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The holidays often bring up a lot of stressors for couples. One of the most common challenges couples face during the holiday season comes down to dollars and cents, particularly so when your financial viewpoint differs from your partner. Thinking about money or your finances during the holidays, with gift buying, entertaining and travel, can be stressful Too often couples feel the pressure to spend more than they are comfortable with to make for a happy holiday even at the risk of racking up credit card debt.
When working with couples in therapy, investigating the meaning of money and each person’s personal history with finances brings up a lot of vulnerability. Too often we avoid discussing this very important subject matter. How comfortable you are talking about money with your partner can make or break your relationship.
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a wealth psychology expert, examined this in her book, “Breaking Money Silence.” The book looks at the ways couples and individuals can improve how they think and talk about money. Some signs that couples are financially incompatible are obvious, such as hiding purchases or racking up debt, often unbeknownst to their partner. “Often money is a symbol of something else,” Kingsbury said. “That might be a symptom of trust issues in the relationship.”
But even couples who are on the same page and share priorities when it comes to what they spend money on, say adventurous experiences, may still disagree on where to go on vacation and what equipment they will need once they are there. Getting past those differences comes down to communication. Kingsbury suggests the following tips for how couples can get beyond financial issues:
So bringing all of this into context of holiday spending, what are some ways to come together as a couple and get through the season feeling like you made sound decisions? The American Psychological Association (APA) offers similar good ideas to help you deal with the financial stress around the holidays.
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