Some portions of this blog article are taken from the Ultimate Intimacy Podcast (episode 17), “5 Ways to Build Financial Intimacy” with Joseph and Marissa Msefya, who are certified marriage coaches and the the owners of Forever Marriages. Listen to the podcast for the additional ways to build financial intimacy found in the link at the end of the article.
There’s obviously a lot of things financially that can really impact and hurt relationships. Amy and I have experienced things in our own relationship where I’ve betrayed her trust with financial decisions I made on my own, which had a negative impact on our relationship and marriage that we almost didn’t make it through, and it took us a lot of years to get on the same page financially. I think sometimes as a man, you feel like, hey, I’ve got to take care of things and I’ll just take care of them and my spouse doesn’t need to know what is going on, or we just make financial decisions without getting our spouses input which I can really put a wedge in the relationship. Having money conversations with each other is often very hard or scary to do as it can lead to arguments or disagreements as couples come from many different backgrounds and often see things differently when it comes to finances. However, discussing finances is so crucial to having a happy and healthy marriage. Here are a few things that can help you and your spouse build financial intimacy in your marriage.
HAVING OPEN DIALOGUE AND TRANSPARENCY
Money conversations are often the toughest conversations to have as a couple but it is crucial to be completely open and transparent with each other about money in your relationship.
The area of money and finances is something that many couples receive little training, guidance or education on growing up, and our perceptions of our money are shaped by what we saw in our lives, and how our parents interacted with money. They are shaped by the things they say to us about money, like “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “what do you think… I’m made out of money or something?” We shape our perceptions based upon our experiences we have growing up and how we saw others handle money and finances. Also, we come into marriage and now have two individuals that have completely different backgrounds, and perceptions on money that are now trying to combine that all into one. That is why it is so important to have open dialogue and communication, and to be transparent about everything involving money. You are going to experience these challenges early on and you have to take an active role to make sure that you’re developing the skills that are necessary for you and your spouse to be able to have open conversations and solve financial problems in your relationship. You cannot afford to hide any areas in your marriage, especially when it comes to your finances. We have all heard stories about people having a stash of cash or hidden bank account for an emergency, rainy day or in case their relationship doesn’t work out, that their spouse doesn’t know about. You need to eliminate all those things and be open and transparent with each other when it comes to your relationship with money.
Awesome Marriage talks about being naked and unashamed. We have to realize that with money we have to do the same thing and be fully unashamed in every aspect of marriage including with finances. When we start hiding things from our spouse involving money, that can actually create a deeper hole and wedge. A couple should always work towards oneness and unity and not do anything that would cause them to become torn apart. One area that can really help couples be open and transparent is to combine their bank accounts. This is one sure way to make sure that there are no secrets and also shows that both spouses are open and honest about finances with each other. This way both spouses know what is coming in and going out and there is no hiding anything. Its also amazing how much a spouses upbringing can cause them to be a certain way when it comes to finances, for example if one spouse is a saver and the other is a spender, or one spouse likes to pay things off and be out of debt and the other spouse likes to borrow money for things. Amy and I grew up completely different in how we were taught and raised by our parents about finances, money, risk and other financial things which has had a big impact on how we see things in our financial relationship, and I am sure many other couples are the same. It is so important to have open dialogue with each other and if spouses do not see eye to eye on financials things, having those tough conversations and figuring out ways to meet in the middle or put a game plan together as to how you are going to handle things financially. SIT DOWN AND HAVE AN OPEN DISCUSSION TOGETHER AND BE FULLY OPEN AND TRANSPARENT ABOUT EVERYTHING.
INVOLVING GOD IN YOUR FINANCES
I think a lot of us have a natural tendency to leave God out of things and think, hey, I got this, I can make the decision on my own, whether it’s a pride thing or whatever the reason. Prayer can be a great thing to help couples have better financial intimacy and be stewards of the resources that GOD has given to them. Prayer can also help couples learn to be patient with each other and have the desire to change if needed. A financial relationship including God is like a pyramid, God sits on top and a couple is on the two bottom corners, but as the couple involves God in their financial decisions and they grow closer to God, they are also growing closer to each other at the same time, so being open financially with God and including him in your financial decisions will help you grow closer to God and to each other. Also, when you’re not tied together and completely open and transparent financially, it destroys all the other aspects of intimacy. Financial intimacy impacts emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. Involve God in your financial decisions as a couple and you will see other aspects of your life improve greatly.
HAVE ROUTINE BUDGET MEETINGS TOGETHER
Set up a meeting together as a couple at a designated day and time each month to discuss your finances. This is a great time to do some goal setting, forecasting, budgeting or whatever it may be. Discuss what you are going to spend money on the coming month and make sure you are both in agreement and on the same page with everything you are doing financially. If you have disagreements on financial issues, such as one spouse likes to save and the other wants to spend money, find a way to meet in the middle and compromise so you are both moving forward with your financial goals.
So many couples have arguments or get divorced over finances and money issues for various reasons. If we can recognize as a couple we on the same team and the problem isn’t each other, but the problem is how do we solve this financial issue or problem together? If a couple can recognize that they are on the same team and the enemy is the financial issues they are trying to resolve, it makes it much easier as a couple to try to solve that together as a team.
Also, in your meeting, give each other responsibilities or things to handle in your finances and be accountable to each other. In your meetings, plan goals such as where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, retirement, paying off your house, getting a new car or toys etc and have those same financial goals you are working towards together as a team. Create your own financial bucket list.
To improve financial intimacy in your relationship, listen to the Ultimate Intimacy Podcast Episode 17 with Joseph and Marissa, with Forever Marriages found HERE You can also contact Joseph and Marissa HERE
Don’t forget to check out the free Ultimate Intimacy app to strengthen your relationship emotionally, physically and spiritually. Download free on the app stores or go to UltimateIntimacy.com for more info.