What is at the heart of financial disagreements? Why is the impact on relationships so pervasive? The answer lies in part in what money represents.
Money represents our time, energy, and talents. When we work, we are exchanging our efforts for money. Therefore, we have certain expectations of what that money will give us – security, status, freedom, material possessions, et cetera. It’s a twist on “your heart is where your treasure is,” as noted by Jesus (Matt 6:21). In other words, our priorities are tied to our finances. So, economic arguments are actually disagreements regarding priorities.
When we feel our priorities are not acknowledged and our financial need(s), e.g., security or status, are not being met, we often interpret it disrespectfully. We feel unheard, discarded, or unimportant to our partner. As a result, communication is reduced to talking at one another. Sex, if it happens at all, is reduced to an act to meet a physical need. (See my Sex & Intimacy post to remedy this situation.) Connection withers and authenticity no longer feels safe.
So, rather than arguing about money, try having an open conversation about priorities and future plans.
Contact me for help facilitating the conversation or building a budget that honors both of your priorities.
Angela W. Startz, MAHSC, CCLC