Couples and Money: Drama-Free Couple Finances

Couples and Money: Drama-Free Couple Finances

Couples and Money: Drama-Free Couple Finances

Love and Money: Couple Finances

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Couples and money can be a flashpoint in many relationships, that’s for sure. But it is possible to talk to your spouse about money without fighting. Financial therapy for couples looks at the underlying issues that make productive conversations about finances challenging. This work can be deep, but it’s essential: Couples and money is just where the work is, in many relationships.

Getting on the same page around money is an important task for every couple as they create their shared life together. We often address finances in premarital counseling, but it’s never too late to create unity and agreement around your financial future. Sooner or later, every couple has to!

Couples and Money: Financial Conflict Can Destroy a Relationship

It’s not just a generally good idea (like, “a nice thing”) to have a joint approach to finances, it’s necessary. Having a happy, healthy and enduring relationship may depend on it.

While many couples find finances to be an emotional trigger point that can easily lead to conflict, we also know, from research, that not only can financial conflict be one of the leading causes of divorce and disharmony among couples. It get’s even more sobering: The presence of financial conflict is also linked to a higher likelihood of divorce than the presence of other types of conflict. What that means is that having unresolved conflict about money is more toxic and damaging to your relationship than having unresolved conflict about anything else: parenting, priorities, and even sex! Yow!

So, it’s incredibly important for you to get on the same page with your partner about finances under any circumstances. But circumstances are not currently normal! (Thanks coronavirus!) Particularly in the current high-stakes environment that coronavirus has created in many marriages, it is essential for couples to be actively talking together about not just financial goals, but the realities of how they’re going to get through the lean times and come out the other side together.

Why Do Couples Fight About Money?

Money is a hot-button issue for many couples because it is tied to powerful, and often deep emotional triggers. Money can be strongly tied to core values, life-goals, a primal sense of security, and even existential needs around “what is the purpose of my life.”

Given the fact that couples always have differences in financial values, financial life experiences, and old messages about money that came from their families of origin there is a lot to talk through.

Productive conversations about money can be challenged by the swift and powerful emotions that come up when we start to talk about money with our partners. Anxiety, defensiveness, a fear of being controlled, and even a sense of judgment can all be emotional obstacles that prevent our financial conversations from going smoothly.

And when productive communication about money is compromised, it feels impossible to create agreements and things like:

  • Shared financial goals
  • A financial plan for married couples
  • A sustainable budget that feels good for both of you
  • A sense of shared purpose

When couples start fighting about money and communication shuts down altogether, it can even lead to things like financial infidelity or financial abuse of a partner. Not okay!

Financial Counseling For Couples: Couples and Money — Expert Tips

So, to help YOU have important, necessary, and productive conversations with your partner about finances I’ve invited my colleague, Denver marriage counseling expert Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT.

Meagan is an emotional intelligence coach as well as a couples therapist, and she has provided financial counseling for couples for many years. Meagan is spilling the beans and providing both insight and actionable tips for how you can talk to your spouse about money without fighting (or tears!)

How to Talk To Your Spouse About Money Without Fighting

Here are some of the financial counseling for couples tips that Meagan shared:

  1. You CAN Create Alignment Around Finances: It takes good intentions, a willingness to compromise, good communication, and a fairly high degree of emotional intelligence — but it is possible.
  2. Focus on Emotional Safety: When you both feel heard, supported and understood it’s much easier to talk about everything, including hot-button issues like conflict around money.
  3. Release Judgment: It is so easy to think that our values, perspectives and ways of doing things are “the right way.” However, that belief will create a barrier when it comes to having productive communication about money. Release them, and practice open curiosity instead.
  4. Practice Emotional Intelligence: Communicating about money requires the ability to manage your own feelings, and communicate with empathy and tact. Focusing on your own emotional responses will allow you to stay in a good place during high-stakes conversations.

These are only a few of the tips for how to talk to your spouse about money without fighting that Meagan so generously shared. So many more helpful tips for you around:

  • What to do and what NOT to do, in order to keep communication constructive
  • What to prioritize first if you’re running into financial issues as a couple
  • The behaviors you MUST avoid if you want to avoid unnecessary conflict and strife
  • The best money apps for couples
  • The financial values inventory that Meagan always recommends to her marriage counseling clients

And even MORE expert relationship advice. All for you, on this episode of the podcast.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, LMFT, LP and Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT

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Couples and Money

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Steadman, “Two Together”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Real Help For Your Relationship

Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

Working with an expert couples counselor can help you create understanding, empathy and open communication that felt impossible before.

 

Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

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Burnout Prevention + Recovery

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The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

Understand Others, Understand Yourself

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EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: How well do you understand other people? How well do you understand yourself? Do you know how to handle emotionally sensitive moments? Do you manage your feelings in appropriate, healthy ways when you’re feeling stressed or upset? Is it easy for you to connect with others? Do you frequently find yourself in conflict with others? Or do you sometimes have experiences with people that surprise or frustrate you?

All of the above are emotional intelligence questions. What is emotional intelligence? It’s the ability to be self-aware about what you’re feeling, manage your emotions in a healthy way, and have empathy and sensitivity for how other people are feeling… and THEN use all of that information, with intention, in your interactions with others.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Our culture can gloss right over feelings, or minimize their significance when it comes to personal and professional success. But research into emotional intelligence by Daniel Goldman (and echoed by the Harvard School of Business, no less) shows that it accounts for over 90% of the difference in what leads to success or failure in a wide variety of professional endeavors. Emotional intelligence has also been found to be among the most significant predictors of job performance.

But more importantly, emotional intelligence (or the lack thereof) can absolutely make or break your personal relationships.

Emotional intelligence skills are critically important: People who are lower in emotional intelligence will experience frustration and disconnection in their relationships, will feel less motivated and optimistic, and will also generally struggle to get ahead at work — even if they’re incredibly talented.

Emotional Intelligence Self Assessment — Is It Possible?

As critical as emotional intelligence skills are, it can be very difficult to determine how your own EI skills rate. Emotional intelligence is one of those things where you don’t know what you don’t know. It can be very difficult to assess yourself for emotional intelligence. Most people (according to some research, over 95%) believe that they are self-aware and emotionally attuned to others… when they actually struggle significantly in this area. In fact, many people have very little insight into how others are experiencing them.

Signs of deficits in emotional intelligence generally show up as negative results in your relationships, how you feel, and / or your career.

Emotional Intelligence Podcast

Because emotional intelligence skills really are that important, I decided to devote an entire episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to helping you understand emotional intelligence and how to improve emotional intelligence. In order to make this as meaningful and genuinely helpful as possible, I recruited two of my colleagues: Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT, and Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT, both of whom specialize in emotional intelligence assessment and emotional intelligence coaching.

Together, we discussed:

  • Signs of low emotional intelligence
  • Consequences of low emotional intelligence
  • Why some people have higher emotional intelligence than others
  • Emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Why self-awareness is the key first step to developing emotional intelligence
  • How to improve emotional intelligence
  • How to tell if you’re emotionally intelligent or not
  • Different emotional intelligence quizzes and assessment strategies
  • Specific exercises to improve emotional intelligence.

Building Emotional Intelligence

If you are curious to learn more about your own emotional intelligence, and get some tips for how to increase it (or are in a personal or professional relationship with someone who could benefit from learning more) there is so. much. here. We hope that all this information about emotional intelligence and how to develop it supports you and those you care for on your journey of growth!

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT, and Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT

 

 

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Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: John Ball, “I Feel It”

Enjoy This Episode?

Please Rate, Review and Share The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Linda Pounds, M.A, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage/Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Emotional Intelligence Leadership Coach at Growing Self. She works with individuals and couples who face the challenge of merging their work lives with personal lives and the impact each has on the other. Her work with leaders and leadership teams includes Emotional Intelligence (EI) Coaching and assessments, leading to a positive impact on individuals and organizations.

THE RELATIONSHIP SPECIALIST | Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT specializes in helping her clients create happy, healthy, joyful relationships — both personally and professionally. She’s an expert marriage counselor, emotional intelligence coach, premarital counselor, and dating coach.

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Real Relationship Advice: The Key to a Healthy, Happy Marriage

Real Relationship Advice: The Key to a Healthy, Happy Marriage

Everyone Wants “The Key” to An Amazing Relationship…

I’ve been marriage counselor and premarital counselor for over a decade now, and so I often have people ask me for relationship advice. I was recently on a short road trip in the mountains here in Colorado with my husband, our 1 year-old daughter, our close friend Greg (the best man at our wedding), and his new girlfriend of 6 months. As we were driving home together the new couple asked me to give them my best advice as a marriage counselor and premarital counselor about what they “needed to know” if they get married. “What’s the key to a great relationship?” they asked.

Thankfully my 1 year old was zonked out in her carseat, so I had the chance to tell them the real truth.

As a couples counselor, I hear this question frequently. “What is the key?” The key to the fairytale, the everlasting passion-filled love story romance? What is the key that makes love last? What is the key to keeping couples together?

So I told them the real truth. And halfway through my answer this question, Greg said sarcastically, “Wow, you really know how to sell it!” and laughed awkwardly at my candid but true response. You see, I didn’t sugar-coat it. I was honest.

And I’ll be honest with you, too.

 

Amazing, Beautiful Relationships Are Not Perfect Relationships

Here’s the truth: The key to everlasting love isn’t that you must find the perfect person to live the perfect life. Instead, finding the person who will fight through the hard times, work through the rough spots, and stay committed is absolutely important. The key is that you will marry someone who will be your partner, and you will go through life together – all of its messy and joyous moments.

Dr. Sue Johnson, couples theorist and the founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, said, “Life isn’t the way it is supposed to be, life is the way it is. It is our response that matters.” Very hard, difficult, and trying times will affect each and every couple. There will be transgressions, hurt, loss and pain. The key, the ticket, the magic, is finding someone who is willing to work at it with you and who is open to finding help through it. The key is having someone who fights for you as a couple when life’s confusing, complicated and and chaotic circumstances undoubtedly happen to you, your partner, or you both as a couple.

Awareness that you will have ups and downs as a couple, and that you’re committed to get through them together is vital. But every happy, healthy couple is also usually surrounded by people who help them hold their marriage together during the hardest times.  I often tell my clients, it takes a village! Yes, it takes one to raise a child, but it also takes a village to support a couple and help them be happy and healthy, whether or not they have children.

The thing is, our culture typically doesn’t give new couples the honest truth about the difficulties that lie ahead. At the start of a new marriage, couples are more often than not focused intensely on planning a wedding. This is-super fun (and stressful), but it is not going to prepare you for a lifetime of love. Honestly, nothing will prepare you for it all. Indeed, couples are often surrounded by community during easy times, including weddings and baby-showers. And yet, couples are often quite isolated and alone during the hard times, such as months that define infertility or grief and loss.

In these hard times, you need your community. You need people in your life who can remind you that most important part of this whole thing called love is to remember, you are human! (And so is your partner). You both have so many beautiful strengths and accomplishments that you bring to a relationship. You both also make mistakes. You both also have baggage and behaviors that will make a relationship beautifully complex and challenging. You need people in your life to remind you that no relationship is perfectly easy all the time, but that you can get through it and out the other side stronger than ever with the right support. 

“Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.”

― Dr. Sue Johnson

Founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, and author of Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships

Healthy Relationships Have Support

Whether you talk with friends who can relate or parents that are able to provide you with wisdom, or put a good relationship book in your hand at the right time, it is so important that you find support along the way for your relationship. Great relationships don’t just happen; we all have to work at it, intentionally. I personally strongly encourage couples counseling for everyone as a way of ensuring that your relationship stays strong and healthy, and that you both know how to navigate the inevitable bumps in the road when they come up. They don’t teach you how to have a great relationship in school! They really should but that is a soap box I’ll stand on another day.

I also encourage couples to check in with a counselor if they are thinking about having kids, or if there has been a death in the family or financial strains, job loss or even if they’re in a little bit of a slump with each other. One of the biggest relationship mistakes you can make is to wait until you are really struggling to get support. There are so many things a good marriage counselor can teach you to help you navigate all the highs and lows of life, so that it never gets as bad as it can get. (And as a marriage counselor who works with too many unfortunate couples who did wait until they were on the brink of divorce before they came to counseling, it can get very, very bad.)

So here are the real keys to a great relationship:

  • Know that all relationships take work, and none of us humans do them perfectly.
  • Find a partner who is committed to sticking with you through the ups and downs.
  • And get support for your marriage, and use it to learn, grow, and work through the hard times together.

So, back to Greg and his new relationship: he says he’s is so excited for this love he now has and he believes he has found a person he wants to fight for and with far into the future. We are thrilled for him and can’t wait to see all that life has to throw at the two of them. There’s no doubt they will have support from us and the many good friends, family that surround them. And I’ve also already given them a referral for a great couples counselor… for when they’re ready. 

All the best,

Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT

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