3 Part Communication Style to Help with Money Talks

This simple 3 Step Communication Method will help you have those tough financial discussions. Try this too on tough topics.

I Message - 3 Part Communication Method
Simple Communication Method

This 3 Part Communication Style will make money talks easy

The “I” method is an easy and effective communication style to help with money talks.

It has 3 parts.

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 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 or consequence caused by the behavior.

Using the example from above, not paying bills on time, an event triggered can be:

  1. credit scored is negatively impacted
  2. will be late charges
  3. foreclosure or repo
  4. deadlines missed


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.

  1. bills are not paid on time (behavior)
  2. the late payments are causing unnecessary charges and this will affect my credit score (event)
  3. I’m afraid this will cause a bigger balance (emotion).

Consider these notes

  1. Make sure the behavior is tangible (can not be disputed) and you have observed it first hand
  2. Do not use the conversation to address more than one behavior
    1. Don’t piggyback multiple behaviors
  3. Do not address in front of others
  4. Make sure there are no other topics discussed
  5. Make this a one on one discussion
  6. Avoid all distractions
  7. Avoid causing blame or guilt
  8. Avoid using words like “you”
  9. Do not use to manipulate
  10. Do practice or rehearse
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