Emotional intimacy is the key to a healthy marriage and necessary for developing financial harmony. The secret to creating emotional intimacy is for each of you to meet the needs that are most important to the other. Emotional intimacy is key because it produces authentic trust and respect.
Studies show that married people who behave as true financial partners tend to do better financially and emotionally. So if you haven’t already, you and your spouse need to make a commitment to each other to become equal financial partners in your marriage. This can be a verbal or written commitment, whichever suits you best. For some spouses, this step of commitment will mean giving up control. For others, it will require them to get involved.
Begin thinking of the financial aspects of your marriage as a business rather than an extension of your relationship. As business partners you:
Have trust in and respect for each other’s unique abilities, knowledge and skills.
Bring individual strengths and abilities to the partnership.
Have no secrets. Each of you is fully aware of the other’s activities and of the state of their business.
Do not make independent decisions, and when there is a disagreement or conflict, you negotiate and compromise until you reach a solution that both of you can agree to enthusiastically.
Make decisions with the best interest of the partnership in mind and are fully committed to the success of the partnership.
Think of all the different hats you wear in your daily life; even the different hats you wear in your marriage. You need to know when to put on your financial partner hat, which signals that it’s time to shift into money management mode.
I suggest that in the beginning you schedule weekly business meetings, at which time you wear your non-emotional money-management hats. I know that the idea of one-on-one meaningful conversations with all electronic devices turned off and the door closed can be threatening for some couples. And it can be particularly difficult if money issues have turned into barriers that are repelling rather than attracting the spouses.
Some are reluctant to converse on an emotional level. That may be part personality trait, but more likely it’s wrapped up in fear — fear of being known, fear of opening up, fear of being found out.
These days there seem to be studies relating to just about any topic you can possibly imagine. And sure enough, there’s a study that says about 70 percent of all conflicts in marriage resolve themselves by simply talking about them. Communication is the secret, and time spent together cannot help but affect your relationship in ways you never dreamed possible.
By opening the door to the most private place in your heart and soul and taking the risk of letting your spouse in, you will be taking a huge step toward the kind of intimacy that promotes financial harmony.
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 23 books, including her 2012 release, “7 Money Rules for Life.” You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.