Understanding the five love languages of money will improve your relationship with your finances and your significant other. You’ve likely read, or at least heard of, the classic relationship book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. It discusses the five different ways people prefer to receive love from the important people in their lives. When one of my mentors mentioned how the five love languages could be applied to our relationship with money, I instantly saw the benefit of exploring this at a deeper level with my coaching clients.
The Five Love Languages of Money
The five love languages of money are: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts, of service, and receiving gifts. Most people have a preference for one or two as their primary love languages. Don’t know what yours is? This free quiz will tell you in 3 minutes.
Words of Affirmation
If your primary love language is words of affirmation, you feel most loved when your partner or other family members tell you they love you and appreciate you. Obviously, your money can’t tell you it loves you, or that it appreciates how well you take care of it. So, how does this apply to money? If words of affirmation is your preferred love language, you feel supported by money when you give and receive communication about your finances.
You likely enjoy talking about money with your spouse, family, and friends. You look forward to meeting with your Money Team: your banker, financial planner, and CPA. You like receiving emails from Stripe and PayPal saying you’ve received payments. If your partner doesn’t like talking about money, it might be a point of contention in your relationship.
If quality time is your primary love language, spending time just being in the presence of your loved ones makes you feel cherished by them. You feel most supported by your money when it stays with you for a while. If money leaves your account as quickly as it comes in, this does not sit well with you. It feels like money is always leaving you!
You likely have a desire to keep a higher balance in your savings and checking accounts than the average person. You feel secure and “loved” by money when it comes and stays with you for a while. If your partner doesn’t have quality time as one of their primary love languages, it can cause disagreements over spending versus saving in your relationship.
If physical touch is your primary love language, you are a hugger – and probably an amazing one! You feel most loved when your partner kisses you, hugs you, and holds your hand in public. If this is you, you need to get in touch with your money, literally. You feel most abundant when you have cash in your wallet. You might enjoy counting and organizing your money. Maybe you still write physical checks and keep a checkbook. Making purchases with cash feels more satisfying to you than swiping a debit or credit card. Some people with a preference for physical touch collect gold, silver, and rare coins.
If your partner doesn’t understand your need to be in physical contact with money, they might tease you about being old fashioned. Your use of cash might annoy them because it’s not as easy to track and classify as digital transactions.
Acts of Service
If acts of service is your primary love language, you feel most loved when your partner, friends, or family members do things for you that either take a chore off of your plate or pamper you. When your spouse washes the dishes even though it’s your turn or rubs your feet after a long day, you’re delighted. When it comes to money, you feel most supported by it when you have enough to pay for services that make your life easier.
You feel prosperous when you’ve got money to hire a house cleaner, a lawncare company, or someone to run errands for you. Spending money on people who pamper you with manicures and massages might be a priority for you. It’s important to make room in your spending plan so money can support you in this way.
If your partner doesn’t have acts of service as their primary love language, he or she might see this type of spending as wasteful. “Why would you spend money on something you can do yourself?”
If receiving gifts is your primary love language, you simply adore gifts of all kinds. You love birthday and Christmas celebrations! Not only do you enjoy receiving gifts, you probably love shopping, wrapping, and giving gifts to others. You are most delighted by the things and experiences (like a family vacation) that money can buy. You feel prosperous, not because of your bank balance, but because there’s enough money to pay for the things and experiences you want. Maybe like me, you enjoy shopping online, because it feels like the Amazon delivery person is Santa leaving gifts on your porch! Be sure to allocate a reasonable (not excessive) amount of money in your spending plan for the things and experiences you want.
If your spouse or partner doesn’t realize your preference for receiving gifts, they might chastise you for being “materialistic” or argue with you over spending, even if you’re meeting your saving and investing goals.
Now that you know the Five Love Languages of Money, you can begin to implement the suggestions here to honor both your relationship to money, and your partner’s relationship to money.
Want to get on the same page with your honey when it comes to money? Let’s chat and see if my Financial Dignity® Coaching for Couples is a good fit for your situation.