This was a saying that Markus' mother used frequently during his childhood. Although, she said it in Finish so the above is a free translation of her words. Never the less, it leads us on to the topic of this article – relationships and money.

One of the most common causes of conflicts in relationships is just money. Money quite often becomes an area where you can exercise both control and resistance. It may be, for example, the need to control the other's behavior in connection with money or it may be a reluctance to deal with money.

Markus: How I was behaving in relation to my partner when it came to money wasn't so much about the money as it was about my need of control.

The game plan money became however, once I got help to see it, a clear hint that I needed to change my relationship to my need of control.

Money can't buy happiness

This is also a saying that you have probably heard in one form or another. We do agree that money can't buy happiness, at least not directly. There is however a connection that we see as quite interesting in this context.

In our view, what money can buy is time. If you have quite a lot of money, you can reduce your time and perhaps work fewer hours per day. Or if you have plenty of money you can work part of the week, maybe with your own home based business. If you are really wealthy, you can also choose to stop working completely. Thus, money can buy time. Time can buy freedom and freedom can buy happiness.

Worth considering in this reasoning is one of the most common complaints that in particular women have - that their men don't pay them enough attention and give them enough time which can lead to unhappiness. Maybe even to that the relationship ultimately ends.

Money doesn't grow on trees

This is another saying that most certainly will end up on your list of sayings that you have come in contact with. What does it mean really? Just for fun, let us analyze it for a moment.

That money does not grow on trees has, at least in the context in which we have come into contact with the term, been equal to that there really is no abundance of money or to at least not to waste them. There is of course a practical wisdom in finding that money does not grow on trees. Rich people are seldom rich because they earn plenty of money but because they spend much less than they earn. Thus, it may be wise to keep track of your money.

However, we have met many people that through this expression have got stuck in poverty thinking. That there is not enough money to suffice for us all and the amount of money that you can accrue is limited. This belief can in many cases lead to fear and when we allow ourselves to be controlled by this fear, as well as of other fears, it rarely leads to romantic happiness.

This saying, combined with the others mentioned above, leads us to what we have learnt about money during our childhood, upbringing and during our lives. What is it that we bring in to the merge with our life companion? What beliefs and values related to money is it that we bring with us in to the bedroom, or at least in to the common home?

Filippa: I used to think that talking about money was hard, I related money to be a source to conflict and if I said what I thought I would risk losing the relationship or at least worsen it.

This truth made me avoid the subject and when I was forced to talk about it I was very diffuse and unclear over what I thought and was thinking. This in return led to misunderstandings and conflicts which lead to the relationship taking a beating.

So now I realize that the clearer I am, even if it may stir up emotions in my partner, the better our relationship and I will feel about it.

Money script

We call it a money script. Just as actors have a manuscript to follow, we have money scripts that we follow, often unconsciously. But who is it that has written these money scripts? In order for us to be able to change them, we need to realize that we are in fact the ones who wrote them. However, and this is important, we have often written them under powerful external influence.

This influence may have been from your parents or from another important person that you grew up with. It can be from magazines that you have read, TV-programmes you have seen. It can also be from discussions with class mates, colleagues or acquaintances.

It can be from events in your life when you choose to interpret what happened in such a way that it had something to do with money. From this you created a truth in this money script that "this is the way it is with money", period.

A living example

A friend of mine told me how money scripts had affected his relationship to his wife, before and after they had been aware of their respective money scripts and could change them. His wife had the following experience during her upbringing. When she wanted to buy something as a child, for example buy an ice cream from the ice cream truck, she would run to her mum to get money for the ice cream. Her mum would say: "Dad is the one with the money; you will have to ask him". So she would then go to her dad and ask to get the money.

What would a child learn from this? Correct, that it is the man who has the money. So what did she expect from my friend when they got married? Yes, money. Among other things may be added, but it was still an expectation that would strongly affecting their relationship. And since women don't have money (her second lesson learnt from her mother) she made sure to spend the money fast.

What about my friend then? What was his money script? When he was growing up it was more the "money doesn't grow on tree" type of sayings that was used in his family. So for him, the lack of money became equal to captivity and money became equal to freedom. So each time his wife came and asked him for money and also spent them as fast as she could, it wasn't the money she was spending. For him it was their future freedom she spent.

Can you see how these conflicting money scripts can cause one or another small discussion in this home (read; massive quarrel)? My friend later noted that every argument that they had had was about money. They had a good relationship apart from this but just money became something that would strongly tear their relationship apart. Luckily they came in contact with people and information that helped them clarify their money scripts and change them.

Another living example

Another woman told us what she had learned about money while growing up. It was first when we were talking about money script that she became fully aware of this lesson. It isn't like we as children are fully aware of "Okay, so now I learned this about money". No, it will unconsciously sneak through the back door to our head, lie there in the dark and control parts of our lives unless we turn on the light and do a cleanup of our brain.

Her stepfather was the one who earned the money. Her mum was most of the time at home. They had however only just enough money to barely go by. This was because as soon as her stepfather received his paycheck he would use the money to buy alcohol and he literally drank up the money. This would sometimes end with that he also in the drunken state hit this woman.

From this one can certainly take a lot of things from life but what we have chosen in this article is the connection to money. So what was the lesson here? Well, that having a lot of money only leads to problems. So through her whole adult life she became a champion on spending money and make sure to only have enough to survive. She was very creative in the different ways to spend the money. There would be bills and expenses from every direction. Once again it is important to see that it was never done deliberately. It wasn't so that she just went and spent it all on clothes and meaningless entertainments. No, her subconscious would make up ways to keep the finances on a minimum existence.

What is your financial thermostat at?

It is in this context also worth mentioning our internal financial thermostat. This reasoning can help you with clues to at least some part of your own money script. We all have an internal financial thermostat connected to money. It has a direct link to your money script so that the two definitely interact together. So what is this thermostat?

Your financial thermostat regulates your financial situation. Just like a thermostat that sits on the wall and keeps the indoor temperature at an average of 18 degrees, or rather the temperature that you have set it to keep. If it were to be winter outside, the thermostat would blow on the heating system and make sure that it keeps the temperature you've set it to keep. If it were to be summer, sunny and 30 degrees outside it would turn all the heating off and instead turn the air conditioning on to keep the temperature down at the correct degrees it has been set to.

Similar to this, our money script has set our financial thermostat on a financial level that we are comfortable with. If you were to end up in a financial situation that is below to what your financial thermostat is set to, all your subconscious resources will kick in to quickly take you back to the financial standard that you are suppose to be on. Pretty good, right?

Well, that would mean that when there is a financial winter your internal financial thermostat should with most certainly keep you financially warm. But, and such an important but, that also means that when there is a financial summer with a high financial boom (if you find the last words repulsive then this feeling would probably have a connection to your money script), big financial opportunities, extremely profitable investments to make, then your internal financial thermostat will put all those subconscious resources to take you down to your financial standard again.

It is fascinating how some people always fail with the investments that they do. How they almost always manage to hit dirt when the field to wealth lies open and green in front of them.

Someone once said that success is 80% psychology and 20% skills. The thermostats that we are talking about and the money scripts belong to the 80%. Worth noticing is also in the first example with the financial winter, what happens when you return to your financial standard. Let us say that you are used to have an annual income of 360 000 before tax. You get fired but you quickly find an opportunity and a way to start your own business. If 360 000 really is in line with your programmed money script then you can be sure that your business will generate exactly enough so that you can withdraw 360 000 in an annual salary. And when you get there your thermostat will kick in and make sure that you do not earn any more than just that.

For example, Donald Trump who I am sure you have heard of. He is a clear and a somewhat extreme example. His thermostat is set to billions, not millions but billions. When he went bankrupt in the 1990's and was several billions behind he found a way to make a comeback and once again become a billionaire. For him 50 millions hadn't been enough. That would have been a financial winter.

Markus: For many years I was a champion on making things just break even. No matter what I did, what level I worked at or which area I carried on a business in, I just made it break even.

It was first after I had participated in a course on the topic money and just money script, as well as a conversation with my parents, that I could see a clear pattern in the whole thing.

With my newfound knowledge I managed to start the work to re-programme my money script to allow more abundance and joy in money.

So what should we do?

As previously noted, to try to change your partner is just as comfortable and effective as banging your forehead repeatedly into a concrete wall, hard.

Then it's better to start with yourself or to do it together with your partner. If you have a good relationship and you feel that you can action it together, then read this article and do the experience in the end together.

If you're not completely sure that he or she would like this initiative then an advice is to ask for help. Start working with clarifying and possibly re-programming your own money script. Then explain to your partner what you are doing and ask him or her to help you with feedback and support. If you do this genuinely it will most certainly bring your partners curiosity to what you are doing and he or she will take an initiative to start doing the same for his or part. If what you are hoping for doesn't happen, then breathe deeply and remember the concrete wall and Gandhi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world".

There is of course, that together talk about your joint finances in a way that creates a free flow of love in this area if it tends to be something that you usually put negative feelings on. However, it is no point in talking about these things if you not firstly, in a non-hostile way, clarify your respective money script. Otherwise all your discussions and reactions will be colored by these different money scripts.

In conclusion

Robert Assagioli, founder of Psycho synthesis which has been called psychology with a soul, said about money that they are the vehicle of love. If this isn't the case for you in your relationships then we sincerely wish you will have the experience and hopefully this article can contribute to this.

Speaking about this article we would also like to add the following; being broke is a temporary condition, being poor is an attitude to life.

Homework assignment

Reflect yourself and, if possible, together with you partner over the following questions linked to money. Make sure that you will not be disturbed while doing so. Have an inquisitive, explorative and open approach. Your job is not to judge something as good or bad, but simply trying to clarify aspects of your money scripts which these questions will help you with. In the questions that mentions your mum / dad, if you didn't have one of these or neither present when you were growing up, choose another important adult in your upbringing.

  • When I was a child we had..
  • What did my mum use to say about money?
  • What did my mum teach me about money through the ways that she did things?
  • What did my dad say about money?
  • What did my dad teach me about money through the way that he did things?
  • If someone gives me a cheap present it makes me feel like...
  • If I give an expensive gift to the same person it makes me feel like..
  • If my partner spends a lot of money on me I feel like...
  • If I spend a lot of money on my partner I feel like...
  • To have a lot of cash in my pocket makes me feel like...
  • When it comes to money I feel scared when I think of...

Couple with laptop studying relationships