One of the most divisive issues in couples’ relationships is money, so what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to sit down with your loved one and talk about money in a calm, relaxed setting? Now, you don’t have to do it on Valentine’s Day, but use that week and its symbolism of love and couplehood to schedule a time to sit down together, maybe while you are relaxing with a glass of wine.
There are many possibilities of what you might discuss during this “Money Date Night”. If you’ve never talked about your money history before, it might make sense to do some foundational work and talk about your family history with money and what money messages or scripts you might have running in the background and influencing your decisions around money. For example, a few common money scripts are:
- It’s important to save for a rainy day
- You can never have enough money
- Rich people are greedy
- Money is power
- Money would solve all my problems
- It is not polite to talk about money
- Money should be saved, not spent
Other questions you might explore with your partner include:
- Did you get an allowance growing up and was it tied to chores or not?
- How were you taught about money management?
- Did your parents ever talk about money?
- Who managed the finances in your family?
Answers to these questions can really provide some good insight into your partner’s attitude and behavior towards money.
If the discussion is going well and you have kids, you might take the conversation one step further and talk about what three to five key money values you’d like to pass on to your children. It’s then important to repeat them often and consistently to your kids so they absorb them.
In summary, the topic of money is one of the most taboo in our culture and one of the most divisive issues between couples. One of the best ways to mitigate its negative impact is through open communication. We strongly recommend scheduling regular “Money Date Nights” to keep the lines of communication open and make sure both spouses are versed in the family finances.