The Moment of Change in Their Relationship
I would like to share a story of a couple that I have coached, and what you learn from their experience may surprise you.
Mike and Britney’s marriage was steadily drifting apart, due to issues with money. The financial decisions they had to make were a great source of tension and frustration.
Looking at Mike and Britney, it was easy to think that they had it all and that life must have been easy for them. Things looked really good from the outside. Mike and Britney had two well-behaved young kids, lived in a nice area, led great careers with good incomes and had plenty of money saved in the bank. From the outside looking in, it seemed that lack of money was not the issue. Most couples would have loved to be in their shoes. What problems could such well-established people like Mike and Britney possibly have?
However, Mike and Britney were definitely struggling in their relationship. Being in their 7th year of marriage, they had been together long enough to know what made each other tick. This stage of a marriage is known as “The Seven-Year Itch”, which is the time in a relationship when a couple considers either leaving their partner, or adapting and working through issues in their relationship.
Mike and Britney were not looking to divorce. Instead, they wanted to fix the problems and reconnect in their marriage. They hoped to restore the bond they once had before issues about money got in the way.
When you are in a relationship, sometimes it is hard to pinpoint what is causing the tension since you are emotionally connected. Getting a third party involved can help you find the blind spots that are the causes of problems in your relationship. When I work with a couple, one of my main goals is to help them see what they are not seeing. So when I began to work together with Mike and Brittney, I noticed a troubling area.
A major source of disconnection in their relationship was that they had separate bank accounts, and that they paid household bills from their own separate accounts. How can a relationship work if you have separate bank accounts? It really can’t. The sacrament of marriage is to become one, not two. This is a team effort here, not two individual’s entities. How can you build a solid financial future together if you are doing things separately with money?
Britney was feeling very insecure in the relationship, because she had to rely on her own money to pay the bills. Mike was strict about saving money, and also made twice as much as Britney. Each month, Britney felt limited. She was restricted to funds from her paycheck, while requiring extra money to meet the family’s everyday needs. Having to ask Mike for more money each month was not working, and it created a great deal of stress. Britney had built up all kinds of negative emotions for a good portion of the marriage from having to live this way.
During one of our sessions, Mike was still adamant about the amount of money they should be saving. He shared that if they were going to share a budget together, that they needed to be strict about their commitment. Mike’s statement was the tipping point for Britney. She burst out sobbing and continued to sob for what seemed like an eternity. Mike was baffled and asked where this was this coming from. He had no idea that she was feeling this much pain and hurt inside. It was the moment of change in their relationship. Most likely, this moment was the first time that Mike was receptive to what his wife was feeling.
So the first thing I had to work on was Mike’s ingrained behavior towards being a strict saver. If he wanted his relationship to work, he needed to tone it down a notch. Then, I made sure that the both of them understood that in a relationship, the principle about money should be, “our money together”, and not “your money” or “my money”. I helped them fully combine their finances and create a working joint-budget, one that helped them to be smart for future while giving them the freedom to enjoy the present. I also taught them valuable tools of communication which helped them to better work through difficult topics and decisions together.
These changes in the way they handled their money together, and in their communication towards money, led to a huge and positive change in their marriage. Feeling less restricted, Britney was able to breathe and feel safe. Increased positive communication about money, and a changing mindset towards the role of finances in their relationship, brought Mike and Brittney closer together, and the frustration and tension eventually dissipated.
Once Mike and Britney started to show signs of stability in the way they handled money as a couple, and once their relationship began to grow stronger, I went to work on creating a financial plan that worked for them. Part of my coaching process was to figure out what was really important to each of them. So I guided Mike and Britney through the process of finding out what mattered to them most in life. The process is much different than just investing in a mutual fund or some other type of investment. What Mike and Britney were going through was much more emotionally charged, and significant than just a simple investment.
Instead, I carried out a three-step process where I highlight areas of importance, and find out how much money it takes to accomplish the crucial goals they needed to accomplish for a stronger and healthier relationship. Once we completed this three-step process of outlining and determining important goals in the relationship, we incorporated these items into their budget to help them get started in accomplishing their dreams.
I also taught Mike and Britney the art of visualization, which was a technique that had a major impact on their lives for the better, and one that also helped them to dream bigger. I use a slightly different method than the standard when teaching clients on how to visualize. Instead of seeing themselves in the picture doing the event, I help them visualize seeing the event through their own eyes. This is much more powerful.
What happened when Mike and Britney chose to practice positive thinking my way?
This couple achieved impressive promotions, financial rewards and accolades in both of their careers, all of which happened in a very short period of time. The career promotion for Mike was the most exciting. He is now running a firm in his industry as the CEO. This is something he had dreamed about during his entire career. Would this couple still have been able to achieve their dreams while struggling with their issues about money at home? Possibly. But I would say that it would have been a lot harder and taken a lot longer.
You see, when things are going good at home, things in your outside world flourish. Great things happen. We always think ‘if I only had more money’, but this is not always the case. It is important to first start working towards solving the major problems that frustrate you as a couple (especially about money).
So if you would like to experience the deep connection a relationship has to offer (the types of connections that you only hear about and see in movies), and want to strengthen your financial position at the same time, you owe it to yourself to get in contact with me. I will guide you through the process of living your happily-ever after, just like Mike and Britney!