13 February 19
Reading time: 3 minutes
“Will you be mine?” As you’d expect, for Valentine's Day the focus turns to cards, flowers, chocolates and romance.
But did you know that relationships are not only about our love lives – they’re about dialling up our money lives as well? The best relationships help us grow in every way, including financially.
When we come together, we can accomplish so much more than we could ever manage alone. The potential is high!
Finding more empathy
I’ve been getting into what Craig Malkin of Harvard Medical School calls “empathy prompts”, which can take a relationship to a whole new level. They’re a really helpful way of communicating.
Here’s how they go: first, you voice the importance of your relationship with supportive statements. Then, you reveal what you’re truly feeling.
So for example, you might say, “You know you mean the world to me” to affirm how important the relationship is.
Secondly, you can open up and voice what you’re truly feeling inside. This is particularly helpful to go to a vulnerable place, or bring up a concern or something that you feel is not going so well.
These prompts “nudge people toward thinking about the relationship, moving the focus from you and me to we,” Malkin says. “More importantly, they signal your willingness to offer secure love.”
And isn’t that what we’re all after?
Finding more money
If you’re wondering what all this has to do with finance, here’s the thing: money can be hard to talk about. Debt particularly can bring silence.
This can be especially true in a relationship, where partners often bring opposite perspectives on money. After all, odds are we were brought up in completely different ways, where money was thought of, handled and experienced differently.
Spenders meet savers, and opposites attract – so setting common goals together can become a bit fraught. Unfortunately, money also has a way of coming between us at times, and it’s healthy to recognise this.
So empathy prompts can help when it comes to money talk. We might say something like:
“Our relationship means everything to me. I feel like our money situation is often spinning out of control, and that makes me feel uncomfortable.”
“You are more important than anyone else in my life. When we’re not on the same page moneywise, I feel lost and wish we could work towards something together.”
All of this can lead to more financial wellbeing and growing together for the future. A wealthier life in the widest sense.
“Most people will melt when they hear empathy prompts,” Malkin says.
And this can lead to new levels of intimacy, even through something as commonplace and everyday as money.
You just may not want to approach any kind of money talk this week over candlelight! Having a “money date night” can be brilliant… but perhaps not on Valentine’s Day.