This week, I am thrilled to get the expertise of Jenny Glick to talk about love and money. Jenny Glick, MA, MSC, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist, sex therapist and owner of the Counseling Center of Cherry Creek. She and her team of therapists focus on working with couples and individuals looking to improve the relationships in their lives. Visit the team at www.CounselingCenterofCherryCreek.com.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, many couples feel pressure to show love by purchasing gifts. What is a better alternative to showing your love to your partner?
I often to say couples that the definition of love is to “attend to.” We love our children so we attend to their various needs — whether that is health, education, or sports activities. We love the idea of retiring so we attend to our retirement accounts on a regular basis by investing a limit bit regularly over a long period of time. Similarly, with one’s spouse simply paying attention and investing on a regular basis goes a very long way.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sat in a room with a couple and the wife says that she has felt ignored by her spouse and all that she wants is for her husband to notice her or help with the dishes. The husband (as cliche as it may sound) will often say in earnest, “I know that I have heard you say that before but I didn’t really know what you meant.”
And truly…he didn’t know what she meant because he was not attending to her…really paying attention to her needs. Practice listening to your partner and really hearing how you can attend to him or her better.
When couples argue about money, what is commonly at the root of that fight?
When couples argue about money it is usually because they have not mastered an important developmental skill in marriage called differentiation. Simply put: differentiating is tolerating (and even supporting) your partner’s difference.
She wants A. He wants B. She tries to get him to see how B is wrong and A is better. He feels hurt and angry and she is criticizing B (and hence criticizing him) and puts down A. She feels unsupported (“like always!”). He feels rejected (“just like in the bedroom!”). You may be familiar with how this ends.
Rarely is a money argument about money. You and your partner need to level up your skills to learn to be curious about your different rather than attack your differences.
What are some tips for couples looking to engage in a therapist? What should they be looking for?
First and foremost, always ask your potential therapist what percentage of their clientele are couples. Those of us who specialize in this work see at least 60% couples. That means that we have lots of experience and training in helping couples with things like communication, intimacy, and co-parenting.
Secondly, it is important to find someone who gets you — someone who speaks your language. Every therapist is different and personality matters so take the time to shop around and find a strong match. You are investing in one of the most important relationships of your life…your marriage!
Thanks to Jenny for this fabulous insight! Here’s hoping your Valentine’s day is one of attending to your relationships, not adding to your credit card balance.