BlogPoverty in Relationships

April 4, 2024by Frank Love2

Poverty in Relationships

Many of us are so focused on making money that we forget about building the wealth within our loving relationships.

In my previous blog post, “The Superpower of Support, Part II,” I talked about how our partners deserve our support even when we don’t agree with or understand their objectives. Check it out.

As I review various resources to define poverty, I find it interesting that the first two websites I visited used the face of African women to capture poverty’s essence. It wasn’t that it was simply one picture of an African woman and another of a Russian man, as examples; both were African women. Imaging is powerful on many levels.  We can discuss my take on propaganda at another time. 

It is also no surprise that poverty is characterized, at least in part, by a lack of money.

There are prevailing sentiments throughout Western culture, which of course spans far beyond the physical west, such as:

  • Money makes the world go ’round.
  • It’s all about the Benjamins.
  • If you want to know what happened, follow the money.

With sentiments like these, there is little wonder why a lack of money is a defining element when discussing poverty. We are convinced that without it, life cannot be good.

However, as I exist and coexist in the realm of looking at and assessing various dynamics related to relationships, I have noticed poverty in one of the places where few look . . . in our interactions with one another.

Relationship Poverty Isn’t About Money
There is poverty where there is money. There is poverty where there are good-paying jobs. There is poverty where there are people with advanced degrees. But this poverty is different than lack of money.

I often share personal anecdotes when I am discussing a concept. And they might not leave me looking good to the audience. That is fine with me. I work to be vulnerable and to share my challenges and mistakes. But on this issue, I’m a little amiss. I didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but I was rich.

I’m 51, and for all of my 51 years I have never known my father to be employed, i.e., to work for someone else. He has always worked for himself, and he has always taken care of his family. But more than giving money, he gave his time. I didn’t always enjoy it. There were times when I thought my ears were going to fall off from one of his lessons.

In part, he gave me his time because I worked with him. He didn’t leave me at home while he worked. He took me with him. And he included my friends and siblings also. I look back on those days, and I am in awe of the wealth I inherited.

Redefining What Poverty Means
It’s said the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing people he doesn’t exist. And very few people with money, good jobs, or advanced degrees know they are living in poverty . . . right now.

How? you might ask. How can people who have many of the things most of us only dream about be in poverty? They are in poverty because many of them, though not all, no matter how much they have, remain dissatisfied and discontent.

  • Investopedia defines poverty as “the state or condition in which people or communities lack the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living.”
  • Google defines poverty as “the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount.”

Now, let’s look at the state or condition in which people lack the emotional resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Or the state of being inferior in quality in our relationships. That feels like poverty to me.

Building Relationship Wealth
Entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.” He didn’t say make more money. He said wish to be better, get more skills, and get more wisdom. That is riches. That is abundance.

We often can’t take care of our partner because we are tired after working all day. That’s poverty. We’re trading money for our opportunity to connect. We’re poor in connection. We can’t go to our children’s parent-teacher conference or sports games or spelling bees because we have to work. We’re poor in supportiveness. Or we can’t teach our children to cook, clean, or create because we worked too hard today. We’re poor in our basic responsibility to teach our children.

Too often, we are focused on money when thinking about what we want to create in our homes, in our families, in our marriages. And these creations often cost little to nothing. We are in poverty, so we focus on money and gaining more of it. Yet our families suffer.

Making Money Is Secondary to Relationship Riches
If you have a roof over your head—not a mansion—a roof and heat or air-conditioning as you require . . . or if you have eaten at your regular interval and you want to find wealth today, go spend time with your spouse. Work on a project with your children. Teach your children a skill and be happy doing it. That is wealth.

One who has family and friends is richer than one who has money.

African Proverb

The riches we so desire may already be present . . . if, and only if, we appreciate them. And if we celebrate them.

I promise there is no amount of money we are going to amass that leads us to say, “I have enough. I’m good. I can rest now.” But we can say and believe each of those things right now.

Moving forward, please consider making our job secondary to the richness of our family and the depth of the time and the experiences that ensue with our partner and children. They will appreciate it in the years to come, and so will we. And that’s loving.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

In my next blog post, “Respect Is the Baseline for All Relationships,” I will talk about why we need to lead with respect whenever we deal with people different from us.

Watch Frank Love’s presentation “The Act of Caring.”

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Each week, Frank Love hosts Zoom support group meetings that assist women and men as we work to create a loving culture in our relationships. Calls occur from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST and can be accessed by visiting FrankWeeklyCall.com.

  • Tuesdays – Black Women: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships
  • Thursdays – Black Men: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships

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Frank Love coaches individuals who are in (or wish to be in) a relationship toward creating a loving culture in their family. He is also the author of Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway) and 25 Ways to Be Loving. To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.

Key Word Phrases

1. I cannot seem to make enough money 2. How can I make more money 3. How can I become rich 4. How can I get my father to spend more time with me 5. How can I get my mother to spend more time with me 6. I work too much 7. My wife works too much 8. My husband works too much 9. How can I get my partner to spend more time with our family 10. How can I get my wife to spend more time with our family 11. How can I get my husband to spend more time with our family 12. How do I create a legacy of wealth 13. Building wealth within relationships 14. The superpower of support in relationships 15. Poverty beyond financial lack 16. Redefining poverty in relationships 17. Emotional poverty in relationships 18. Relationship wealth vs. financial wealth 19. Importance of time in relationships 20. Investing in relationships 21. The true meaning of poverty 22. Relationship poverty 23. Overcoming relationship poverty 24. Emotional resources in relationships 25.Essentials for a fulfilling relationship 26. Building connection in relationships 27. Supportiveness in relationships 28. Responsibilities in relationships 29. Prioritizing family over work 30. Relationship vs. monetary riches 31. Finding wealth in relationships 32. Quality time with loved ones 33. Teaching skills to children 34. Celebrating family and relationships 35. Depth of experiences in relationships 36. Appreciating family over money 37. Making relationships a priority 38. Wealth of family and friends 39. African proverb on relationships 40. Cherishing family time 41. Creating lasting memories 42. Loving through actions 43. Balancing work and family 44. Prioritizing spouse and children 45. Family as the true wealth 46. Nurturing relationships 47. Enriching family bonds 48. Importance of connection in families 49. Strengthening family ties 50. Valuing time with loved ones 51. Joy in shared experiences 52. Meaningful interactions in relationships 53. Building a legacy of love 54. Cultivating happiness in relationships 55. Investing in emotional well-being 56. Fostering love and appreciation 57. Treasuring moments together 58. Creating a loving environment 59. Making memories with family 60. The richness of relationships 61. Fulfillment in family life 62. Living a life of love and connection


  • Ericka

    April 17, 2024 at 12:16 PM

    great take on poverty mindset. you’ll always want more money if that what you think wealth is.


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