Because money issues in relationships cause so many challenges, we want to challenge your view of it.
What is money?
Money is totally made up. Physical money has been paper, cotten, linen and coin with dead presidents on them.
Now they are numbers in bank accounts and credit cards.
Your family of origin had a money culture and you’ve formulated your ideas about how to spend money, how not to spend it and what to do with it–either embracing their way or even the opposite.
Take for instance, buying Christmas presents (or presents in general).
A person in our world spends many hundreds of dollars at Christmas on a large number of people including us and no matter how many times we talked about simplifying our gift-giving, she doesn’t change.
The truth is we all think our way is the only way.
Susie grew up in a family of savers and conservative spenders.
Otto grew up with the idea that if you want it, you go get it. According to him, a lot of times those ways to “go get it” weren’t the smartest things to do.
That’s where we had our biggest differences and arguments.
Over the years, we’ve had a wonderful connected relationship but money is one place we weren’t in alignment.
But the last few years we’ve turned a corner.
How we’ve turned a corner can be the story of any couple.
The story of money goes like this…
We humans have this thing called money and in and of itself it doesn’t have any value.
But we’ve made up the stories around this topic that we live by.
“If they’re not doing or are doing this, then they’re wrong.”
That’s one of the key places that was a shift for us.
Not making the other person wrong and that’s not easy when you have this belief that spending a lot of money is not where you’re at.
Otto’s a big expansive guy and he gets lots of ideas.
Susie would hear Otto saying he wanted this–and this–and this–
And she would get overwhelmed at Otto’s “wants” and would get defensive and freeze, not deciding anything.
Her thoughts would run something like this…
“I don’t want to buy all that or go to all those trainings. I don’t want to go into debt.”
Otto’s thinking said, “She’s so restrictive. How can she possibly be that restrictive.”
What we had to do was learn to calm down, connect with each other first, and listen without getting defensive to what the other person really wanted.
With that realization, Susie made a request…
“You know what would be really helpful to me is for you to decide what you absolutely wanted and presented that to me and then we talk about it–not just throwing things at me.”
And that’s what Otto did as we learned a new way of dealing with money topics.
When resolving money issues, you shift from “How can I make you wrong?” to “What can I learn from you?”
This was many moments of insight where we saw that the way the other saw things is important.
The key for Susie is seeing that she could expand to be open to possibilities and still have her values. She found she was narrowing because of her fear–fears that she had made up that weren’t true. Her fear closed her in.
When she looked at Otto as her beloved, she saw there was probably something here for her to learn and when she became curious, she could open a little bit.
Otto learned from Susie that saving money doesn’t have to be restrictive. It can be freedom. He used to look at money that if you lived within a budget then that’s restrictive.
Susie’s come to see more possibilities and Otto’s come to see freedom in saving.
We’re not saying this happened overnight. It can be gradual but yet the insights that can shift you can happen in an instant.
You can turn a corner real quick when it comes to money issues.
Everybody’s thinking is so transitory and changes from moment to moment.
Arguments about money aren’t about the amount you have.
It’s about hanging onto “my way is the right way.”
You do have a choice when you’re discussing money.
Susie forgot when she became overwhelmed. You slow the conversation down so you can see something new.
Overwhelment comes from thinking you don’t have a choice.
You make up a meaning. There is no right way. There is no wrong.
There’s only the thinking you’ve brought to life from your consciousness that you’ve made real.
And it’s not.
Our story is very similar to many couples whether the topic is money issues or not where you’re not listening to one another and get overwhelmed because of thinking.
If you’re only out to prove the other wrong, that’s not a recipe for closeness and deeper love.
The shift that happened for us is the same shift that can happen for anyone in a close, connected relationship.