The sexual and financial dynamics in a marriage are powerful. They greatly affect the success of failure of the relationship. Stereotypically it is said that men control the money and women control the bedroom. Generally there is a correlation between the two. The emphasis in this article will focus on the financial side of the exchange. Sex comes later.
First, a few questions about your relationship:
1. Who makes the money, one person or both?
2. How much does each person make?
3. Who handles the finances, i.e., paying the bills, going to the bank?
4. Who deals with the investments?
5. Do you have a budget?
6. Does each of you make up the budget?
7. Is one of you more of a “spender?” Is the other quite “frugal?”
8. Are both of you happy with the way that the finances are handled?
9. What would you like to change?
10. Do you both consider that you have a partnership in this area, with both person’s concerns and styles taken into consideration?
Oftentimes I assist couples discuss and modify the way that money is handled between them. There is a lot of variation in couples’ financial worlds. There are not definitive ways that should govern each couple, but there are principles that can be applied:
- Emphasis should be on the partnership, not on how much each person earns. This presumes that both persons agree on the earnings choices of the other.
2. Each person should have input as to how much money is needed, budgeted, and spent.
3. Each person should be able to question the other’s spending if s/he feels it is inappropriate.
4. No one person should have the final say regarding money matters. Discuss compromise, perhaps mediation, may need to be utilized.
5. Put all discretionary money into one checking account, with possible exception due to stepfamily situations or special account needs.
6. Be responsible! Enter all checks.
7 No secrets. Discuss finances on a regular basis.
8. Share dreams and develop short and long term goals and plans. Housing, transportation, travel, “toys,” kids education, second home, retirement are a few of the key areas for couple discussion.
Sex and money are volatile issues that elicit “power struggles” for a couple. Power struggles bring forth nasty behavior such as control, criticism, and sneakiness. These inappropriate styles erode and sabotage even the best intentioned couple. I invite you to look at and discuss your financial situation. While it may be difficult to do, it can greatly enhance the quality of your relationship.