What to do if a money date with your honey sounds HORRIFYING.

written by Bari Tessler June 12, 2013

You. Your Honey. And Money.  

How’s it working these days?

If you’ve been in my community for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about money dates – the time you spend on your relationship with your money.

What happens when we add another person into the mix?

In relationships, money can be one of the stickiest and most challenging areas to navigate as a couple.

Two money stories. Two sets of money patterns. High stakes around choices and meeting survival needs. Continuous decision-making (conscious or not).

It can be a big ole knot to untangle. There are a lot of things that get in the way of productive, healing, and . . . dare I say . . . enjoyable money dates with your honey.

Sometimes the space between you, your honey, and money can feel like the grand canyon, huge gaps of disconnection around each other, the numbers, and/or the vision.

It’s time to build a custom bridge for you…

So, what’s between you & money dates with your honey?

What kind of bridge needs to be created?

I see three main opportunities for connection in couple money dates (and of course, these tend to be the places we most often experience disconnection as well):

Each other, the Numbers, and the Vision.

To help get things moving for you, here’s a menu of Couple Money Date options and stories, in each category.

“Amazing what a difference it makes to call it a money date in my calendar instead of “finances time”. I look forward to it, find ways to make it special and enjoyable and appreciate it more.”


#1: Build a bridge to one another.

Do you need to create more safety, understanding, and healing between the two of you? Is it about connecting the emotions, stories, and patterns you both bring to the table?

Some ideas for you:

Explore how you are polarizing with your honey around money.

I recently hosted Financial Therapy Pioneer, Olivia Mellan, as a guest teacher in The Art of Money, and she shared with us a wonderful lens to look through for couples and money. Olivia spoke about the different ways couples can polarize with their money dance.

Examples include the money saver v. money spender, the money merger v. money separatist, the money worrier v. money avoider . . . and more.  
(On the call I added a few more polarizations that I see, ie:  the money smarty pants v. the “money stupid one”)

It’s so clarifying and helpful to identify these polarizations! When you can really see and acknowledge your unique money dance, your partner’s and that of the relationship, things can truly begin to shift. So take a peek with your honey at the ways in which you may polarize in your money relationship, and see if you can get each other’s world a bit more.

Another helpful lens to explore is the Enneagram. I know for me and Forest, and so many couples I’ve worked with, understanding ourselves and each other in this framework is so illuminating and truly helpful. (New to the Enneagram? Here’s a sweet intro video with my friend Ben Salzman and me.)

Finally, tell your stories to one another. How familiar are you with each other’s money stories? What did you each learn from your parents, or other family members? What role did you each have in your family of origin? What were the defining money moments in your development?

The main point here? Learn. Grow Compassion. Build a safe space.

I believe this is the foundation of being in right relationship with money and our honey.


So set a date. Light a candle. Explore. Connect. Get creative.

“I was so scared about my money date, but it turned out to be so beautiful! At first, I felt I needed an outcome, but as soon as it began I realized that the less I determined an outcome, the more was revealed. The process became more important than the outcome. . . we went to deep to places I didn’t even have any idea were there. It was very healing and I came away feeling spacious and positive about where the next one might take us.”


“Diving into my first money date with my husband this week. It’s so weird, I feel totally freaked out about it, I’m nervous, I feel as if I’m going to see the headmaster as I’ve done something wrong. All these strange feelings are arising and when I look at them at first I see no reason for them, but then I realize there is some serious shame and guilt stuff arising. I feel its possible to start really looking . . . I feel a stranger to the closest person to me in my life when the money topic comes up! Wow !”


“Had my first money date with my honey a couple nights ago. We had all the lights off and lit two tea light candles to illuminate the space. We kept the lights off because it represented our most recent approach to our finances. We were in the dark and each of us could only see what was right in front of us. We set the time for 30 minutes and ended up going deeper, speaking truth, acknowledging fears, sharing stories and assumptions we had both been operating under. A couple hours later, we closed the space, stated we were complete for now, and turned the lights on. It was powerful to sit in the dark with my honey and navigate the terrain of our first money date together. It was equally powerful to turn the lights on afterwards and know that we are choosing to see everything!”


#2: Build a bridge to the numbers.

Is it time to walk together and bravely sit down to the numbers of your life together?

Perhaps you are deeply connected with one another’s stories, and the breakdown happens when it’s actually time to look at the numbers and engage with the numbers.

Is it time to take your heads out of the sand as a couple?
Is it time to get a bookkeeping system in place? 
Is it time to muster the courage to peek?

What expenses can be negotiated?

What expenses absolutely cannot be negotiated?

What are the feelings that come up in here?

Is it time to bring in a third party to help the two of you engage with your numbers? An accountant, financial coach, or bookkeeper may be exceptionally helpful.

Is one of you in charge of the numbers, or do you share the responsibility of tracking and engaging with the numbers?

Are you both comfortable in your money role in the relationship?

“Just finished preparing my first official Money Date with my husband, which is tomorrow after lunch. Mint #s all in order, April bills due all noted. Feels good.”


“Opera, warm fire, Mint.com, and hubby by my side working on our money relationship. Dreamy Sunday eve…”


“For the first time ever my husband and I budgeted for a particular category of monthly spending! It’s for those essentially expected but more or less “one-off” sorts things that come up each month. There is ALWAYS something. So we decided to call that budget item “Monthly Somethings” and we set it at $500. I even added it to Mint! I am SO excited–and very proud of us, I must say. :-)”


# 3: Build a bridge to the Vision.

Is the missing piece around a shared vision for your life together — dreams, goals, plans, and maps for how your money relationship can support your life?

How aligned are the two of you in your individual joint vision for your life and your money life? What are your goals, dreams, and priorities?

What phase of life are you in?

Are you both getting space to discuss your dreams?

Who is ready to burst at the seams with a new life vision and next step?

How can you truly make this happen so you each get to follow your dreams and support each other at different junctures?

How can you KNOW that you are on the same team as you move forward?

Some money dates with your honey may be about sitting down together to begin asking these bigger questions, reviewing your year and looking ahead to the year in front of you, getting on the same team about where you’ve been and where you’re going. 


A note about Post-Money-Date Self-Care

Especially when this is new and vulnerable, it’s usually necessary to add in some extra self care after bravely venturing into a money date with your honey.

It’s very possible that you’ll feel enlivened, connected, relieved, and joyful!

It’s also possible that this time could stir up some cobwebs of your money story, touch into some money shame, or bring up not-so-fun feelings of overwhelm, fear, or insecurity.

“Massive post-first-money-date hangover. Panic / overwhelm / fear / shut down in my belly. A yucky place . . .”

I invite you to welcome all of this, and trust that it’s all important part of the process.

It’s important to add some extra dollops of compassion and self care for you and your honey.

  • Body Check Ins galore.
  • Maybe a hike, dance break, or a simple walk around the block.
  • Perhaps some soothing or inspiring music.
  • Or a call to a friend.
  • Or simply some quiet time.

Please don’t skip this part, dear friends . . . .


Final invitations . . . .

If you could imagine your ideal Money Dates, what would they look like? Get Creative here. You get to craft it. Create the framework together with your honey, or craft it yourself and ask your honey to join you.

Ritualize the whole experience. Deep breaths. Gentleness. Kindness. Openness. Learning.

Step in. Be brave.

With my dearest wishes,


You might also like: