We’re past the seven-year itch and in “gay years” we’re more Cocoon and less Romeo & Juliet, if Juliet was a dude. Heck, we’ve been together longer than it took some of our straight friends to date, marry and divorce. Since many marriages that end in divorce do so because of money problems, here are the related lessons we’ve learned in our 12 years of financial bliss.
1. Eventually We Had to Talk About Money
Like most couples we didn’t get into our relationship because of money. Sure, there are the gold diggers, but we got together because of a combination of excitement, hormones and delusion.
We one day realized, “Oh, we’re doing this!” That’s when it came time to go adult and discuss living arrangements, life goals and finances (past, present and future). The longer we went without discussing our financial goals, the more precarious they became, which is why we continued to dig ourselves deeper into debt. Once we started communicating, we were able to improve our financial situation.
2. It’s Better When We Both Manage Our Finances
Every relationship uses the divide and conquer method. David cooks. John cleans. John sings. David turns on the radio. David opens cabinets and closet doors. John closes them. The division is unique for each couple.
While dividing and conquering is often efficient, we’ve found it’s imperative that we both understand our finances. When either of us solely managed our finances, the other was in the dark and spent accordingly. This added a degree of difficulty usually only seen in the Olympics for reaching our financial goals. (You can monitor your financial goals like building good credit for free on Credit.com.)
3. Fights About Money Aren’t About Money
Fights about money are the symptom, not the disease. Everyone has their logical and emotional connection with money. Money is security. It’s a way of life. It’s status. It’s a goal.
When we’re having a strongly worded discussion about our money, we’ve found it’s worthwhile to take a moment to understand the underlying meaning of our disagreement. This let us address the root of the problem more quickly and accurately so we can return to more positive discussions.
4. Stuff Isn’t Worth It, Experiences Are
We live in a consumption society. All day long we consume, whether it’s food, drinks, clothes, media and more. It’s impossible to go a day without seeing an advertisement. Minority Report is here.
It’s easy to confuse tangible things with happiness. We confused ourselves into thinking that the nicer house, the nicer car, the new boots and the newest phone would make us happy. This isn’t true.
The experiences we’ve had with each other and our loved ones are what really make us happy. When we think of our past, it’s rarely the tangible things that bring smiles to our faces.
This is what we’ve learned over the course of our 12 years together. We think it’s worth sharing because we could all use a little more happiness.
This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.
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Image courtesy of David Auten and John Schneider