Relationships ebb and flow over time. They seem to grow closer and apart in waves, shifting from day-to-day and week-to-week. I observe that there are several continuing factors that influence the quality of (married) relationships. What are these “currencies”?
- Influence. This is about who makes the decisions. Are goals set together? Are decisions made on joint principles or made unilaterally?
- Disclosure. Willingness to share feelings. Do you withhold secrets or concerns?
- Effort. This is about pulling your “fair share” of the household load. Perception and reality are different.
- Money. This is about security and long-term needs and wants. Do you have an emergency fund? Is money pooled toward joint long-term goals. Do you discuss spending habits?
- Time. This is about doing what you want/need to do alone or together. Are we spending quality time with each other? Are you overscheduled and unavailable? Sleep is a special case, especially for those with young children.
By being conscious of these currencies you can make better personal choices. More importantly, these are the essential topics on which to have conversations and set boundaries, personally and as a couple. You may think that there is balance and “fairness” but you never know until you talk about it deeply and ask for feedback. The balance can be difficult because our priorities and personal values are different and shift.
I feel most of us believe that relationships should be 50/50. That can be a toxic belief. What if you substituted 100/0? Life is complicated and relationships can be too; make the investment to explore differences.