Money – being the emotional beast it is – can often be the cause of snarky comments and petty squabbles in our relationships. You know what I’m talking about... you feel like they are wasting our money on something that’s not important.
And that’s why it can be helpful to remember that…
One person’s unnecessary is often another’s essential.
When you only have your priorities and their priorities instead of shared priorities, you can expect this little game of cat and mouse to be never ending.
Speaking from personal experience, it’s a shitty no-win game (pardon my French) to be playing — especially when the alternative is being on the same page and supportive of each other.
So how do you find your shared priorities? Here’s a simple exercise that you and your partner can do together.
Excluding the basics like food, shelter, and transportation, make a list of the things you spend money on each month. Your list might include things like going out to eat, monthly subscription services, gym memberships, lawn care, house cleaning, etc.
Make individual copies of that list and working separately, rank each category between 1 (not important to you at all) and 5 (most essential to you, something you can’t see yourself living without).
Once you’re both done, exchange your answers. Where are your answers similar? Where do they differ? Are any of your partner’s answers a surprise to you?
Starting with the areas you both scored as important, discuss why that’s the case. These areas can serve as the starting point of your shared priorities.
Next, discuss the areas you both scored as not so important. These are the areas you can potentially cut back on so you can prioritize more important areas.
For the areas that didn’t match up, ask the person who rated that area as important to explain why.
You’re not going to see eye-to-eye on everything but...
When you know the money he spends on tennis is important to him because it provides good exercise, stress relief, and a built-in social circle, it’s easier to be supportive of what you might otherwise think is an unnecessary expense.
When you know the money she spends on home decor and furnishings is important to her because she wants her house to feel like a home, it’s easier to be supportive of what you might otherwise think is just frivolous spending.
Going through this simple exercise will help you better understand each other’s priorities and develop your shared priorities together.
Then, snarky comments and money squabbles can be replaced by support and encouragement where they are valued and needed. And that sounds a lot less shitty to me!
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