You don’t need me to tell you this, but money is an essential part of our everyday lives. It can be a huge stress to your marriage if care is not taken. When couples fight, money is almost always part of the disagreement.
One way to help couples deal with this menace is a commitment to understand each other’s money language, and to leverage this difference. You both see money differently.
Kenneth Doyle, a financial phycologist wrote an article about the four different money languages. Each of us has a predominant money language that affects our perceptions and decisions. The four money languages are:
Driver – Money means success. It protects against the fear of incompetence. For this person, success/ competence is measured by the amount of money gathered/ accumulated. A driver says “I love you” by buying things and showing you through material objects you are important to them. Obviously, taken too far this can become materialistic and non-relational.
Analytic – Money means security. It is a means to ward off chaos and problems. Analytics are well structured financially, and they are good long-range money planners. Analytics say “I love you” through saving and planning. They are the type of people that will give you a savings coupon as a gift! Taken too far they can become miserable, and controlling. They can become very legalistic about budgeting and money issues. They can also communicate more value for money than people. They can unintentionally communicate a disregard for the feelings of others because of a conservative financial attitude.
Amiable – Relationships and people are the focus of the financial desires of the “Amiables.” To them, money means love and affection. The lack of money translates as an inability to demonstrate love. An amiable says “I love you” by sharing and giving. While Amiables are generous and good-hearted, they are often poor money managers with little or no financial structure or long-range planning. Without balance and wisdom, an amiable can be impulsive and unprepared for the future.
Expressive – For the “Expressive,” money is acceptance: it purchases the respect and admiration of others. It provides the basis of relationship with desirable people. Expressives say “I love you” by shopping, purchasing and spending to gain acceptance from a select group. Taken too far, “expressives” use money the way some people use alcohol—to deal with pain and anxiety in a wrong manner. Rather than relying on God, “Expressives” can be overly dependent on money to solve problems and calm fears.
Why is all this important? Understanding your financial languages can help stop fights over money and lead to healthy discussions. It can also help you appreciate the fact that what you may be interpreting as a financial weakness in your spouse could be their effort to express love to you.
Approximately eighty percent of all couples have different money languages. Understanding these differences helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses you both have, and it can help you make better money decisions because you are able to balance each other’s perspective.
What changes do you need to make to avoid the weaknesses of your money language? How can you adapt to your spouse’s money language?