave Ramsey, and he gave a great insight around couples that don’t combine their bank accounts are more importantly not combining their goals.
Also on my show was Jacquette Timmons, bestselling author of “Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate”. Jacquette suggests we ground ourselves in a couple of “truths” – 1+1 always = 2, compounding is always powerful, and finally, if you spend less than you earm you will always have “more”.
Jacquette’s primary advice is flip the story that most of us use to create our financial life. Most of us have a certain income, and from that we figure out what we can save, what we can invest, and what we can spend. This is “Financial Planning by Default.” Instead, turn it around. For what you’d like to spend, and what you’d like to save, how much income do you need and what are you going to do to make that happen.
Healthy discussions around finances can build incredible bonds in a relationship, and the advice that Jaquette gives around not living “by default” can apply to many parts of your romance. Just like you might make deliberate plans about how much you’d like to earn or save or invest, as a couple you can set romance goals around travel, family, adventure, growth and celebration. A shared journey is a wonderful journey.