We spend a lot of time evaluating where we invest. Whether it’s money, time, or energy, we try to be very intentional about how we deploy our most valuable resources. While we regularly re-assess our game plan and risk tolerance, to make sure our plan remains appropriate for our given environment and market conditions, there are some priorities that just never change. And that’s especially true of our #1 investment priority.
So what exactly is our #1 investment? The one we (try) to prioritize above all others.
It actually happens to be an investment that is routinely downgraded when people are pursuing Financial Freedom. Not intentionally, but as an innocent casualty of a process that can make us all a bit obsessive about the numbers.
Investing in our relationship with our spouse.
The Parenting Effect
Every parent in the history of the universe knows that when small children are in the picture, it’s hard to prioritize the adult relationship.
Kids have the uncanny ability to suck every last ounce of energy from our bodies. Leaving us to fall into bed at the end of every day wanting nothing more than to curl up under our sheets and get as much shut eye as our mini-humans will allow.
And while Mike and I value our family above all else, we view investing in our relationship as a very significant part of maintaining the health and well being of our family as a whole.
The Slippery Slope Of Cost Cutting
A failure to prioritize the relationship can be equally magnified when we engage in the pursuit of Financial Freedom. For many, the easiest place to start cutting costs is in the relationship arena.
Do we really need that dinner out? How about that movie? Not only do we have to pony up the cost of going, but tack on the price of a babysitter too? We could probably go without.
The reality is, we don’t always need to spend excessive amounts of money to invest in our relationship. But we DO need to create the opportunity to connect. Without being interrupted by someone needing to go potty, or asking what’s for dinner.
And if creating those opportunities costs us SOME money, we have to look at it as an investment. Not an excess expense that can constantly be cut. Because the simple act of cutting those expenses, comes with its own cost. It’s just not as immediately obvious to your bottom line.
Sure – But That Won’t Happen To Us
For partners who are well connected, it is incredibly easy to take the strength of the relationship for granted.
To bank on the investments we’ve already made to keep things strong. But this is no traditional investment. We can’t just make the initial deposit and then let time do its thing.
For partners who’s relationships are already strained, the pursuit of Financial Freedom can be the wedge that drives you further apart. Creating all too convenient excuses to avoid that quality time under the pretence of saving money.
Whatever the state of your relationships, the numbers side of Financial Freedom can quickly breed a mindset that investing in your relationship can always be done later.
Until it can’t.
We Know This Well
Mike and I are intimately familiar with this. We have both had previous marriages. Both seen ourselves withdraw our investments in those relationships and prioritize other areas of our lives.
We are well versed in the compounding effects of failing to invest. Not to mention the subsequent costs of divorce.
Keeping The Big Picture In Mind
While having previous failed marriages certainly isn’t something to aspire to, it did offer us clear insight into the importance of alignment, and prioritizing continued investment.
Analyzing and critiquing exactly where we invest our resources over this past year of Finding Freedom has only proved to underscore just how important this area is to us.
We try our best to regularly remind ourselves of this. Because even with that knowledge, it is still incredibly easy to allow that mindfulness to slip. To focus elsewhere. On things that seem more urgent, or more in need of our immediate attention.
When that happens, it’s essential to bring the big picture back into crystal clear focus. To remind ourselves that everything we’ve worked hard for is centred around reclaiming our time. Together.
And even though somedays it feels like we’ll be parenting forever, the reality is, our kids will be grown before we know it. And then there will be a whole lot of time of where it’s just Mike and I. When we get there, we want to have a relationship where we continue to share common interests and goals.
And, to put it bluntly, we want to still like each other. (Let’s be real, we all know some oldies that while they celebrate 50+ years together, they actually hate the mere presence of each other!…..yah……we want to avoid that.)
For that to happen, to reap that future ROI, we have to continue to invest.
And we need to do it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Even if it’s in the smallest of ways.
How We Invest
If you’ve never read the 5 Love Languages, I highly recommend it. It’s a small investment of time that your relationship deserves. Having the insight to understand your own love language, and your partners, allows you to make sure the investments you make in your relationship, are actually on target.
If your spouse is anything like me, a diamond bracelet will be a very expensive dust collector. Not just because I’m frugal, or because I don’t like wearing much jewellery, but even more so because my top 2 love languages are words of affirmation and quality time.
That money would be much better invested in a dinner out, and some thoughtful recognition of something I’ve been working hard at. Mike knows this about me, which means he knows exactly where and how to invest his resources for maximum ROI.
Similarly, Mike’s top two love languages are physical touch and quality time. So rather than surprising him with new golf clubs, giving him a back rub, and setting aside the time and attention to have an in depth discussion about something he’s interested in, produces a much greater return.
So whether it’s as simple as a kind word, caring touch, a deep dive conversation over a bottle of Origin wine, or a special weekend away, we try our utmost to intentionally and regularly invest in opportunities that cater to our love languages.
Even if those investments sometimes come with a monetary cost.
Given that we all have a little more time together these days, it’s the perfect opportunity to put this into practice. Check your alignment, identify what means the most to your partner, and invest some of your available time into nurturing that connection.
The Bottom Line
If you are lucky enough to have someone amazing in your life – remember that your relationship with them is the most important investment you can choose.
Because when you have a solid relationship, and work together as a team, you can accomplish pretty much anything. Including Financial Freedom.
But there is no coast setting on this one. It’s an investment you will need to be just as mindful and intentional about whether you’re starting your journey to Financial Freedom, or you’ve been long retired. And with proper diligence, it’s also the one that will forever provide you with the greatest ROI.