Tell me that you want the kind of things that money just can’t buy,
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
– The Beatles

photo financial troubles in marriage

Dana and Mike came to see Bob and I for Couple to Couple® Coaching regarding money conflicts. Here’s how it went:

Dana: Mike, your camping trip is costing us way too much money. I brought our Visa bill and you spent $1000 on equipment. Let’s see:
-Safari tent for 4 – $600
-Outdoor camping oven – $250
-Portable water heater and outdoor shower – $150
Really? I thought camping meant sleeping in the woods, cooking over campfires, and cold showers. This is ridiculous!

Mike: You forget you spent $300 on your Coach purse and I bought you a $200 pair of shoes for your birthday? Talk about a waste.

Dana: I’ve used my Coach purse for 3 years, instead of buying less expensive ones that get worn out quickly. As for my shoes, that was for our daughter’s wedding.

Mike: My yearly camping trip with my brothers might be the last one, since Alan had cancer last year. I want him to be as comfortable as possible.

So, my question to you, the reader, is: “Who’s right about the money?”

Bob and I developed our own philosophy about money and couples over the years.

When you remove the intense emotions and strong beliefs we associate with money, here’s what you find:

Money is just “a means of exchange” to obtain what we value.
Therefore, what we choose to spend our money on is neither right nor wrong.
(*The caveat here is, “if you have enough to cover your basic needs.”)

When couples argue about purchases, it is vital to get underneath and see what that purchase represents. You will see it is truly about what each partner values.

Dana feels her expensive purse is an economic decision since it will last for several years. She would rather have one well-constructed bag than spend small amounts of money for cheaper purses that won’t last.

Mike has gone on a yearly camping trip with his two brothers for the last 20 years. They used to “rough it.” Last year his brother, Alan, had surgery and chemo for colon cancer. He is now “cancer-free” and doing well. However, Mike wants to make their experience more comfortable this year.

In Couple to Couple® Coaching, Bob and I helped this couple understand and empathize with the thoughts, feelings and values behind their expenditures. They came to appreciate each other’s point of view and resolved the issue. And they learned how to approach money conflict for the future – to not just look at their differences on the surface, but to dig deeper and explore the meaning of money underneath.

Let us know your thoughts about money conflicts on Facebook. Email or call us (410-363-2825) if you’d like help negotiating your differences.

Image Copyright Katarzyna Białasiewicz