And I, the relationship expert, didn’t even truly know THEN, just what an epic piece of the relationship puzzle this truly was, till THIS PAST YEAR!
Not me, not my partner…Neither of us had any real idea what an integral starring role this plays our very successful partnership. And now that we do know, we can’t stop seeing WHY this is such a big deal.
Just last week, as my husband and I were wandering around the streets of Paris, on a quick city break…we found ourselves having this convo again about this integral element of our relationship bliss, that we had absolutely no idea during the dating and early relationship phase, was such going to prove to be such a BIGGIE secret weapon in our marital happiness!
This particular deep BIG OL’ core value issue comes up for many of my coaching clients, and it is, hands down, the hardest one to align and move towards reconciliation around…
What is possibly the most super crazy???
NOBODY, NOT THE EXPERTS, NOT OTHER HAPPY COUPLES, NOT ALL THE RELATIONSHIP ADVICE MALARKEY ONLINE… NOBODY IS TALKING ENOUGH ABOUT THIS ELEMENT!!
Check it out. I know that my husband isn’t a unicorn. He’s not some mythological beast and I just happened to stumble across. I know our marriage is not just magically easy. It takes active work on self-awareness, compassion and communication to make ANY partnership thrive. And our relationship, is no different. HOWEVER, we did get off on the best possible start, in one area, by luck really!
Okay, let me back track for a minute here…
Before I met Mark, I had invested in love coaching, because my dating and love life was a #hotmessexpress. In fact, love was my ultimate Achilles heel, for years. No matter how much improvement I saw in every other area of my life, my romantic relationships lagged behind my usual badassery,. My love life truly resembled a rescue puppy dog headed back to the shelter.
One of the MANY results of that coaching work, was that I was way more intentional about WHO I was choosing and WHY.
I had a relatively firm grasp on my CORE VALUES and had TAKEN OUT just enough of the ‘love will conquer all’ aesthetic, that was so not serving me, so I could make healthy relationship choices that were both practical and loving, towards myself and others.
I had learned that CONNECTION was the fuel for LOVE. I also learned, that living with someone day in and day out, was the real nitty gritty of what can make or break a partnership. That lasting CONNECTION was about ALIGNMENT.
GUESS WHAT? Even with ALL that knowledge, there was one thing that truly was luck. Or at the very least, I had no idea would prove to one of the most important reasons my marriage works so well.
A day to day, core value issue, we both had no idea was so important, and that I give thanks for every day, that we got right, without even knowing how right we needed to get it, before we said, I DO.
Of all the things we identified during our chats, like our high level of mutual respect, the goodwill we have for one another, and the mega trust we had built… the ONE THING that really had one of the greatest impacts on why we are able to co-habitate and build a life with one another, was the least hippy dippy, wooo wooo of all???
HELLLLLO, MONEY MINDSET!!
ICK, Money? Where is the rom-com, period drama like love in that??
Here’s the deal. My husband and I have very similar outlook on money. It’s value, how to spend it, when to save it, where is the best place to put it, and what having it and not having it, means to us. Our money mindset is not identical. Emotionally I see money as independence and power, power to live a particular lifestyle and power to help others. The hubba hubba, he emotionally ties money to security and stability. The means to those different emotional ends, is where we are so very aligned.
We rarely disagree on the monetary value of things. We both had almost the exact number in mind when it came to putting on that quite expensive party of a wedding and no one is off sneaking around buying things and smuggling them into the house. When I see a parade of Amazon purchases showing up on our doorstep, I don’t go running to check the bank balance. I KNOW it's not in his nature to spend crazy money on nonsense we don't need and I too do not spend crazy money on nonsense we don't need! (For the record, I did NEED all those French moisturizers I bought in Paris!)
Our intellectual and emotional response to what money should be spent and what should be saved, are in alignment.
Before we got married, we moved in together; Without too much discussion, we opened a joint checking account. We both still had our separate checking, savings investment accounts. When we got married, we consolidated ALL our money, aside from some retirement investments, without much deliberation or concern whatsoever. We could only do that so easily, confidently (and freely) because we shared the same money mindset, and on that foundation, trust around money was easier to cultivate.
All of our individual purchases came from the very same account. Full stop. At the time, I made well over twice as much money as he did, and never for a second was I worried he would go off ‘spending all MY money’. We split most things down the middle however from time to time, I gladly spent more, since I had more, without feeling any sense of injustice. My husband, gratefully, does not tie his masculinity (or provider status) to bank balances, so he never felt threatened by our income disparity.
When I left my old career to pursue a coaching certification and start my business, it was all swings and round-a-bouts those first coupe of years, with who was earning and providing more money. As a couple, there was little distress on our union, even though our overall income dropped considerably.
I am not saying, joint accounts are THE KEY answer! I am saying...
Looking back, we both realized that MONEY MINDSET was so crucial to our happiness levels in our life, and our marriage.
Arguments over money and lifestyle associated to money is high up on the marriage killer offender list. LIKE, WAY WAY UP THERE.
As a Relationship Coach, who works with couples week in and week out, I can tell you that some of the most bitter resentments and seemingly insurmountable trials in many of these partnerships, is around money mindset.
The one thing every single one of us does EVERY DAY, even if we don’t leave the house, is breathe.. and spend money. That light on my desk and the internet whirring silently, as I type this, are costing me money.
So what does an aligned money mindset look like?
Well, firstly aligned doesn’t equate to mirrored. Some differences in views around money can go a long way. I can think of a few people I know, who the very last thing they need, is someone who spends money the way they do! Either because, they would be in Las Vegas every night OR because they would save every last penny earned and never EVER go on holiday!
HOWEVER, alignment is about two (or more) things moving in the same direction at the same time. It’s an overall shared trajectory and understanding of what effect money has on our physical, mental and emotional well being.
There is no avoiding the hard truth, that in our world, money represents security. Yet, perhaps the greatest contradiction, is that having more money doesn’t always makes different people feel the same way.
Biggie Smalls said it best “Mo’ money Mo problems”.
This is why, even a couple who has ‘all the monies’ can be the couple who fights most viciously about that same money. There is where the crux of alignment shows it’s face most clearly.
It's NOT about how much or how little money there is, but our relationship and engagement with money, that matters.
It's whether we are operating from a place of scarcity or abundance around money, and if we are behaving from possessive dependency or transparent interdependence.
For those of you have yet to find your partner to be, I encourage you to dig deep about how you really FEEL about and actively associate with money.
It’s all very taboo in our society to talk about money and love together, however, please push past the messaging that this isn’t something that’s spiritual or loving or ‘done’ and start digging.
The more clearly we choose a life partner based on our Core Values, the better chance we have at sustaining connection and love, for the long haul.
For those of you reading this, who are in partnerships, and you are now thinking right now, ‘uh oh, we got big, BIG problems in this area’, please know that alignment is achievable, even for those who are frighteningly out of whack.
Willingness and understanding, of ourselves and our partners money mindset, is the base to which we can align ourselves to be moving in the same direction!
We have to want to, and we have to be open to the idea, that our way is not the only, right way. Alignment is NOT bending others to our will! As impossible as it may feel to you, I can guarantee that IF you proactively open yourself up to new ideas, and processes every day… in your relationship, at work, with friends, even on your holiday bookings, ALIGNMENT becomes possible!
Sending you ALL the love! xx