It’s Christmas and you’re broke. But do you have to be broken hearted too?
Money is tight these days and it’s likely that Christmas will make it tighter. Money is an ever-popular topic for dispute. Especially when you add the year-end bustle and a good dollop of Christmas stress. You may be broke, but you really don’t have to end up broken hearted from arguing about it.
Our 2008 survey showed that 4 in10 couples argue about money and financial security. Right now, that might be a pretty topical issue. If your relationship is one where money issues get in the way, you might be worrying about the arguments you anticipate. And disagreeing might be as big a worry as the build up of bills.
Here are some ideas for keeping your relationship in the pink this Christmas, even if your finances are in the red.
Disagreeing about money and financial security isn’t necessarily terminal. Usually, it’s the way that you do the disagreeing that has the main impact.
If you fight to win, whether you get hot and angry or cold and cutting, you probably make the argument worse. The alternative is for you and your partner to act like you’re on the same side. That will help keep damage to a minimum.
You influence how damaging the arguments get by keeping your own words and behaviour civil. Let your partner look after their own behaviour. If you get worked up and blame your partner, or say something nasty or hurtful, own up to it and apologise quickly.
When you disagree about money, there are often other issues involved as well. It might be about whose priorities come first, who makes the decisions, whose work or time matters the most, whether what each of you get - and go without - feels balanced. It’s worth figuring this out. These are fertile sources of resentment and a budget won’t fix them.
You may be able to sympathise with your partner's concerns, even if it’s different for you. In order to understand you need to concentrate on listening. This is not the time to explain why their view is wrong and yours is better. It’s the time to find out what makes their view so right from their perspective.
Focus on understanding what affects your partner the most.
When you really work like this to see your partner’s point of view you show that you care what they think and feel. You act like you’re on their team not like their opposition. You take a lot of the heat out of the argument. You also make it more likely they will be willing to understand your point of view as well. Once that happens you have the basis for a genuine discussion about money issues, and how the two of you choose to deal with them.
You may blow your budget this Christmas, but you don’t have to blow your relationship too. Here at Relationships Aotearoa we can help with the arguments you have about money even though we can’t help with your budget. Check out the Office closest to you in Contact Us to choose your counsellor.