Heidi was beyond frustrated when her husband Ted once again refused to have “the talk” about their finances.
They had combined their incomes when they got married–a second marriage for both of them–and she’d taken on paying the house bills because Ted said he wasn’t good with keeping track of bills.
She hadn’t minded doing that job (she liked being “in charge”)…
But what she did mind was that they had separate credit cards and from all the new “stuff” that appeared in their home, she was afraid he’d run up quite a debt on his card.
Heidi paid off her credit card every month and was frankly uncomfortable with debt of any kind, especially one she didn’t know about.
Since he refused to talk about it and side-stepped every conversation she tried to have with him, she contacted us to talk about her situation to get some new ways of handling it with him.
Here’s what she discovered about her money conflicts during our conversation…
1. We all view money differently based on past experiences
So many of our beliefs about finances are based on our role models, how we were raised and previous financial experiences.
It may seem obvious when you step back and see it that way but it’s what most couples seem to forget that lead to “I’m right. You’re wrong” arguments.
Since money was MUCH easier for Heidi because she’d been raised by parents who saved and spent only what was necessary…
It was easier for her to budget, to manage, and to see her desires for what she truly wanted.
It was easier for her to see that money was just a tool to get what was needed in life and not something to fill a hole inside her.
Ted, on the other hand, grew up always wanting more, working odd jobs and immediately spending his pay on whatever caught his interest in the moment.
His motto was “spend it when you have it” (or in the case of credit cards–“spend it even when you don’t have it”)…
And saving wasn’t anything he’d ever thought about doing.
2. Look at your beliefs about money and how they contribute to the conflict
When Heidi took a few moments to stop and look inside, she saw that she definitely felt she was superior to Ted when it came to finances and he was a failure.
She also saw that it was no wonder that he refused to talk with her about this credit card situation because although she tried not to shame him…
Her beliefs came through in her body language and in her invitation to talk.
She could see that he probably hadn’t wanted to be emotionally beaten up like he feared she would do.
She was surprised to also see that beneath her obvious expertise was a deep fear of losing what she had.
3. Find a place of compassion and understanding for the other person
As Heidi considered Ted’s upbringing, she became more compassionate and understood that he didn’t always do things her way or see eye to eye with her about finances.
As she opened her heart to him, she no longer saw his way of dealing with money as some sort of defect or character flaw that needed to be fixed.
But, instead was something to be understood and even loved…
No matter how much she wanted him to change and be more like her.
She might even learn something from HIM!
She realized that maybe she didn’t have to hold on so tightly to her money and maybe she could let this fear go while still staying true to her values.
A week or so later, we heard from Heidi that she and Ted had been able to talk and make some agreements about their finances.
She told us that as she’d softened toward Ted, he’d softened and had become more open to having an honest conversation about their goals as a couple.
As she’d listened without judging him, he was more honest and they discovered they could come together and appreciate each other in ways they hadn’t before.
Resolving money problems in relationships can be easier than it has been for you.