Thank you for adding RelationshipVision to your top blog picks for Relationship Training!
Your infographic, 8 Eye Opening Findings about Money and Relationships provides relevant, accurate and valuable information pertaining to issues that stress relationships the most.
Certainly money may be the most common precipitating factor for conflicts to arise and cause relationship discord and breakdown. However, I got the impression that Tague had relied on statistics to make money the primary focus, but leads to a misleading conclusion. In many ways, he is missing the forest for the trees. Let’s go through some the points he makes that can give a false impression or lead to an inaccurate conclusion.
“Finances are the leading cause of relationship stress (35% of the people asked about where there is the most tension in the relationship said money, annoying habits came in second).” There is nothing inherently about $, or, any other issue for that matter, can be attributed to be cause the discord or relationship breakdown. In most of these relationships, there will likely be an ability or aversion to addressing problems in general, and to achieve some understanding and resolve by talking through them. When couples are able to address and resolve issues through dialogue, they’re able to talk about anything, and get closer and know each other better in the process.
Another money issue causing conflict is that “one of us is a saver and the other a spender.” 75% of the couples interviewed said that they believe that, “birds of a feather flock together,” that they be best off with someone who is stylistically like them. This statistic obscures when of the keys in sustaining an emotionally fulfilling relationship is being able to accept and embrace each other’s differences, which are gong to be many. If it’s not ‘spender’ and ‘saver,’ it’s going to be something else. Sure it probably works better if two people are similar with regards to spending or saving, but there are going to be other differences that will come up and pose challenges, and how will they deal with them, especially when they feel threatened by them is the question.
“35% said that they don’t consult the other when making a larger purchase.” Again, in these situations, larger purchases are not going to be the sole topic or behavior that doesn’t get discussed. In relationships in which both people are accustomed to being open, honest, transparent and more disclosing, they will be more inclined to discuss, check-in, compare notes; and in relationships in which they are not accustomed to communicate, there will be a number of other issues that will not get discussed.
“Hiding money, not reporting money spent, avoiding talking about it out of fear of arguing.” Whenever there is a fear of arguing or aversion to conflict, that fear often leads to “hiding, not talking or avoiding” all kinds of issues, which will invariably create tension and distance. They will become accustomed to feel unsafe in the relationship, censoring and qualifying their communication out of fear of an upset.
“Keeping secrets” – When there is secrecy, there is going to be secrecy about a number of issues, not just money matters.
What I have learned from 30+ years as a psychotherapist, couples and family therapist is that the primary, most common cause of relationship discord and breakdown is the lack of experience and skills that make intimacy possible.The likelihood is that in relationships in which there is money-related discord, that money is not the only issue that leads to discord, there is going to be a boatload of other issues weighing on the relationship, and those in the relationship will not be inclined to address issues, nor be able to resolve conflict. al, as well as to meet and connect with each other.
More specifically the biggest, most common factor contributing to relationship discord and breakdown is the lack of Self.
“A healthy relationship is comprised of two separate, whole and autonomous entities or Selves who build a bridge of understanding that connects them. A relationship with one’s Self is a pre-requisite. “That quality of your life and relationships reacts the quality of the relationship with your Self.” When no one is home in themselves, communication, understanding, intimacy, conflict resolution becomes very difficult, if not, impossible to achieve. Most people lack the necessary experience and skills to make healthy, intimate and emotionally nourishing relationships because they are underdeveloped themselves, and they haven’t learned or been trained in the art of relating and intimacy. Their respective ability to listen and openly and freely express themselves to one another and achieve understanding that makes them feel closer and more connected, which is what ultimately determines whether any issue becomes problematic, whether it’s about money, sex, in-laws, differences, etc.
Going through the process of exploring and identifying their respective overall beliefs and practices, stylistic and philosophical differences, aligning on their overall goals and purpose, and getting in synch enough to develop and implement a financial plan affords them a tremendous opportunity to bond, deepen and grow the relationship like nothing else could, short of having and raising children together.