Saying to someone “don’t let money affect your relationships” — is like saying “don’t let oxygen affect your breathing.”
Without one, it’s awfully hard to have the other.
I tell my coaching clients that money doesn’t CHANGE anything; it REVEALS everything.
Money acts as a magnifying glass. If you’re a poor jerk, you’ll be a rich jerk — only jerkier. If you’re a broke nice person, you’ll be a rich nice person — only nicer.
In these tough financial times, how can we make sure our relationships stay healthy?
Here are five relationships assumptions to avoid when money is tight:
1. Assuming money is everything.
It’s true: the best things in life are free. But the mortgage, groceries and Internet service aren’t.
If you have to spend money to enjoy each other, you’re facing a much deeper issue. We’ve been taught that “Things = Happiness” and therefore, “If you have more things, you’ll be happier”.
But study after study shows that there’s a point where having more things creates an INVERSE relationship to happiness. So don’t assume more things will make you happier.
2. Assuming a change in your finances won’t affect your relationship.
Remember: money doesn’t CHANGE anything; it REVEALS everything. Be aware that when you experience a significant change in your money situation, your relationship’s about to change in one way or another.
But the irony is, it will become more of what it already is. If you’re close, you’ll tend to get closer. If there’s a distance, it will become more noticeable. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner about what’s happening and what you can do about it.
3. Assuming things will turn around by themselves.
I call this ‘the Ostrich Syndrome’. It’s good to assume that things will be better in the future. The problem comes when we think they’ll get better without us having to do anything.
$20 bills tend to NOT walk down the street, knock on your door and say, “Hey, can I come in?” On planet Earth, we have to do this annoying thing called work to get the things we want, like, oh I don’t know — money.
If you know what to do, but just aren’t doing what you know, you can break that habit by creating an action plan and taking one step at a time toward your goals.
4. Assuming you and your partner view money the same way.
No assumption causes more arguments than this one. People tend to fall into four behavioral styles with regards to money: The Spender, The Saver, The Avoider and The Monk.
Imagine a Spender and a Saver living together. Now imagine their income just got cut in half. Insert argument here.
5. Assuming things will be this way forever.
This is the “Why Bother?” Syndrome, the flip side of the Ostrich Syndrome. When you assume “why bother?”, your actions will be half-hearted at best.
Find the middle ground between the Ostrich and the Why Bother Syndrome. This is where Afformations, or empowering questions, have helped many people make better assumptions about life and their relationship to it.
We all have to work to overturn our unconscious assumptions, especially negative ones about money and relationships. But follow the steps and you’ll reap the rewards of healthier relationships with your partner, your money and yourself.
Noah St. John is the inventor of Afformations and bestselling author of The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness (HarperCollins). Noah is the world’s most-quoted expert on how to clear your head trash. He’s appeared in over 2,000 media outlets including CNN, ABC, NBC, The Washington Post and PARADE Magazine. Visit his web site.