Marriage and Money
Marriage and money are hard. Even more-so when spouses are not able or willing to communicate about them. As with any relationship, effective communication is the key for it to work! It takes practice and application.
Check out this YouTube video where I explain an easy and effective 3 part communication method that will help you handle the most stressful conversations. The 3 parts are: behavior, event, and emotion. This method is better known as the “I” Message.
This is the behavior that needs to be addressed. For example, one spouse overspending every month or not paying the bills on time. Avoid words phrases like “you never” or “you always”. These phrases will make the situation worse.
The event is an action caused by the behavior. Often this event will be a negative action the spouse took because of the behavior. Using the example from above, not paying bills on time, an event triggered would be the credit scored is negatively impacted or there will be late charges.
The last component of the message is the emotion. Emotion is used to describe the feelings caused from the event. Here one can focus one the emotion the event caused. How did the event make you feel? Perhaps you were embarrassed, afraid, concerned, uneasy and so on. These emotions will tend to be negative.
Putting it all together
Now let’s combine the 3 parts.
Because the bills are not paid on time (behavior) the late payments are causing unnecessary charges and this will affect my credit score (event), I’m afraid this will cause a bigger balance (emotion).
Here are a few pointers.
- Make sure the behavior is tangible (can not be disputed) and you have observed it first hand
- Do not use the conversation to address more than one behavior
- Don’t piggyback on conversations
- Do not address in front of others
- Make sure there are no other topics discussed
- Make this a one on one discussion
- Avoid all distractions
- Avoid causing blame or guilt
- Avoid using words like “you”
- Do not use to manipulate
- Do practice or rehearse
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