Restoring Relationship Trust

Another area that creates huge trust issues in personal relationships is money. As many marriage counselors affirm, money problems are a key cause of divorce. While many such problems are caused by lack of character (selfish or impulsive spending, attempts to control or restrict a partner’s access to shared resources, or efforts to hide spending from a partner), many are also caused by lack of competence (lack of education or experience in money management). In addition, two people coming into a relationship are often scripted in different ways by family experience — for example, one may come from a background of spenders, while the other comes from a background of thrift.

Here’s a story from Stephen Covey’s book

“For years, my husband and I had problems managing our money. We would agree to spend our money in a certain way, then he would come home with some new thing we hadn’t agreed on. It was very frustrating, and I eventually withdrew emotionally as a financial partner.

Over time, however, we both came to realize that this situation was negatively affecting the trust in our relationship, and we decided to change. He worked on being more responsible to act based on our agreements; I worked on expressing my opinions better and participating more fully in financial decisions. And together, we became involved in learning more about good financial habits, including budgeting and investing.

It’s taken quite a while to shift old habits, but through it all, we’ve become amazingly close and more unified in our financial values, goals, and habits. In fact, I’d say that now financial units is one of our strengths. Doing something together that was this challenging has created even strong bonds of trust in our entire relationship.

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