Today’s posting is on one of the trickier parts of being a couple – communication. While I’m not an expert, its clear that communication, how its done and its effectiveness, can have a big impact on your both your relationship and your new worth.
In talking about money its important to realize that money isn’t just about money. It has “psychic currency”, that finances often impact emotional needs like commitment, love, power, or may represent deeper psychological issues such as self esteem or regard for others.
Building good communication skills is challenging, but it can pay dividends. Here are some tips that might help you improve your communication when you are talking with your partner.
Listening: Here are two ways to think about listening. First, slow down and be prepared to fully take in what your partner has to say. Don’t finish their sentences for them. Second, be aware of your body language. If you are multitasking when you’re talking it will come through in the quality of your conversations. For example, it annoys my wife Miel when I multitask when were talking. Also, its generally a better idea to face your partner and not have your arms crossed when you’re talking. – Use open body language.
Acknowledging: This works. Try paraphrasing. This essentially means repeating back to your partner the essence of what they said to you. This is helpful because it means that you’ve heard and understand what the conversation is about. Developing this kind of active listening skill can be tricky, but it its important for both people to feel they’ve been heard. Otherwise, old issues can pile up and affect your situation later.
Timing: If you’re going to discuss finances, there are a couple of contexts in which you might not want to bring things up. Probably its not a good idea to talk about financial problem when you’re in public. Nobody wants their disagreements and dirty laundry out where everyone can see it.
Instead, consider setting an informal time to discuss your finances. You might consider blocking out an hour or two every week or two and using this time to pay bills, prioritize issues or plan the next stages in your financial life.