Money conveys emotions. The giving of it and the withholding of it.
If it is used to buy food, clothes, medicine, and education it can express care. If it is used to buy thoughtful gifts, it can convey love. If it is used to help people in need, it conveys charity.
If money is withheld, it can convey that I care more about myself than you. If this happens within a marriage, it can reflect selfishness, narcissism, or even financial abuse.
The definition of financial abuse includes controlling how all the money is spent, not allowing the victim access to bank accounts, withholding money, giving an ‘allowance’, or not including the victim in banking or investment decisions.
You may know of such relationships. Abuse sounds harsh, but money in these relationships is typically used to control a partner, to the extent that it is detrimental to them; it is not used to convey love. What astounds me, is how frequently we see it amongst young couples. Your picture of financial abuse may be of low-earning, poor people, but my experience of it has been within wealthy families. Control, disregard, selfishness and even abuse are tolerated and left unchecked, especially in marriages where the income distribution is skew.
If one partner suffers financially because of illness, and the other does not provide, what does money convey in that relationship? If one partner has all their desires met, and lives their best life, but the other doesn’t even have enough money to cover basic needs, what does money say then? If one partner has enough money to save for the future, but the other doesn’t, how is care conveyed? If one partner takes care of all the children’s needs, and the other doesn’t, what story does the money tell?
Of course, money in marriage is complex. We each bring our own money history and story to the marriage. And I’m not referring to the constant negotiations around budgetary constraints in any normal marriage. I am referring to the silent neglect I come across in modern marriages. Romantic love is not love, if it doesn’t involve financial care, especially when one spouse is in need.
Regardless of your marital contract, how you use your money, conveys your heart towards your spouse. They either feel cherished or neglected, loved or abused.
Money talks loudly. It exposes your heart.
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//13 August 2021