Power and control are not compatible with intimacy: Cohabiting couples and finances

Money causes tension when there isn’t enough, when it isn’t allocated correctly, and when there are different ideas surrounding its purpose. And the conflict tends to grows out of a lack of understanding and communication around money and how it relates to the couple relationship.

Money issues rarely manifest themselves openly in relationships instead, couples fight over what money represents. Cohabiting couples may find it difficult to reconcile independence, (frequently expressed as a control of money) with the mutuality and compromise that are characteristic of relationship harmony.

Often men are lead to believe that money equals power and that power is the path to respect. However, power and control are not compatible with intimacy.

Relationships succeed only when both partners are willing to display their vulnerabilities to each other. It's important for men to know that failing to share power cheats them of the intimacy and love they want (Mellan, O. and Piskaldo, K., 1999).

Use these questions to explore money and power, and their habits and values with regards to finances.

I think we will be happier if there is an even balance of power when it comes to managing finances in our relationship.

  • How would you define “power” in a relationship?
  • How would you prefer to balance the power in the relationship?
  • What factors do you believe lead to happiness in a relationship?

In our relationship, I expect my partner to consult me when making important decisions.

  • Who made the decisions in your home growing up?
  • How do you make important decisions today?
  • Would you be willing to allow your partner to make all the important decisions?
  • How would you feel if you were not included in making important decisions?

    How will we share leadership and decision making.

    • How did your parents balance leadership and decision making?
    • What does “equal” mean to you?
    • Are there some areas of the relationship where you prefer to take the lead?
    • Are there some areas of the relationship where you prefer to let your partner lead?

    PREPARE/ENRICH has several resources to help you unpack and mine the assessment results around money.


    • Mellan, O. and Piskaldo, K., 1999: Men, Women, and Money Money is a hidden,

    #PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

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