Relationships and Money

Why is money almost always an issue in relationships, even when there’s no shortage of money?

This month we led an Exploring Extraordinary Relationships workshop in Kauai, Hawaii. The topic was Relationships and Money. One of the questions we began with was, “Why is money almost always an issue in relationships, even when there’s no shortage of money?”

Engaging in that and other questions revealed a subtle nuance regarding money in relationships and opened new territory for us to explore.

Often, a sense of ownership comes along with thinking about money, as in “my money/your money/our money.” Both money and the stuff that it is used to buy is ordinarily and obviously seen to be owned.

Owning/possessing/having is, by definition, “holding in hand or in control.” So it can be seen that money issues in relationships are closely tied to concerns about one’s control, and even survival, as an individual. The amount of money isn’t the issue. The issue is the control of one’s life and trusting or distrusting the other. The notion of ownership seems to produce more separation than unification.

That led us to examine our everyday way of referring to the others in our relationships, as examples, “my husband/my daughter/my friend/my partner.” That ordinary way of speaking produces an illusion of owning the other, which is obviously neither appropriate nor possible.

Consider that it may be more beneficial, and more accurate, to see ourselves as stewards of our relationships rather than owners. As stewards we can be dedicated to taking good care of our relationships rather than dedicated to controlling them. That could lead to a whole new experience of being related!

“Discoveries of any great moment…once they are discovered, are seen to be extremely simple and obvious, and make everybody, including their discoverer, appear foolish for not having discovered them before.” G. Spencer Brown

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