MODULE 1: MONEY TALK
Activity 5: Love Letters
OBJECTIVE: Explore feelings about money and partners' actions and to understand partners' feelings and actions.
TIME: 15 minutes
MATERIALS: 2 pages of nice letter-writing paper for each participant Rita's Money Love Letter Handout
ACTIVITY: Explain that participants will write a "Love Letter" to their partner or child or parent, discussing their feelings about money, spending, budgeting, and control. Let participants know that they are writing these letters to themselves. When they are done, they have the option to share their love letters with their partners or just rip them up. The activity is meant to help them explore their own money feelings with respect to their partners and let them put themselves in their partner's shoes.
Each short letter will have six sections:
Read the pair of letters written by "Rita" as an example for the class. You can also provide it as a handout for reference. Ask the participants to think for a moment about a recent or current money issue and to write a short love letter. Give participants 5-7 minutes to write the letter.
Now, ask them to write another letter, in response to their own letter, pretending to be the person they just wrote. This is an opportunity to write the "perfect response" - how they would like their loved one to respond to their confession.
HANDOUT: Rita's Money Love Letters
I love you, and I want the best for us. However, I feel angry that you purchased a new television without consulting me. I am disappointed that you didn't trust me enough to let me join you in deciding what to do with our money. I worry that if you refuse to let me participate in managing our money, we won't be a real team working toward our goals. I wish you'd given us the chance to make sensible money decisions together. I love you. I respect your strength and knowledge.
ALSO WRITTEN BY RITA:
You are a great wife, and I didn't mean to hurt you when I bought the new TV. I thought it would be a surprise, but I can see now that it made you feel neglected and like you weren't trusted and part of our team. I promise to talk to you and to decide major purchases together in the future. Thanks for reminding me that we are in this together.
Adapted, with permission, from Money Harmony and Overcoming Overspending by Olivia Mellan. Copyright Olivia Mellan 1995. Based on the work of John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
Adapted, with permission, from PREP Education Products, Inc. and You Paid How Much For That?! Copyright PREP Educational Products 2002.