When it comes to relationships, research shows that there are 4 areas where conflict tends to most readily occur between couples.
Can you guess what they are?
In no particular order, they are…
Therefore, we are excited for this blog to be written by one of our Relationship Coaches here at the Center for Thriving Relationships, Sue Fratianni, who specializes in helping couples navigate finances with a whole lot more ease and harmony. May it be of service! ❤️
As the new year unfolds, many of us are starting new habits and working to be better versions of ourselves. We are making amazing plans and looking forward to our BEST YEAR EVER.
Perhaps you are envisioning buying a new home, taking an inspiring trip or paying off debt. You may also have the bloat of additional holiday spending on your mind, and money conflicts with your beloved are on the rise. You are not alone.
This is completely normal!
As mentioned above, money fights are among the top 4 conflicts in relationships. Following are tips to help you and your sweetie navigate money matters with more ease and grace as we welcome the new year.
Here they are…
1. Be sure you are investing in your LOVE account.
Shift the focus towards appreciation of your beloved for the contributions they make to the relationship, and watch the hard edges of money conflicts soften before your eyes.
Fill up your beloved’s bucket with appreciation of the hard work, time, effort, planning, patience, kindness, grace, understanding and love they uniquely offer to you and your family.
Keeping your love account abundantly full is a key ingredient to nurturing the more tender places in your relationship — and will make conversations around money flow with much greater ease.
2. Schedule a regular money DATE.
Spending regular quality time with your beloved helps you stay in sync, and money matters are no different.
So, get out your sparkly new planners and put a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly money date on the calendar today.
This is your time to dedicate towards reaching your money dreams. Start with 30 minutes.
Pick a time and place that is distraction-free and when you can be at your best.
And set yourselves up for success with a comfortable environment and cozy comforts like a cup of tea, yummy snack, uplifting music, candles and inspiring location.
Be gentle with each other.
Honor that this may be a stretch for you or your partner to show up as your best selves in this new way, so set a timer and wrap it up.
Keep reading for ideas about what to do on your money dates!
3. Get clear on your money goals and DREAMS.
Try some open-ended prompts to get clarity around your vision such as:
“It would be amazing if ….“ or “Something I would like to simplify about our finances is …” or “At the end of this year, I would like to see …”
Spend time sharing your dreams and listening to your beloved’s.
Practice mirroring (repeating back in your own words) what your partner is sharing. Write down ideas and notes.
You may wish to do this a few times until a shared vision becomes clearer.
Then, get specific about setting achievable goals and a timeframe to reach them.
Spark your creativity to keep your money dreams visually in focus by doing things like creating a vision board, posting inspirational messages around the house, or visually charting your progress.
Then, celebrate each step towards your dreams on your next money date.
4. RESIST the urge to blame and criticize.
Communication with your beloved quickly detours with a heated round of who’s to blame about your current financial situation.
Rather than point out how you got to where you are, revisit your money dreams. Focus on where you want to be and the steps to get there.
When you feel defensive or critical, take a moment to consider what you may be contributing to the situation.
Take personal accountability for the part you uniquely play in your money conflicts and what you can change moving forward.
5. Get CURIOUS about your beloved’s money story.
What was your sweetie’s first introduction to money matters growing up that may impact them?
What beliefs about finances do they have now?
Where do you differ? Where are you similar?
Getting curious about your partner’s perspective on money matters helps identify the tender places that may show up and need extra care. Understanding the past gives you the opportunity to give your beloved grace when they are not their best selves.
6. Play to your STRENGTHS.
Often in relationships, we attract a mate who complements us, who has qualities in excess that we may have in limited supply– someone who finds tasks fun and exciting that you think are grueling and draining.
Are you a saver or a spender? Are you a planner, or do you favor spontaneity? Do you enjoy thoroughly researching purchases or intuitively making selections?
By honoring your unique strengths, you work as a team to give each other an opportunity to shine and contribute to the success of your financial wellness.
Put whoever is the planner among you to work creating the budget and scheduling money dates. Engage the free spirit in your partnership to work in creating visual money dream reminders and brainstorming low-cost activities for the family. Show up as your full unique selves and contribute the best you can offer. And allow your sweetie to take the lead when it’s their turn to shine.
7. Be the BOSS of your budget.
Tell your money where you want it to go, rather than wonder where it went. Yes, that means you need a budget! A budget is making decisions about the most impactful way to earn, spend and save your money.
Check in with your money dreams, and make sure your budget is in alignment with where you want to be.
Take a look at how you earned and spent your money last year.
Then, budget how you want to earn and spend your money this year.
Start with key areas such as housing, food, childcare, transportation and savings goals.
If you are saving to buy a house, be sure your monthly savings goal is in the budget.
If your goals include being debt-free in 3 years, include your debt payments in the budget.
Spend time on your money dates reviewing and tweaking your budget to stay focused on meeting your goals.
8. Set a mindset of financial wellness as SELF CARE.
Shifting your focus to taking care of money matters with your beloved as part of your self care, like eating well, getting regular exercise, and quality sleep, allows you to develop long-term habits that will help you nurture your relationship, navigate conflict and reach your money dreams.
Wishing you all the best of abundance, happiness, and success in 2024!
– Sue Fratianni
Relationship and Finance Coach with the Center for Thriving Relationships
Sue specializes in helping individuals and couples address money conflicts in their relationships, simplify their finances, and empower them to make lasting changes to create their best life. As a Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach with a Master’s in Education, she provides warm guidance and resources for you and your beloved to take action towards relieving stress over money.
Do you have questions about handling money matters with your beloved or want personal, private, and confidential support in your relationship around financial wellness?
We invite you to book a session with our Thriving Relationship and Finance Coach, Sue Fratianni.