You can also listen to this podcast episode “How Debt And Finances Impact Physical And Emotional Intimacy”
It doesn’t matter how much you make, finances and debt can affect marriages of all incomes. What matters is the communication you have with your spouse about the finances and if you are both moving in the same direction together. If you are not, it doesn’t matter how much money is coming in. We have friends that make more money than they know what to do with, and their marriage is actually a mess because they don’t know how to communicate about it or they don’t have the same goals.
Why does debt and finance have such a big impact on physical and emotional intimacy?
I think the thing about money is that a lot of people just think it’s facts and figures right, if I know how much is coming in, I’m gonna be fine. But really there’s so much emotion tied up with our money, whether it is our own personal goals and aspirations in life or the way we were raised in our families about how money really impacted us.
Our financial backgrounds affect our marriage.
So one person might have grown up in a family where money was very scarce and they have this “saver’s” mindset, that they need to hold on to it. They need to make sure that they have enough always. So they never feel that pain that maybe their parents felt as they were growing up, or somebody might have grown up in a family where they were living for today and we’ve got to enjoy every moment we have and every cent that’s coming in! If you get two of those folks together in a relationship, there’s definitely going to be some communication to figure out how your collective goals can come together to be harmonious for the family that you now have. So it all depends on what your motivations are and how you were raised, I believe.
My wife and I have a very different background and our motivations are a little different. I think the main intersection for couples like us, is that moment to have communication, and if that communication is lacking, whether that’s a meeting once a month to talk about your financial goals or just your goals as a couple in general once a week, whatever is the right amount for you. I feel like because without the communication, you’ll both drift off on your own paths of what you think is right, and you might get stuck in your ways and with those thoughts in your mind, you might think the other one’s crazy and why are they doing it like this?
With that script continuing to repeat in your brain, it will fester and get worse over time. I’m saying this from experience personally. When Nicole and I don’t have that communication, we don’t take that time to actually speak with each other. That’s when things get worse. But when we do, when we’re doing the get together once a month to talk about your budget or your plan, and it’s as boring and as important as brushing your teeth, you know what I mean, you got to do it because otherwise the pain down the road is going to be a lot worse. So we set up once a month budget party meeting. I called the budget party because she had no interest in showing up to the meeting. So I brought some drinks and pizza. We make a fun.
But at those meetings, we talk about what we spent last month, what we’re spending now, what our plans are for the next month and how those align with our goals. We review those goals, talk about if we are moving towards the type of family life we want.
Communication with budgets.
Even if you have a different outlook on money or you’ve been raised differently, I think most married couples, their end goal is probably the same. Most want to be financially free and and have that extra money and accomplish certain goals. So sitting down and communicating, even if you have different experiences in life, sitting down and communicating and saying:
Do we both have the same goals?
How do we work together to accomplish that same goal that we have?
How do we communicate about finances better?
What’s important to you, where do you see our relationship going in the next 10 years?
What would be an incredible victory for our relationship over the next year?
Over the next five years?
What is something that you always wished for in your life that you don’t have right now that you don’t see in your life?
And with those big questions, come opportunities for you to be the hero or for your spouse to be the hero and you guys be the hero together. You come together on those goals and it’s not just listening to your spouse’s goals, you also share your goals as well. Some of them are going to align and some of them are not, find the ones that do align and agree that you can work together on a collective goal and see some victory together.
With that victory, that becomes addicting also, that becomes this budget meeting is not that all bad. We’re working on things together, we’re hitting these big milestones and I’m feeling more secure in our relationship or I’m feeling that financial partnership.
These questions can really solve a lot of those financial issues and the stress that really kicks into your marriage. The intimacy and the affection and whether it’s emotional intimacy or the physical intimacy, and especially the sexual intimacy that all gets pushed to the back burner because of finance pressures and stress. When stress takes over with finances, everything else continues to suffer. And maybe going downwards, if it does go on a downward spiral, it can spiral really fast. So the important thing is not just communicating, but it’s communicating AND listening to your spouse.
Listening and Hearing your spouse.
That’s a mistake that I do sometimes where I’m excited about the ability for us to sit down and communicate, but I’m just getting ready for my next thing to say, as opposed to actually hearing what my wife is actually communicating to me. Having that ability to empathize with her situation is honestly a superpower that I’m still trying to learn that when somebody’s speaking, especially somebody who loves dearly, you want to make sure you’re really hearing them and empathizing with them. Maybe I don’t agree with her opinion of the situation, but I have to think more about her background and her wants and her needs and what she’s been through for the past 5, 10 years, however long it’s been and approach the next choice or the next decision. The next words out of my mouth with that empathy in mind.
Do you know what you spend?
Everybody knows what they make money wise, but we don’t always know what we spend. If you ask the typical person, how much do you spend each month or how much do you spend each year? A lot of them would raise their hands and say, I don’t know, but a lot of people know what they’ve got coming in.
I believe it’s more important to know what’s going out than it is what’s coming in because you can make $1 million a year, but you spend 1.1, you are still in debt. You are driving yourself further into the hole. So what we put in our budget aligns with our priorities. Now that you’ve had those conversations with your spouse about what those big goals are, where you want your family to go, make sure you’re spending is aligned with those goals.
If if you guys talk about, “I really want to be able to go on a family vacation every year because I think that’s gonna be a great bonding moment for us and that’s just something we don’t have in our plans are in our budget right now. How can we do that?” or “If we work together to eliminate this credit card debt over the next six months, we’re gonna have enough money to go on that vacation every month.” That’s great. That’s a collective goal. We can both get behind both enjoying today and creating more financial security as well. I think by deciding what those big collective goals are together and then looking at the numbers to make sure you’re aligning your spending or your plans with those goals, that’s when you can start to create some real financial partnership.
From budget to a spending plan.
I would say that the word budget has a bad rap, it feels like a constriction or a lack you know, somebody’s gonna take something away from me, but it’s really the opposite. It is a permission to spend and allocate money according to your values. So if your values are: we prioritize our kids happiness or we want to make sure we have enough money so our kids are playing soccer or doing dance or whatever. Or we need some more money for us, we need some more money for connection and fun and date nights, that’s got to be in there.
So this is permission to approve your values, approve your goals. Flip the script on the feeling of what a budget might feel like. Some people say they don’t want to live on a budget. That sounds like “I got no money or I’m feeling restricted.” No, this is just a plan for your life. It’s a spending plan, without a plan for your money, your business will fail as we know lots of businesses fail within the first three years. So we would hate that same plan for our marriages to fail as well. We need a plan for the money coming in.
Turn the budget into a positive thing.
Find out together where you are wasting money. Maybe you can shut down a recurring payment of something you don’t use anymore, or a subscription. Look at debts you can get rid of so you have some extra date night money. What are you wasting money on? Are there other opportunities to bring more money in?
It’s that ability to control your money. Once you control your money, you’re in control of your life instead of your money controlling you because sometimes that’s really how it feels to be in debt. When you’re in a good place financially, life is just completely different. Your marriage is better. Your connection is better, your family is happier. Everything just seems to be so much better. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be making a bunch of money. It’s just when you’re in a good financial situation where you’re both on the same page as a team, that can create some real intimacy.
Date night NEEDS to be a part of your budget.
Date night does not always have to be this $50-100 dinner. Your date night could be a walk, your date night could be coffee on the back porch. Your date night could be something that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. So if the finance has become the the reason for you to not do date night, there are thousands of ways to do a date night or a date day, whatever is most convenient for you, it doesn’t always have to be the, the typical dinner.
Get inventive, do something a little different, do something adventurous, do something that doesn’t break the bank if that’s the reason that’s holding you back, don’t let it be. Make date night a priority for your marriage!
When you are not on the same page financially and you just can’t communicate about it anymore.
When you need to talk about your budget with your spouse but they just don’t want to. You need to say “Hey, this is very important. I would love for you to sit down with me. Please let me know what time and date that works best for you be accommodating.” Maybe they have a very busy schedule and they just can’t seem to fit it in, but let them know how important it is for you.
If that doesn’t work, you can definitely seek out a third party to help you with that process. Nicole and I did that. We had some trouble talking about money, years ago, I had some hard charging goals that I was I was going to see happen and that really conflicted with her goals as a stay at home mom. She wanted to have a little bit more breathing room in her life to enjoy life and we just could not see eye to eye. So Nicole’s idea was for us to meet with a marriage counselor and at that point my my thoughts were like “I have really failed, I’ve really failed my marriage, I failed my wife, I’m not doing a good job and going to marriage counseling feels like failure.”
After our first visit with our marriage counselor, I completely changed my mind. This is somebody who is going to help us communicate better. It is the same thing as a physical trainer, right? You want to get more healthy and you can’t seem to figure it out on your own, it’s okay get a coach, get a third party coach to help you along and that’s exactly what the therapist did for us. She was our third party for 6 to 9 months I believe, and wow did we come out stronger as a couple, both our communication skills, my ability to empathize, our ability to find common ground. It was beautiful.
We both didn’t relent on the things that we both were interested in. We just found a way for us to find it, that worked for both of us. So I feel like sometimes it is okay to reach out for some help, whether that’s a financial coach, if it’s a marriage therapist, there’s even financial therapists now, somewhere in the middle, you could find a great person to help you out in your situation and help communicate better.
If you do not get the help you need from a therapist or counselor, your marriage can really really suffer. Tap into the amazing advice and help because there are always ways to look at things differently or that can help us make huge changes in our life. We have heard stories of people who have really been struggling financially and go and get a little bit of professional help and then all of a sudden, they become debt free and their lives completely changed by implementing some proper strategies. So why would we not want to go out and get that help from someone who has that expertise to help change aspects in our life.
We are the ultimate intimacy app. We focus on intimacy and we think it is super important for people to realize that when your financial communication is not going well, it is going to affect your sex life, your physical intimacy and for sure your emotional intimacy. That’s why all these little aspects of financial intimacy is big for a marriage!
Don’t forget to check out the ultimate intimacy app! It is a free download in the app stores and offers so many resources to strengthen your intimacy and relationship!