Couples fight about many things—but, above everything else, frequency of money disputes remains the single best predictor of divorce says Leon F. Seltzer, PhD. in an article written in Psychology Today. Also, a study by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University found the more frequent couples argued over finances, the more likely they were to get divorced—especially if their fights occurred several times a week.
Couples are having a difficult time communicating and compromising over money. This difficulty is not because they don’t love each other or because they are incapable of communicating, they just don’t have the tools, training, or mentality needed. Loving your partner can be an essential part of a happy marriage but it is just not enough. In fact, falling out of love is not as detrimental to the relationship if the couple is equipped with skills to cope through the low period in their marriage.
As a psychotherapist I find that couples who maintain some level of life longer learning and self-development are able to better manage the ups and downs. Understanding your mentality for handling life, love, and money challenges will help you better communicate. Money is emotional and it is driven by the past money history that each partner brings to the relationship. Most of us believe that we are approaching our money decisions logically but the truth is we are relying on our past experience to help guide us through the next financial decision. Even when we know our past experience has not served us, we still use it.
When you have to make a financial decision the first thing that happens is you have a thought about that decision, which then brings a feeling, that feeling then brings an action. This happens over and over again and becomes a habit. The only way to change the habit is to adjust the original thought and feeling that triggered the negative behavior.
Your negative and positive money behaviors are governed by your past money history, we will call that your Money Mentality. Money Mentality is your money personality and it determines how you navigate the Money Cycle. At Presidential Lifestyle, we define the Money Cycle as earn, grow, protect, gift, and enjoy your money. If you want to better navigate the Money Cycle you must first learn your Money Mentality and adjust it to better serve you and your partners desires.
To better understand your heart’s desire you can create a Money Mission that describes how you want to earn, grow, protect, gift, and enjoy your money as a couple. Couples who complete a Money Mission define their values and goals in each of these areas and are able to then communicate, compromise, and collaborate. By doing this they become a winning team in love, life, and money.
When you know your (and your partner’s) Money Mentality you are empowered by better understanding your positive and negative money traits. It is also helpful to know your partners positive and negative money traits. By knowing this you can work together successfully to adjust. Not to criticize your partner but to find ways to support your partner. This first step helps couples reduce arguments immediately. With this first step accomplished couples can go further in their financial planning.
Financial stress and money arguments may be the top determinants for divorce but they’re not the only reasons couples join together financially. Many couples join to take their finances to the next level, to have accountability for their goals, or to reach their full potential. All of these can also take the relationship to it’s next level and full potential. Having a money day is a great way to date your partner while learning something new about your financial goals together. Try planning a special time to work on your Money Mission Statement together. Then set a date to review it periodically so that you stay on track.
The time you spend with your partner on Money Day can increase your income, savings, and overall life enjoyment. It can also help you reduce stress, frustration, and debt.
Here is a step-by-step processes to get you started with your own Money Mission.
1. Understand your Money Mentality (personality)
2. Understand your partners Money Mentality
3. Determine each partners values around money
4. Determine each couples goals in each area of the Money Cycle
5. Merge those goals into a family goal
6. Determine where you are now
7. Use financial advisors, financial therapist, this blog and others to help you design a plan to help you bridge gap between where you are and where you want to be.
Most importantly track your success. Progress is an important part of seeing yourself through to the end. Accountability is another important part of the process. Everyone needs a little push sometimes to don’t give up on each other, when the times get hard. Keep going. Go back and remember where you started to help you remember your overall objective.
Money Mission is a course that I offer but you can also do it on your own. Completing the Money Mission can help you feel more confident about yourself, your relationship, and your future. Your Money Mission can guide your daily activity, your thoughts, and your feeling about money and keep you on track.
When you are on track financially and you have adjusted your emotions around money to fit the new family mission you reduce the money arguments that can so often lead to divorce. When you take the money argument off the table what’s left to argue about? Wait don’t answer that…enjoying the feeling of knowing you’ll have one less argument once you complete your Money Mission together.
Curious about your Money Mentality? Take the Money Mentality Quiz today, click here.