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Marriage and Money Problems

Sonoma Couples Workshops

For many couples finances are a source of significant conflict. Given the ongoing troublesome state of our economy, even couples that have previously collaborated well regarding finances may be having increasing conflicts around finances. I have attached a link from the New York Times regarding couples and finances because it raises some important points

However, my impression is that the communication techniques proposed in the article unfortunately seem overly simplistic. First of all, it is advised that couples resolve arguments about finances so that they do not come up again unproductively. This will be difficult for many couples given that 69% of couples relationship problems have been shown to be perpetual (meaning unresolvable). If issues around finances happen to be a problem of the perpetual variety for a given couple, conflict resolution and problem solving techniques likely will be ineffective for them. Instead, learning ways to have collaborative conversations about the deeper meanings of money will more likely help the couple disengage from conflict and be able to form tentative compromises. Secondly, Hendrix' mirroring communication exercises are suggested for a partner listening to difficult communication about finances from the other partner. Although this can be helpful, it should be noted that reflective listening techniques tend to not be helpful if the speaker is not mindfully managing how he/she brings up the issue, and how the couple collaboratively manages the potential escalation of each partner's physiology (using self-soothing as an antidote to flooding/fight-flight responses).

If these ideas (stemming from Gottman's research) interest you, please review our website and consider signing up for a workshop with your partner.

Mike Basta