You may already know this…. the #1 source of conflict in marriages and the biggest cause of divorce is money.
According to my dear friend, Ken Honda, author of Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Ken is a bestselling author (over 7 million books sold around the world!) who has spent years helping the people of Japan heal their relationships with money and become more abundant and peaceful.
Why is money such a big issue in relationships?
According to Ken it’s as if you & your beloved grew up in different countries when it comes to how to handle money.
Any seemingly scary condition in your life, whatever it may be, is not the real problem. It’s your reaction to it that has you shaking. Which is why, if you’ll become truly conscious of a fearful condition instead of afraid of it, you’ll change forever your relationship with fear.
Being conscious of your fear empowers you to interact with it in an entirely new way. This new inner relationship gives you the power to be awake to fear's scary influences, instead of being their unconscious slave. And as each day you discover something new about the shaky nature of your own fearful reactions, they lose their power over you. Why? You see them for what they have always been: unintelligent, mechanical forces.
To be consciously afraid means that you know you are frightened. You feel it, but at the same time you know that these very fears, as real as they may seem, are not you.
Fear is really nothing other than a self-limiting reaction that we’ve always mistaken for a shield of self-protection. It’s time to let it go, which you can do anytime you want. Here’s how: Dare to proceed, even while being afraid.
“Real love gives freedom, and in freedom there is always choice. The choice to do or not to do.”
Some Questions I Ask:
- What to do if you are in love with someone, but they want to have an open relationship?
- Is acting out all of your desires really freedom? What is real freedom?
- If you can’t have a relationship with one person, how are you going to have a relationship with 2 people?
- How being spiritually evolved is monogamy?
- What does loving unconditionally really mean?
Question: The problem seems to be that when you are in a relationship, in the beginning everything is happening, but when you marry that person it changes.
I’ve been in several relationships, major relationships, and been married and divorced twice and I’m searching for something special. Something I’ve been told has been called a soul mate. Do you believe in such a relationship or person and what would that mean? How would I know that?
Ram Dass: Got it! Keep looking! I’ll give you the farthest out answer first and then we’ll come back to something that everybody can handle. In the farthest out answer, we have all been around so many times that every one of us has been everything with everybody else. So when I look at you, you and I have been in so many relationships together. It’s just that we don’t remember.
“Do you REALLY love her?” I asked.
“Yes, but I am afraid, I just don’t know if I can commit to her”.
How many times have you heard this, or said this to yourself?
Many of my friends have recently expressed to me that they are afraid of committing to a relationship.
The real commitment is to Love itself.
When you commit to love itself, it’s then that you are truly free. All forms will change. Your lover will change. They won’t be the same person that they were when you met them. You will change. You will grow, mature and evolve. The relationship itself will also change.
In Part One of this article, I talked about some of the very real, and very serious, problems that I had when it came to talking about money in my own relationship. I also gave you the ground rules that my husband and I agreed to use so that we could talk start about money in a transparent, non-judgmental, and open environment.
Here in Part Two, I’d like to tell you about seven techniques that you can use in your own relationship to talk about money, financial goals, spending, and saving for that rainy day in a peaceful, loving, and productive way.
Action Step 1: Start with What’s Working
Start with an easy discussion about what is currently working in your financial life – individually and together. Strive to find the common ground. Most financial discussions come about when something isn’t working, and that turns into blaming and arguing. So start with something positive. Ask your partner what they feel is important financially. By gaining a better perspective on their values, you not only gain a more intimate understanding of who they are, but you can honor those values when you communicate. These may not be the same values that you have – it’s important to realize that that’s okay! So long as you are both heard, respected, and validated, acceptance doesn’t have to equal agreement, but it does help you approach the conversation with deeper compassion and unconditional love. The main objective here is re-learning how to communicate with your partner by realizing that you’re on the same team. This involves some letting-go of control and ego – and believe me, that’s always a good thing!
Action Step 2: Become an Assertive Communicator
Seek to become an assertive communicator. Share your thoughts and feelings respectfully, and listen to your partner with the same respect. As I’ve pointed out before, you don’t have to agree on everything. But you both need to feel heard and validated. It’s one of the best ways to build an intimate bond of trust.
And speaking of trust – a word here about lying about money and secret spending. If this is you, you already know it. And intuitively, you know that it needs to stop. You will relieve yourself of so much guilt if you reveal your secrets and simply move forward into a new mode of thinking and a new goal of acting financially responsible. And if you have a spending problem, an addiction to buying – please get help, my friend. It is a real disease, and you are not at fault.
Action Step 3: Foster Healthy, Positive Financial Communication
Money issues have to be solved if you’re going to have a happy and balanced relationship. Solving those issues means talking about them in detail, and letting go of ego and judgment while you’re in that space (and hopefully, in your entire relationship).
Action Step 4: Focus on Forward Progress
It can be very, very easy to feel defensive and attacked when we discuss spending and finances. Know that this comes more from inside you (internal guilt) than it does from outside of you (your other). Temper your reactivity, and at a separate time when you are alone, examine it to find its roots. That’s a subject for a different post!
Relationships can be approached from 2 directions; need or as two fulfilled people sharing life. In relationship there should be both support and space. Looking to another to fulfill you will never work because fulfillment is a personal, internal experience. Share life, but have a life, each your own. Relationship that smothers or binds another or covers another with expectations will suffocate the other in need. It becomes energetically stifling.
Relationships serve as one of the strongest vehicles to bring into awareness all that is hidden. At the same time it allows you to connect to your essential self and feel the love there and focus and share that love with another. Love is always an internal experience, even though another can inspire your inner connection and allow you to get in touch with your inner love.
Relationship is about growth.
We come together in relationship with another for our evolution and growth.
The people you attract are simply mirror manifestations in that moment in time that reflect who you are.
Relationship is really not about the duration that you stay with someone, but the degree to which you both grow, evolve, and become more authentically your true Self.
Staying in a relationship where you are both no longer growing simply because that is the thing to do based on societal standards, or because you made a commitment years ago, is not success.