Love and Money: The No-Stress Approach
Money is the main source of stress in many relationships, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Combining finances with your significant other can be—and should be—just as much fun as sharing a bottle of wine. It is true that money may not buy love, but fighting about it will bankrupt your relationship. It is important for people who profess to love one another and even have children together, to learn to do so without having money issues that will doom the relationship. People have to learn how to communicate effectively as well as how to develop the art of compromise and not find themselves in constant struggles. Many couples think that if they made more money, their financial issues would go away. That is far from the truth; in fact, the problems and issues become larger and more expensive.
In dealing with love and money it is important for couples to be prepared to have an open discussion about everything financial—credit history, debt load, income, retirement plans and their views and values about money. This, of course, should be done once they have passed the dating stage of their relationship and may be thinking of marriage or some other permanent relationship.
Couples often find out that they may have significantly different views about finances that can cause a halt to love. Oftentimes couples are less than forthright on the financial questions and somehow expect the issues on which they may disagree, to work themselves out. That is usually never the case. People can change, but change is difficult to achieve. There are persons who are not prepared to compromise on certain issues. In looking at love and money, it is important for couples to look for “those” red flags and address them. Be sure that you can get both you and your partner to the table to discuss and compromise if necessary on those money issues. The communication must be something that both parties are prepared to entertain. If your partner is shutting you down whenever you want to talk money, you have three choices. Stay and put up with the differences and the eventual conflicts, walk, or run for help.
In the event that you decide to stay and run for help, you might be able to find counseling in a number of places. Check out your religious organization. Look for a program that includes a comprehensive session on money management, including covering the emotional issues about managing your money. Check with your benefits office at work. Many employee benefit packages include referrals to counseling services. You may wish to check out professional organizations for counseling. Some agencies offer help to couples dealing with money issues.
Perhaps one of the most important guidelines that a couple can follow in addressing love and money is the No-Stress Approach, whereby they can set up a number of money rules which should address how they will deal with financial issues in their household. This is an area that couples pay scant attention to, but one which should have rules of engagement that must include rules for how to be civil and have respectful disagreements and never fight about money. The rules should not be changed unless there is an agreement by both parties. In deciding on the financial rules, recognition must be given to whether or not there is room for financial secrets. There should be a plan to meet regularly to discuss family finances. There should be an agreement to operate under a budget and an agreement to adhere to it.
Having a set of financial rules which one could use as a guide may seem too formal and businesslike, but if there is going to be financial peace in a love and money relationship that should last, then there must be rules that would govern the financial behavior. Will the rules be broken? Sure they will. But having them as a baseline of how to conduct yourself will help you quickly get back on track when the rules are broken.
It is most important for parties to strive for a love and money relationship that has little, or better still, manageable stress. The “Mighty Sparrow,” a Caribbean Calypsonian in his “No Money No Love” song, gives us a number of consequences that are the result of not having money in a relationship. He tells the story about the female partner who complained about staying in a relationship where there was not enough money to spur the love and keep it going. The lyrics of the song are worth some attention. Of course couples should ensure that their relationship never gets to that level. Love and money can co-exist. Just follow the No-Stress Approach.
“No Money, No Love” don’t have to be the route to follow. Here an excerpt from the song:
Ivy pack up she clothes to leave
Because John was down and out
All alone he was left to grieve
She had a next man in South
She said openly
I really love you Johnny
But you ain’t have no money
So what will my future be
Even though you love me?
We can’t love without money
We can’t make love on hungry belly
Johnny you’ll be the only one I’m dreaming of
You’re my turtle dove
But no money no love