It can be very difficult to get on the same page financially as your spouse. When you get married, you both come together with a money “narrative” that has developed throughout your life. But once married, it can be challenging to write a new story, especially if you’d like your financial future to end with “and they lived happily ever after…”
When I got married my money “narrative” was spend and borrow and my husband’s was save and save! It took many years to get on the same financial page and we did it by learning how to dream about our money story together. But in order to dream together we first had to change our perspective. We had to re-evaluate: what we shared, how we lived and what we said in order to begin dreaming boldly.
Speaking the same language of money in a relationship
John Lennon once said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” I believe Lennon’s sentiment. When my husband and I began to dream together—big financial dreams—for our children, our life together and our future, those money dreams became reality.
I want the same for you.
So here are the three important changes in your perspective that you can embrace to begin dreaming together in order to achieve your financial goals.
1. You Are Sharing One Love: We all stand at the altar on our wedding day and in some way commit to one love that we will share together as a married couple. Then we pull out our wallets, check our bank account or begin to spend money and forget all about that love! When you remember that the money conversations that you have are extensions of the love conversations that you have, it makes money talking much easier. Because my husband and I came from such different money narratives, we had to step into a brand new place in order to even begin communicating about our money. Coming from a place of love for one another provided the safety and space to do that. Remember that this person who you want to dream with is also the person who you are in love with.
2. You Are Living One Life: It should be obvious that we are living only one life as a couple, but I continue to be amazed at how many couples have a “separate life” mentality. How can you dream about a life together and plan for a glorious future together when the idea of “your money” and “my money” is always between you? Who’s going to fund the business dreams? How will you pay for going back to college? Who’s responsible for day-to-day living, as you plan, save and invest for your future?
You know that money talk is everyday talk. That’s why it’s imperative that you remember everyday that you are sharing and living one life. This is probably the most critical paradigm shift that you can have in order to begin to dream together. I’ve talked to so many couples in which this one idea of combining money into “ours” is the most daunting task! But it’s a task that you should accomplish if you want to dream together and move your lives forward in a more dynamic way. A one-life mentality looks like agreeing that our money goals, our money dreams, our money plans are for both of us AND that it’s going to take “our money” to fund it.
3. You Should Speak One Language: Now we begin to get to the nitty-gritty. Dreaming together requires seeing the same thing. You won’t see the same thing if you aren’t speaking the same language. Imagine that you speak French and your spouse speaks German. How would you ever agree, let alone dream together, if you couldn’t even understand one another? Developing your own unique money language—between the two of you—will take time but it’s worth the investment. I had to change my ‘spend and borrow’ language to save and invest. My husband had to change his ‘save and save’ narrative to spend wisely and invest strategically. It takes time and determination to develop and use a common money language, but it’s an important change to make in order to begin dreaming together.
I’ll share the nuts and bolts of dreaming together in the next article!
- Today, remember that you are in love with your spouse. Rekindle that first love that you shared on your wedding day. Remember that your money conversations extend from your love conversations.
- Reflect on how your lives are coming together “as one.” Ask yourself are we really living one life or are we still separate? Begin having conversations about bringing your money and lives together.
- Do you need a code word for spending too much? Do you have a special language for buying something special? Do you need to hire a financial manager to help you get a handle on your money so you can talk about it together? Evaluate your current money language and begin developing your unique money “talk” today.