If you’ve read much of what I’ve written previously about relationships and money, you’ll find I regularly state that your finances won’t work if you and your spouse can’t agree on money. I’ve even given you my top five things I believe all spouses must agree on to win with money. What I’ve not told you is that there is serious research that shows your spouse has the power to make you filthy, stinkin’ rich. Okay, maybe not too stinkin’ because a good spouse will make you bathe so you’re agreeable to sleep next to…but I digress.
In Thomas Stanley’s book, The Millionaire Mind, he studied a unique group of men and women. What were his minimum qualifications for study subjects?
1) They must have a net worth of at least $10 million
2) They must earn at least $750,000 per year.
These are not your rock stars or pro athletes – these are people who have an awesome income and aren’t inclined to blow it all or required to keep up certain appearances as those we traditionally view as “rich” when we see them on the covers of magazines and on television. In other words, these people are the pinnacle of financial success and haven’t done so through fame or some crazy, unattainable means. They are the ones we should be looking at if we’re wanting to see what real rich people look like.
Dr. Stanley found the primary thing that each of these elite group of people shared was a high level of integrity:
I go into a lot more depth on that topic with regards to how money follows your character elsewhere, so here I want to focus on Dr. Stanley’s third highest correlating factor – their spouses. Most of the spouses of these super wealthy people had three specific common traits. These spouses were:
As you consider who you sleep beside, or who you are considering as your future mate if you’re not quite there yet, look at those three characteristics. I’m blessed to have a wife who supports me in just about any harebrained scheme I cook up. At the same time, she is quick to challenge me if that scheme is a little too far off the edge. I can tell her anything without fear she’s going to run off and share it with all her friends. Simply put, much of who I am is based on the support system I have at home. If your spouse doesn’t fit these three criteria, chances are you are struggling in many areas of your marriage. While Dr. Stanley was looking at wealth in his research, there really are a lot more positive (or negative) outcomes when your spouse is measured against these criteria.
So what can you do about it if your spouse isn’t where he/she should be? That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? My advice: look in the mirror. A spouse can be male or female. Ladies, if you looked at this article thus far and said, “My husband sure doesn’t fit this! I guess I’m destined to be broke…and it is all his fault!”, chances are you don’t measure up very well either. On the flip side, husbands, if you said, “My wife never supports me and I sure can’t trust her! She is driving us to the poorhouse!”, then it is likely you are a pretty miserable failure as well. As much as we’d all like to think it is someone else’s fault we aren’t succeeding in every area of life (and as much as I led you down that path to this point so you’d read through), it is not their fault…at least not completely.
You and your spouse are a team. A spouse who is supportive is a spouse who loves and is loved. A supportive spouse is someone who recognizes the commitment of marriage and believes it is worth it. A strong spouse is one who is safe to express feelings and challenge you if/when you are out of line. Trust is developed over time and requires cooperation and ongoing development. In other words, you aren’t going to end up with a spouse that is supportive, strong and trustworthy if you aren’t those things.
As I wrap up this article, I really want to make it a call to act for you and your husband/wife. While having a spouse who is supportive, strong and trustworthy can make you look like a rock star and help you become a bajillionaire (that is a scientific measurement associated with being filthy stinkin’ rich), it must work both ways. While I don’t want to pat myself on the back, Stacy would tell you we both work at our marriage and both strive to be better for one another. It isn’t just her and it isn’t just me. So here’s your homework: make your spouse read this article, then have a long discussion (and fight, if necessary) about it. Renew your commitment to one another and then go about being more supporting, strong and trustworthy.