Money is still a very taboo subject in most families and so when beginning the subject of money or family finances we need to be very aware of how we are personally feeling about money. We do not want to sound threatening but we do want to be honest and open.
I have written some opening suggestions that I have found very useful I have taken these from Deborah Prices, “The Heart of Money.” I will first write some phrases that we may currently use and then I will re-frame those sentences so that they are less threatening and more open for a healthy conversation
“I was reviewing our bank statement and I noticed that you spent a lot of money on yourself this month. This was not in our budget, it makes me very angry when we agree on something and you back out.”
“Why did you spend so much money on gifts for the kids? They have everything and I thought we agreed we were cutting back this year? That was a complete waste.”
“I feel like all I do is work and all you do is spend. Maybe you should get a job and I will stay home and shop online all day.”
Now here are some approaches that are re-framed. Can you feel the tone has dropped and how less threatening the communication is?
“Honey, I am really feeling worried about our finances and I wondered if we could review our family budget together to help me feel safe.”
“I noticed that you went holiday shopping and was a bit concerned when I saw the bill. I thought that we had a budget. Can we talk about what happened to you when you went shopping?”
“Can we talk? I’m feeling sad and somewhat frustrated over our financial situation. Can we work together to create more of a savings plan? I really need your help with this.”
Some key points that you need to consider in effective healthy communication is being open and honest and being empathetic when the other person is speaking.
A very good model to use is taken from the Centre of Non-Violent Communications.
It is as follows.
Clearly state your observations: “I’ve noticed that we are spending more than we should be on little things and they are clearly taking a toll on our budget.”
Clearly express your feelings: “I am feeling very concerned that we may be losing control around or spending and it is really starting to scare me.”
Clearly express your needs: “I really need for us to sit down and together make a plan that we can both stick to so that we do not end up in more debt than we can manage.”
Complete your communication by making a request: “My request is that we meet sometime this week to work on this. Will you set aside the time, Please?”
When we feel that we can freely express our concerns, are wants and are needs and we feel that we are being heard by our partner then we begin to create more of a foundation for love and intimacy deepen.
Let me know your thoughts or your insights around money and communication, would love to hear from you.