Of all the scary relationship gremlins that pop up unexpectedly to attack our happiness, the most frequent restless spirit seems to be the Money Monster.

According to numerous research studies – and pretty much everyone’s personal experience – there are few things that strike fear and anxiety in the heart of our relationships like the dreaded little green monster that magically turns money into misery.

At least, that’s what it feels like sometimes, isn’t it? We all know money is just a tool we use to facilitate the life we want. But the Money Monster has been with us since childhood, observing the experiences we had with money, listening to what our parents and others taught us and modeled to us about money, always lurking in the shadows watching as we developed our own, unique relationship with money.

We all have this Money Monster in there somewhere, and they come along with us into all our normal relationships – work, family, community, friends – ever vigilant, watching for the perfect moment to leap into action.

Like the first time your partner uses the shared credit card to buy something without talking to you about it. Or when you want to merge your finances, but your new partner insists on keeping them separate. And everyone’s favorite: when one of you makes more money than the other, and you’re arguing about the most equitable way to divvy up the bills.

Every one of us comes into relationship with a different spin on money and how to handle it, what it means in our life, what role it plays in our happiness, how much a part of our very identity it is. It’s easy to see how vulnerable we are to the Money Monster and the fear, doubt, and anxiety they can churn up in our lives.

So how do we deal with this unwanted hijacker of happiness?

The same way we rid our children’s bedroom closet of the monsters that lurk in there – we open the door and shine the light of truth inside. We call its bluff! We show our kiddos that the monster is not really there, but is inside our minds, and we can choose not to let it stay there.

Safe Conversations is the light you shine on your Money Monster when they show up in your relationships. Open the door to your own awareness that whatever you think about money and how to handle it, your partner has their own opinions and reasons, too. Shine the light of truth on the situation by acknowledging that your approach and your partner’s both deserve to be heard, considered, and respected.

Take away all the Monster’s power over you by resisting fear and choosing compassion instead – choosing to be curious about your partner’s relationship with money rather than judge them as wrong simply because they’re different from you. Show the Money Monster that you can talk to your partner and connect beyond the differences you may have about finances, rather than let the conflict take hold between you.

The Money Monster may always be with you, but Safe Conversations can keep you out of its reach. Keep opening the door and shining that light, and pretty soon, the Money Monster will give up the ghost!

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