People give and receive love in various ways, and the better we understand these preferences, the better we can build fulfilling relationships. How you express love and how you want your partner to show love is known as your love language, like spending quality time together or sharing words of affirmation. Here’s a look at how this concept can be translated into your financial life and how improving your understanding of each other’s love language can help you reach your financial goals more successfully.
You're not alone if you’ve experienced money stress in your relationship. Nearly three in four married or cohabitating couples say financial decisions have caused tension in their relationship. Financial stressors, like overwhelming debt or an unexpected emergency, can lead to disagreements or resentment. Plus, if a couple has different spending habits, financial priorities, and communication styles, conversations can easily turn heated when they’re not on the same page. While talking about money is not always comfortable, it’s important to be open about your financial situation and provide an opportunity where both people feel heard and supported.
Since finances are an ongoing factor in a long-term relationship, couples should routinely discuss financial matters and try to understand each other’s point of view. For couples just starting out and determining compatibility, it can be a good idea to be open about personal financial goals a few months into the relationship. Couples at this stage don’t need to have numbers nailed down or everything figured out, but being open and honest is a good place to start. Established and married couples should consider discussing more concrete financial goals and how their decisions will affect their joint financials. Taking time to understand each other’s love language can be applied to managing finances as well and provides important insight into finding balance.
Knowing how your love language impacts financial decisions can help you find ways to compromise with your partner, even if your love language and relationship with money are different. Here’s how each love language can translate into finances and suggestions for strengthening those connections.
For this love language, people choose verbal communication to show they care and use words of gratitude and appreciation toward their partner. From a financial standpoint, you may prefer to talk through money matters together, even if they’re difficult topics, and feel ongoing conversations are the key to building financial security and staying on track. Seeking the guidance of a financial professional can help put a plan in motion and allow a third party to facilitate the discussion, ask questions, and help find common ground where both partner’s goals are supported.
For those who enjoy spending time together and giving and receiving undivided attention, it may be tempting to put money toward extravagant date nights or weekend getaways. Since quality time is about being together no matter what you’re doing, having budget-friendly options can still allow you to enjoy one-on-one time without breaking the bank. Consider mini golf, going for a hike, packing a picnic, or trying a new recipe together.
Some individuals like to show their partner they care by doing things that let them know they’re thinking of them or making their life easier. To apply this to your financial life, setting up auto pay on shared expenses or using a budgeting app to simplify combined financial goals like starting an emergency fund may be helpful. Finding ways to make paying bills and increasing savings less stressful can benefit both people in the relationship and support a team-effort approach to money management.
Many people enjoy giving or receiving thoughtful gifts to show they care and feel connected. This can be tricky for a couple’s financial life if one partner spends money on a gift as an act of love while the other considers it an unnecessary expense. To get on the same page financially, set a budget for how much is spent on gift-giving for specific occasions. Consider incorporating homemade or personalized gifts that do not have a huge price tag or reserving time for an activity together rather than an expensive item. This can still say, “I’m thinking of you,” without the stress of spending money you may not have.
Some people’s love language is physical affection, like hugging or holding hands. For finances, physical touch translates to spending and saving habits and being able to see the tangible effects of their efforts. If they’re not seeing their collective spending or saving activities regularly, it may not impact them as much. For these individuals, it can be helpful to use a spreadsheet or app to maintain a budget, track spending, and review it together regularly. This can help both people to be proactive about their finances, solve any issues quickly, and create an equal partnership when making financial decisions.
Whatever your love language, maintaining a healthy relationship is all about mutual respect and compromise. This is especially true regarding finances and working together to achieve financial goals and build a more secure future. Determine ways both partners can feel like they’re contributing that honor their personal preferences and personalities. This may mean maintaining separate savings accounts and a joint checking or savings account. It can also be helpful to have a combined budget that breaks down into individual budgets that allow each person to set their spending limits and goals. Finding a financial love language that works for you and meeting regularly about your financial plan can help each partner feel secure in the relationship and empowered to make financial decisions that impact their present and future.
The term financial professional is not intended to imply engagement in an advisory business in which compensation is not related to sales. Financial professionals that are insurance licensed will be paid a commission on the sale of an insurance product.