Funny how songs have a habit of popping into our heads. I was wondering why this song – You Don’t Bring Me Flowers popped into my head this morning as I was walking from the train to the office.
A lot of our week has been meeting with women in business. They’re busy building their businesses, looking after their children and their homes. Then at the end of the day, they are just too tired to relax and enjoy the time they have with their partners.
On the flip side, their partners are just as busy. Borrowing another line from Neil Diamond “You hardly talk to me anymore when I walk through the door at the end of the day” is what they are thinking.
We all need time to talk ‘about us’. As one lovely lady told me, “our conversation is just transactional. We talk about who has to be where and when, what needs doing over the weekend, who is cooking dinner, or what takeaways we are having. We just never get the time to talk about us, let alone our financial plans and for the future.”
We know this is what happens in relationships. In the early days (often pre-children) our focus is totally on us as a couple, there is time to talk, dream and plan. But often even in this phase, money is left out of the conversation.
Then as children come along, we get busier and the focus becomes less on each other and more on the children and we can lose a sense of what brought us together in the first place.
It is not surprising that in this phase, ‘our money’ isn’t talked about. With our busy lives, it tends to be a fringe subject, possibly because it is one fraught with tension. The last thing you want to do at the end of a busy day, or a full on weekend is start a conversation that will potentially add more stress. It is during this period that many relationships may start to come apart.
Of the relationships that do fail, 70-80% will say it was because of problems caused by money. I disagree. What caused the problem was the lack of conversation about money.
It is not knowing how to talk about money and face up to the stress that money is adding to your relationship, that is the real issue. If something isn’t talked about, assumptions take over. We expect our partners to be mind readers and know what we are thinking…. It works with who is going to take out the rubbish, so surely it should work with money?
The secret to getting through this phase (yes, the children do eventually leave home and you discover another new life!), is to make the time and the money for each other.
This is possible, but only if you are both willing to have the conversation, and build the vision that enables you to set aside time and money for date nights, weekends away (without the children).
Sometimes this process just needs to be kick-started. That is why developed the Men, Women & Money programme for couples.
A big part of the programme is connecting and understanding your individual money stories and having those ‘us’ conversations that you have been putting off. This atmosphere will be just perfect for you both to begin creating your shared vision.
This is a really safe environment to have the ‘money talk’, clear up some of the assumptions that may have crept into your relationship. You will start looking at your money differently and building a shared financial future that works for you as a couple.
If you do nothing else after reading this blog, stop on the way home and buy some flowers for the one you love!