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Bill and Nadine originally had been attracted to each other by very differences that they now found impossible to live with. In fact, they were like opposite pairs of bookends. If you put them together, two halves made a whole. I am sure some sensible part of each of them understood that alone they were unbalanced and together they could make a good team. That is, if they didn’t kill each other first.
Therapy helped them to understand their different histories and expectations and over time, each one slowly moved slightly towards center. Their disastrous fights lessened and they could begin to remember why they fell in love in first place. It took courage for each of them to learn how to listen to other and to give up pieces of their own dearly cherished beliefs. By time they left therapy, money was rarely an issue between them.
But, I wonder what would have happened to this marriage if they hadn’t received help? I doubt that it would have lasted and it would have gone way of so many marriages where each partner finds other’s attitude and ways of managing money totally incomprehensible.
Money is both a metaphor and a reality. Talking openly and communicating about money becomes another way for you and your spouse to get to know each other. Attitudes towards money range from penurial to extravagant. There is no reason to run to divorce court just because you and your spouse have different ways of managing your finances.
Attitudes and relationships towards finances are unique to you and reveal a good deal about who you are and how you operate. Dollars and cents are interface or unit of exchange between you and society and learning where you stand along continuum, from prudent to expansive, can help you learn more about how you negotiate through life. The more you understand about yourself and your spouse when money matters, better chance you have of working out a successful marriage. Try it.
Life is too hard to do alone,
Dorree Lynn, PH.D.
Dr. Dorree Lynn is co-founder of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and a practicing clinician in New York and Washington, DC. Dr. Lynn served on the executive board of the American Academy of Psychotherapists and she is on the editorial board of their publication, Voices. She is also a regular columnist for the Washington, DC newspaper, The Georgetowner. Dr. Lynn is a noted speaker and well known on the lecture circuit.