YOU’RE A HEALTHY PLANT
There is very little, if not any, financial infidelity in your relationship—and that’s fantastic!
Whether you’re proud of your money choices or not, you don’t let that get in the way of keeping a healthy, open line of communication with your spouse. You two may not have very many disagreements on this topic, but remember: all it takes is one little money secret to throw your relationship through a loop.
We aren’t saying that to scare you, but even if things are going pretty well right now, it’s always worth identifying and discussing the differences in your individual Money Personalities to prevent anything from occurring in the future. Keep up the good work!
IN SHORT, HERE ARE YOUR GROWTH STEPS:
WASH THE ROOTS
CONTINUE HAVING CONVERSATIONS
REPLANT YOUR LOVE
CONSIDER A MARRIAGE CONFERENCE
OR A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR TO
KEEP THINGS HEALTHY
NOW LET’S DIG IN DEEPER AND START TO GROW!
WASH THE ROOTS: CONTINUE HAVING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT MONEY
Communication is NOT key; intimate communication is. It’s important to actually be active in the conversation when you’re communicating. It isn’t just a quick, “How was your day?” Instead, ask deeper questions.
Money is one of those personal, touchy subjects that’s hard to talk about. Once you start working through the tough conversations, the ones about money will only come easier!
Communication is like a muscle—the more you do it, the stronger you become. Make sure that you’re working on that muscle often, so you can keep from the temptations of financial infidelity.
REPLANT YOUR LOVE: CONSIDER A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR/CONFERENCE TO KEEP THINGS HEALTHY
Relational tune-ups are a MUST! It’s important to give your relationship the TLC it needs to keep things running smoothly.
It’s just like having a car: to make sure everything is working properly, tune-ups are due after a certain mileage. These “maintenance checks” can come in the form of marriage conferences, marriage counseling, or Bible studies focused on marriage.
Studies indicate that couples who complete a full therapy journey benefit in more ways than one and show significant improvement in their relationship. Don’t let weird therapy myths stop you from recovering your marriage!
Excellence goes in one of two directions: it either continues, or it regresses. Right now you’ve experienced little, perhaps no, financial infidelity in your relationship. The way you and your spouse communicate about money probably inspires envy in your friends that are less fortunate. Moving forward, you have to continue doing what you’re doing while striving to be even better.
Life evolves after marriage, with kids and houses and career changes creating twists and turns in your journey as a couple. As things progress, your relationship and your communication tactics need to keep pace. Maintain the awareness you both have now, and don’t be afraid to take preventative measures to ensure happily every after lasts until the very end.
Work With an Advisor
While we don’t want to fix what isn’t broken, it’s also important not to rest on our laurels as life and relationships evolve. As you build wealth, your conversations around money will change. The temptation to commit small acts of infidelity ramps up quickly when you have extra capital and no idea what to do with it. When you connect with a qualified advisor, you make the smart choice for your marriage and your money.
It’s hard to prepare for a future beyond yourself, but there’s nothing more rewarding once you’ve finished the administrative business and can focus on your legacy. As a couple, having those shared goals for your children makes it so much easier to have conversations about sensitive subjects.
While a lot of this planning can be done on your own, help from an advisor always makes it go a little more smoothly. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees when you’re considering your own wealth and assets; a fresh set of eyes can alleviate a lot of the stress and reduce the pressure.
If you and your spouse have conflicting Money Personalities, it’s especially important to get a little help with estate planning. No matter how well you’ve communicated to this point, preparing your legacy is a whole new ballgame when you’ve got a Spender in one corner and a Saver in the other. Without losing any control over the process, a financial advisor can answer the questions that would otherwise have you stumped and make the whole thing feel a little less daunting.
Many married couples meet and fall in love after they’ve started their careers. They only know each other as working people, and then 30 years later they become an inseparable pair that no longer works and spends every second of the day together. We don’t give it much thought, but that’s a monumental shift.
Knowing that adjustment waits for you, having a retirement plan is an absolute necessity. Not only so you can stop working and enjoy growing old with your loved ones, but so you and your spouse can continue chasing goals even after the steady income dries up. If you haven’t talked about life 20 or 30 years down the road, an advisor can help facilitate that conversation.
More importantly, an advisor can help you realize the goals you have for retirement. If you both have the dream of leaving the workforce early to spend the rest of your days traveling, there might be a lot of arguing and fingerpointing if that never pans out. Knowing what you want is only half the battle—agreeing on how to actualize those dreams is what sets the haves and have-nots apart.
The future comes at us faster than we expect. Remember that retirement isn’t just an eternal end to the workweek; there’s a life you get to enjoy on the other side as well.
Communication is sort of a catch-all term these days. Anyone can mention the word and sound like a thoughtful psychiatrist, even though communication without substance is just the rudimentary exchange of words. When it comes to married couples avoiding the snares of financial infidelity, the key is having intimate conversations.
The longer people are together, the more their relationships become driven by routine and habit. The words you exchange before and after work take on the same patterns and carry less weight. If you let that go on too long, you start looking for novelty outside your relationship. That’s when financial infidelity rears its ugly head.
Ditch the Stale Stuff
If the only reason you and your partner do and talk about certain things is because, “that’s what we do,” you’re in need of a little reset. The habitual behavior might not have led to problems yet, but you want to get ahead of the curve on this. Same TV and book reading routine every night without much chatting? Try a crossword puzzle. Watch a documentary that makes you want to think and talk. Go for a walk.
There’s intrigue in newness, and that’s the one thing a lifelong commitment struggles to offer. If the discourse starts feeling too routine in your relationship, take it upon yourself to enact some changes that will reinvigorate the conversation. It’s not always easy, as we all know how hard old habits are to break. Finding a way to freshen things up can feel forced, which is why the intimacy is so important.
Communicating on a deeper level can solve so many problems. Surface-level dialogue can trick you into thinking you’ve got good communication techniques and everything is okay. It’s not until later on, when the infidelity sparks and things begin to unravel, that you realize the talking never went deep enough. When you speak personally, openly, and honestly, the seeds that would otherwise grow into problems get swept away.
Ask probing questions. Give honest answers. In those moments when you otherwise might say, “fine,” just to avoid getting into a discussion, don’t let yourself off the hook so easily. Financial infidelity thrives when secrets are kept and questions aren’t asked. If you talk to each other with intention, those issues are much more easily kept at bay.
Discuss the Differences
Discovering your Money Personalities can be an eye-opening experience—in both good ways and bad. When you learn more about the reasons behind your behavior, you gain so much understanding and immediately develop new coping mechanisms.
When you learn that your spouse’s financial wiring is the exact opposite of yours, that can feel like a slap in the face.
We have to remind ourselves that every Money Personality is great. They all have pros and cons and each helps to balance out the others. The last thing you want to do is avoid talking about the things that make you different; those mismatched qualities should be celebrated.
Each time a sensitive topic comes up, whether it’s putting away for your kids’ college or going to meet friends at a pricey steakhouse, take a little time to check in. Acknowledge those moments when your partner agrees to do something that makes you happy even though it irks them to their financial core. Marriage relies on a whole lot of give and take, and we should show gratitude for the moments when we’re on the receiving end.
Instead of waiting until after a fight to “remind” yourself that your partner’s perspective has value, actively embrace the qualities each of you brings. Take time to see things through your spouse’s eyes and learn through their lens. When you view your differences as a strength instead of a setback, the persistent money fights become much fewer and farther between.
To reiterate, you don’t need to work hard to fix something that’s already working. As true as the “ain’t broke” idiom may be, there’s a difference between repairing and routine maintenance. No matter how perfectly your car drives, you still take it in to get an oil change before you find yourself pulled off on the side of the highway with smoke coming out from under the hood.
A relational tune-up is a little harder to picture than the oh-so-familiar car maintenance, but it’s just as useful. Attending conferences and retreats, meeting with professionals or using therapy apps—it all keeps you a few steps ahead of the miscommunication and arguments that can quickly turn into financial infidelity.
What’s a marriage conference? Depends on the couple and the conference. You can go to a one-day talk from a person or people (The Money Couple, for example), or you can head to a week-long seminar with doctors and experts who examine the psychology of marriage.
It might be that you just reaffirm how good you have it. Speaker after speaker will talk about the troubles married couples endure, and you and your spouse will glance at each other with knowing “not us” looks. It’s also possible you’ll discover some underlying issues to bring into your regular discussions. Don’t go to a conference looking to find problems; just be open to any new things you might learn about each other.
If your communication is so good, and financial infidelity has absolutely no place in your marriage, maybe you can think about scheduling your own speaking gig at a conference. That might be a little far-fetched, but you can absolutely start on a smaller scale—talking to couples at your church or other parents at your children’s school. The act of conferring that happens at a conference can always be done in a more intimate setting, and it might just be that you’re the ones to help other couples in need.
Every so often, a husband and wife are so strong and steady in their communication, they forget to step outside their comfort zone and experience new things together. Perhaps it’s the fear of overspending on a vacation or an unwavering commitment to work. In this case, a couples retreat offers a chance to reunite outside of the ordinary patterns of your life.
Movies have us thinking of these retreats as the last-ditch effort for a couple on the brink of divorce, but that’s far from the truth. While the counselors might stress reconnecting and healing, even the happiest couple can still benefit from taking the time to focus squarely on each other, away from the bustle of everyday life.
When things are going well, we tend to forget the challenges that come with a lifelong commitment. Every day you’re making selfless choices because you understand your life is bigger than just one person. It’s okay to acknowledge that marriage isn’t always a cakewalk, and you and your spouse deserve a trip to Hawaii or the Bahamas where you can just celebrate yourselves and the work you do. Be indulgent. You’ve earned it.
We’ve advised a lot of newlyweds to get into counseling even when nothing was wrong. Sitting down with a therapist can be just as useful as a preventative practice as it can when something’s gone wrong and needs to be solved. Structured discussion is good for our mental health and it’s very good for addressing small issues that are otherwise hard to bring up.
Don’t write off therapy as a sign of struggle. It’s a commitment to continued growth and an investment in your future.
Stay the Course
Without becoming complacent or turning a blind eye to whatever issues might lie beneath the surface, you can take inventory of all the things you’re doing right and make sure you don’t let those habits slip. Awareness and gratitude help us remain on the right path, especially when outside forces try to tempt us to stray.
Be proud of the work you’ve done and the connection you’ve built. The process never ends, but continuing to choose honesty and respect makes it so much easier to overcome whatever financial anxieties might pop up.
You’re never immune to financial infidelity, but consistent communication and a focus on common goals will have you poised to deal with any potential issues. Keep at it and enjoy the journey together.