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Money and love

By Chirsteen Haddadin , Family Flavours - Mar 28,2021 - Last updated at Mar 29,2021

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Chirsteen Haddadin
Certified Money Coach

Money is a common cause of conflict and tension in relationships. Reflecting on your and your spouse’s money beliefs and how they formed is the first step to understanding the mindset behind your financial behaviours, allowing for real shifts and changes in your financial reality. 


A child’s relationship with money


When Fatima was eight years old, her parents took her to the bank for the first time and opened a savings account for her. Her parents were keen on setting a healthy example for the family of financial planning. As a result, Fatima grew up believing that money requires attention and diligence as she watched her parents meet all the family’s needs in an efficient and timely manner while saving for her education and investing in their retirement.

In a different household, Faisal grew up with two hard-working parents living paycheck to paycheck, figuring things out as they moved along with no plan or guidance. His parents often fought and had heated arguments about money. Faisal grew up believing that money is a source of stress and pain and decided early on in life to avoid money topics. He continued a behavioural pattern of spending all his earnings, maxing his credit and dealing with any money problem as it emerged with quick, half-baked solutions that required his minimum time and effort.


A couple’s relationship with money and each other


Years later, Fatima and Faisal met, fell in love and got married. Faisal’s carelessness and sometimes recklessness around money started triggering an obsessive behaviour in Fatima. She started focusing on their money challenges, the aimless spending and the lack of savings and financial clarity. She expected Faisal to step up and lead their family’s financial management, not aware that Faisal was emotionally incapable of leading this transformation. The more Fatima pushed him, the more Faisal withdrew. The wider the gap got between them, the more they drifted apart. 

After hard, honest, emotional and highly empathetic conversations between Fatima and Faisal, they understood how their childhood experiences, memories and perceptions had built their beliefs around money. Fatima’s sense of clarity around money was related to her sense of security and how she expected Faisal to provide that sense of security. Faisal believed that money conversations cause tensions and stress, leading him to avoid money conversations and hence a lack of financial awareness. 


Toward a healthier relationship


Once Fatima and Faisal understood the “why” behind their opposing money attitudes that caused so much misunderstanding in their relationship, they began to shift their money beliefs to better serve them as a couple and as a family.

Fatima accepted the fact that both she and Faisal were responsible for their financial security. Her money conversations with Faisal changed from “I expect you to do this” to “we need to do this” turning herself, her discipline and skill to being part of the solution.

Faisal accepted the fact that money conversations and plans can help you avoid money worries and future stress, and has grown fond of their money conversations where they budget, set goals and targets for themselves and plan for their future.


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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