We have all heard it before. When a relationship fails, it is often stated that money problems caused the failure.

In many cases this is true, one partner loses their job or runs up unknown debts, which leads to relationship disharmony and eventually breakup or divorce. But what if there were a rarely discussed, often avoided cause that preceded the symptoms and was in fact the “real” culprit?

We all know that if you address symptoms and do not fix the cause, the problem won’t be resolved and it will continue… often from one relationship to another. Kind of like a silent serial killer that lurks in the shadows undetected, only to pounce at the most inopportune moment and wreak havoc.

After working one-on-one with thousands of couples from all walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that relationships are one of the most challenging areas of life for most people — and yet they have an enormous impact on one’s quality of life. If you sit down with any couple, it doesn’t take long to notice patterns of behavior that either add to or take away from the relationship.

Many money problems first manifested themselves in one’s relationship dynamic (which includes all relationships — home, work, family, etc.) which then shows up tangibly in the money dynamic. So if money problems are often (but not always) the symptoms, and relationship disharmony the cause, then no amount of focusing on money and finances will solve the money problems.

You won’t succeed in keeping a leaky boat afloat if all you do is grab a bucket and bail out the incoming water! What is required for sustainable, long-term success is to first bail the water out, then plug the holes in the boat to prevent more water from coming in. Yes, this sounds logical and easy, and yet, how often do people do the logical and reasonable thing when it comes to money?

So if your money dynamic isn’t flowing the way you would like, perhaps you could look to your relationship dynamic for some other causes of the problem? And at the end of the day, your relationships all reflect the most important relationship of all… the relationship you have with yourself.

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