By Jillian Vriend
I could hear the tone in my rising, my heart racing, my fists clenching. Part of me was reacting deeply, felt the need to defend itself, to make its’ case. Wayne challenged me back and we both could feel the clashing of parts inside of ourselves; the ones who held the tension that built up over the years around this charged issue. Money.
For most of our relationship, I had been managing our personal finances and performing bookkeeping for our painting company and for our healing offering. In the beginning, this was relieving to Wayne as he had been running the business and managing the finances for many years by himself before our marriage. Because of my previous business coach training, I would come up with budget systems and bookkeeping systems, yet the energy and desire to truly collaborate around it didn’t arise between us. We were highly collaborative in other areas, especially in alchemizing our healing offering, making major life decisions, and in working together in painting.
We knew (or our SFH selves knew anyway) that this compartmentalization around money wasn’t ideal nor was it reflective of our sense of a holistic response to life where no area is more sacred than any other. However, we also feel, as we hold with clients, that things are ready to move when they are and this domain of money was one that seemed to reflect a deeper struggle for parts of us.
It is said that money and managing finances is the number one area that causes conflicts in a romantic relationship or marriage. So, why is that, especially over something that isn’t even real?
My experience has been, working with both small business clients and SoulFullHeart clients, that money represents love to parts of us. We experience the same push-pull desires and resistance toward money that we do about letting in and transacting love. Parts of us can feel a sense of abundance or scarcity around money that is also connected to how they have experienced either an overflow or its opposite, the non availability of love, or something in between. Also, we receive a strong imprint from our cultural conditioning and our parents around how they relate to money and what roles parts of them played around it. This conditioning can be very strong and seems to be largely subconscious to us, so it can be difficult to identify and heal. Most likely very few of us received a truly healthy model for navigating money issues in an emotionally conscious way that allowed both partners to contribute and each individual to feel what was actually going on in their reactions about it.
Truly allowing a non-comparmentalized flow around money in your life, whether in a relationship or not, is about negotiating with parts of you around what their relationship to it is. For part of me named Carolyn, managing the money represented an area that she could control and also feel important around when she was feeling insecure about not holding a full-time job like we used when we were single. It was Carolyn who had a difficult time with the recent changes and what felt like Wayne’s sudden involvement and opinions about how to do things when she felt he had previously abdicated the money management to her.
I was able to hold her around this reactions, give her space when needed, and also to feel how earning independent money had been part of my conditioning in childhood as I received a strong template about this from my mom. My parents always maintained separate checking accounts and earned separate incomes. I received no modeling around how to collaborate in money earning and money management with a mate, which is why it felt so unknown to parts of me.
Wayne had a big movement around this as well with part of him and we were able to come together and share vulnerably after the initial blowups. We navigated through it because our parts had been felt by us, no longer demanding the other person feel and get what they were feeling. This is an example of focusing vertically (inside you) rather than just horizontally (on the partner only) when a conflict comes up, which I feel many relationships would benefit from, especially in this vulnerable area of money generation and management. We also held a boundary around not letting our parts get petty, mean, or be in ill will with each other as that just collapses the transactability between the partners making vulnerable sharing impossible.
Ultimately, moving through this difficult area for us has led to deepening intimacy and connection between us. I feel relief and goodness in Wayne’s increased involvement and leadership in this area. It now feels much more like the goodness of our “usness” (the third energy that is created when two people come together in a relationship) is leading the finances. Also, we are creatively coming up with new solutions and renewed alchemy, every day seeming to lead to new opportunities around money. Love is flowing freely in this area now and, with that, regardless of what the bank balance is, this area of my life now feels abundant.