Note from Dustin: Enjoy this great post from my buddy Derek!
All throughout high school and college I suffered from extreme allergies.
My allergies would come out of nowhere, hit me like a train, and leave me in bed for days trying to recover and regain my energy.
After college when I got my first real job my allergies made things difficult. Sleeping until Noon was no longer an option when I was so tired I couldn’t get out of bed. I would take naps at work and even call in “sick” several times a year, not because I was sick, but because I was exhausted.
I was worried my boss would think I was lazy or trying to get away with something. I wasn’t either of these things, I was exhausted.
I didn’t know I had allergies at all until I told a co-worker why I wasn’t at work one day. He told me about his experience with allergies and how he used to feel exhausted all the time too. He (along with another co worker) had been getting allergy injections for years. He told me the injections had changed his life. He no longer felt tired all the time and had plenty of energy.
I looked into it.
Yup, my allergy test came back off the charts!
Three years and hundreds of injections later I was no longer allergic to 95% of the things that used to put me in a coma. It has been five years since I quit receiving the allergy injections and I am still 95% allergy free. It worked!
I didn’t know I had allergies. I thought being exhausted was normal. I was missing out on so much of my own life and didn’t even know there was another way. How could I possibly know when my own personal experience was all I had to go on?
Sometimes it scares me to think of how my life would have gone if I had never told anyone about my exhaustion. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed about sleeping so much and that kept me from telling anyone. Also, I simply thought it was normal, I thought everyone was always as tired as I was. I didn’t even think of myself as being tired at all, I thought it was normal.
Thank God it came out and I learned about this ‘other way.’
I know how much money you have.
I believe that bringing another couple into your financial situation can have many financial and relational benefits.
Financial miscommunication remains at the top of the list for divorce. Financial miscommunication dumps mountains of stress on lots marriages that don’t end in divorce. Our goal isn’t simply to avoid divorce but rather to continuously grow and enjoy our marriages.
BMO Survey Suggests Money Trouble Remains Top Reason For Divorce.
“Just ahead of Valentine’s Day, the survey found that 68% of respondents said fighting over money would be their top reason for divorce, followed by infidelity at 60%…”
(Fights over money are more likely to end a marriage than infidelity!)
Personal finance, not private finance.
Financial stress has more power, authority, and influence over your marriage than it should be allowed to have. Most people keep their financial life private. Does anyone else see a link between these two statements?
Clearly something isn’t working. I wonder what would happen to all that stress if more people were open, honest, and transparent with their personal finances.
Sharing with another couple creates a safety line that extends beyond just you and your partner. Once you break through the imaginary line surrounding you and your partner, fresh air will blow in. Establishing a link that moves beyond your marriage will bring your situation to another level of reality. “It’s not just us anymore trying to figure this out” can be an incredibly helpful feeling and reality. Don’t wait until it is too late to throw out the safety line.
Sharing your feelings about your financial situation with another couple could inspire the other couple to action as well. Chance are high that the other couple is also trying to improve their relationship in the financial arena.
Thousands of accountability couples!
My wife Carrie and I have thousands of accountability partners. We post our financials on our website.
Think about it.
Why do you keep your financial info private? What are YOUR reasons?
Have you thought of your own reasons or do you just keep your info private because that is what everyone else does? What are your reasons apart from what appears to be everyone else’s reasons?
(I have news for you, not everyone keeps it a secret)
What do you have to lose?
How many people know how much you earn?
How many people know how you spend, save, give, and invest your money?
How many people know your net worth?
I bet the answer to all three questions adds up to less than five. (Your boss, someone in payroll, the person who does your taxes, and your spouse.)
Is it helpful for so few people to know about your financial life?
What do you have to gain?
Have a conversation with your partner about the benefits of letting another couple in on your situation. We focus on and give too much power to the negative/awkward reasons against being transparent. But what about all the potential upsides and benefits?
True, there are reasons for and against keeping it private. There are also reasons for and against opening up and sharing. Both ways will have positive and negative results.
Keep it private has its own set of negative results that you are experiencing right now whether you know it or not. Sharing your financials with another couple has benefits that you are currently missing out on.
The devil is in the details.
Ok then, leave out the details.
A conversation about money doesn’t have to include all the details in order to be incredibly helpful. A casual conversation about your current financial situation will be infinitely more helpful than no conversation at all. You don’t have to share specific numbers in order for the conversation to be helpful. Simply talking about your experience, your current circumstances, and your financial goals can be enough to make the time well worth it. Take it slow if that is more comfortable for you.
Talk with your partner and identify another couple you both feel comfortable sharing financial info with. Talk about the benefits of letting another couple into your financial world. Talk about your fears and what resistance you have to sharing financial info. Talk about the downside of not letting someone in on your situation. (Forward this post to the couple you have in mind.)
When you approach the couple you have in mind with this idea, ask them to think about it too. Ask them how they feel about the idea. You can bring it up and then revisit the conversation days, weeks, or months later if you like. The other couple doesn’t have to share their numbers with you if they don’t want to.
Carrie and I talked and prayed about posting our numbers for over a year before we started doing it. The positive feedback has been amazing. We both felt liberated, like a huge burden was suddenly being carried by thousands of others, not just us anymore.
Derek and Carrie encourage married couples to strengthen their marriage through having better conversations on money. Thanks to them for an awesome guest post!
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.