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"The Issue of Money in Spiritual Partnership"

by Susie and Otto Collins

Sex and money are two of the biggest issues that challenge couples.  Today we're going to talk about money and the unique opportunities for growth in tackling these issues.

So why does money drive a wedge between two people who are committed to one another? We all come from different backgrounds and carry different values and belief systems from our birth families and life experiences.

Here are some ways we see people differ on this issue:

1. Spender and Saver Combination
One person likes to spend money while the other person prefers saving over spending.

2. Never taught about money
Most people aren't taught how to deal with money with a partner.  They use their parent's model.

3. Two people--different goals for their financial lives
One person's concern may be paying for a child's college education while the other person may want to save for a vacation home.

There are many more examples that we could list. The most important thing we have discovered is that when there are unresolved money issues in a relationship, there are problems with safety and trust.

In a relationship where there are safety and trust issues surrounding money, you can almost always trace it back to one person having more either real or perceived power in the relationship and the other feeling more vulnerable.

So, we have some tips on dealing with money that we've used in our spiritual partnership and they may work for you.

1. Examine your perceptions about money.
Ask yourself who was your role model for your beliefs about money and then question if these beliefs still serve you.  Susie's parents lived during the depression and saving money was an important part of their lives.  Therefore Susie likes the security of having a financial cushion to fall back on.  To Otto, saving money does not have the importance that it does to Susie.We've discovered that we were both out of balance and need to come to the center on this issue.

2. If you decide to form a partnership, decide in advance how you are going to handle the finances. Early in our relationship, we decided to share equally the household expenses but not combine our personal finances.  It has been important to us to feel like equal partners and this was one way that we could do it.  This is only one model that works for us because are individual incomes are similar.  This may not work in your circumstance.  All we are saying is to consciously decide about finances.

3. Discuss what each of you values in the area of finances.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?  Talk about them with your partner.  It's only after you know what's important to you and your partner, can you move forward toward having the needs of both met.

4. When misunderstandings arise, listen to your partner and try to understand the frame of reference he/she is coming from. A simple problem of semantics like the one we had recently illustrates this point.  Last week when we were discussing business finances, Otto felt tight and restricted when Susie used the word "budget".  His frame of reference as 20 years in sales suggested to him that budgets were rigid and could never be changed.  Budgets were imposed from on high.  He preferred to talk about plans.  Susie's frame of reference comes from managing a library and she deals with budgets everyday.  A budget does not have a negative connotation to her but is merely a business tool. It was only until after each of us understood the other's frame of reference for this word could we resolve it and move past this issue.

In your relationships, whether you're talking about money or anything else, it's important to constantly communicate, one moment at a time.  It's important to understand and respect your partner's needs, their desires, their frame of reference and their values, as well as your own.


Susie and Otto Collins
P.O. Box 14544
Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 459-8121

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