Secrets to Not Having Secrets About Money
to be honest with your partner and come out alive … and more loved.
Christine Arylo & Noah Martin, love intelligence experts
you get down to what separates great, long-lasting partnerships from
ones that start with the best intentions but fizzle out over time,
there are a few very basic rules and behaviors that while seemingly
common sense, most people don’t have a clue about. The truth is
that we can all use a boost in our E.L.Q. … our emotional
intelligence when it comes to navigating the waves of our most
intimate love relationships (a.k.a. your Emotional Love Quotient.)
of the most vital components of keeping and growing a POWERFUL,
LOVING, and FUN partnership is HONESTY. When life is smooth, honesty
is easy. It’s when the bumps come up that the temptation to fib, to
disguise or avoid the truth seem like the simplest path. But over
time, little lies build to bigger lies and resentment – neither of
which you want hanging around your relationship.
of the most fertile grounds for secrecy between two people is money.
We call these ‘sticky situations’ and we’ve listed a few of the
most common. We’ve also included the most dangerous but often used
’emotionally-stunted’ responses… DO NOT try these at home! On
the flip side, we’ve outlined for you the high E.L.Q. response, one
we’ve used in our own partnership to transform financially sticky
situations into deeper connection, a better understanding of
ourselves, and more love.
spent a chunk of change without consulting your partner
blown the budget you both agreed to
put something on credit when you’ve agreed you are paying off your
the bill and pray he/she never finds out.
guilty, wait for them to figure it out and beg for forgiveness.
your misdemeanor into another conversation or get to them while they
are busy or distracted.
up but slough it off as not a big deal, you’ll find the money
to yourself that you acted outside of the agreements you had with
your partner. You have to accept responsibility with yourself
that your action was outside of either a stated or implied agreement
(we always recommend having explicit agreements about money
choices.) But even if you didn’t have an explicit agreement, you
knew what your partner expected. So face the music. Say out loud to
yourself, “I chose to XX and I know that my action was outside of
our agreements / expectations of each other.” And then take a deep
breath (don’t skip the breath, it’s important to releasing your
own emotions!) Coming clean with yourself will feel good and erase
some of the guilt or apprehension. You can’t be honest with your
partner if you aren’t first honest with yourself.
and succinctly take responsibility with your partner and then tell
them the facts. This is not the time to go into some long story
to justify your actions. Just own what you did, not with guilt but
with honesty. First, ask for his/her attention to talk about
something important. Second, state that you broke an agreement. And
third, tell them the specifics. “Joe, I broke our agreement about
making big purchases without talking to you about it. I bought XX
today for $XX.” Then shut up.
your partner react. Before you get to the “Why” (which in
your mind may either have been a good or bad reason) your partner
will need to have their emotional response. Seriously, it’s the
least you can do. Your job is just to listen. Let them have whatever
feeling they have. Don’t try and defend yourself, unless you want
to create a fight. This is also not the time to explain why. Just
listen. If in your partner’s reaction, they ask why, include your
response as part of step four, after you own it. (Note to
Partner… you are responsible for your own E.L.Q. too. You are
allowed to honestly react but not to bludgeon, scream, attack, tear
apart or try and make your partner – who is trying to be honest
with you — feel guilty or ashamed. You can be angry but you still
owe this person your respect and unconditional love. Be angry at the
action, not the person… and DON’T take it personally, their
action was not a personal attack on you.)
your action again, apologize for breaking the agreement and then,
finally, you can share… not your defense but your heart. Your
simple response is, “You are right. I acted outside of our
agreement. I am sorry.” Let that apology land. Then take a breath
and say, “I’d like to share why I made this decision…” and
then share with them, from your heart what motivated you to make the
choice to spend money this way. Be vulnerable. Do not get defensive.
Do not bring up any of their actions from the past to throw in their
face. Remember, the two of you are on the same side, and have
committed to helping each other be the best people you can be.
Conscious Next Steps.
the “Now what?” Come to agreement on how you manage any
financial stress this may cause, and work together to make it
an agreement or modify the previous one. Converse about what
really works for you both and talk about it until you both feel
your agreed to expectations out loud. This will make sure
there is no confusion, and will eliminate the need for any
our favorite last step to this whole process…
Swear on your agreement and then seal it with a smooch!
Arylo and Noah Martin met
in Chicago, married in San Francisco, and after 10-years of hanging
out building lives, a business and a loving partnership together,
still have the kind of relationship most people only dream about.
Their simple, fun and practical approaches to love and relationships
have been featured on ABC-TV and on stages across the country with
audiences of all ages. Arylo is the popular author of Choosing
ME before WE, The Every Woman’s Guide to Life and Love
and Noah is a trained hypnotherapist and relationship coach. Visit