Money Talk For Couples Part 2: The Conversation

A model, that brings both safety and respect for both partners in communicating about money, is the Couple’s Dialogue from Imago Relationship Therapy (see Blog entitled Couples’ Difficulties in Communication).

You are not solving problems about finances at this point. The purpose is for both of you to listen to each other without judgment or blame. The most important thing is having empathy for your partner (putting yourself in your partner’s place). Later on, once both are heard and understood, solutions can be proposed.

Some topics to talk about:

  1. When I think about money, what comes up for me is . . .
  2. My greatest concern about money is . . .
  3. The messages I received about money growing up (you can use your     multigenerational family tree from Part 1) are . . . How I think these have affected my view about money personally and in our relationship is . . .
  4. I mainly identify with the ‘money personality type’ (see Part 1) . . . How I think this affects you and our relationship is . . .
  5. What I like about myself in handling money is . . . What I would like to change is . . .
  6. What I admire in the way you, my partner, handles money is . . .
  7. One thing that bothers me about how you handle money is . . . What this says about me is . . . My greatest fear about this is . . .
  8. One thing that I think bothers you about how I handle money is . . . What I say to myself about your fears or concerns around this are . . .

Notice how important it is to stay as the ‘compassionate visitor’ as you give your partner the ‘gift’ of expressing her/himself fully, being listened to even if you disagree. Money is a very delicate, highly charged issue. Please do not think your partner does not ‘love’ you because it is hard to change. This is more about your partner than about you. You are learning about each other’s views and struggles around money.

In my next Blog, I will share with you some practical tips for handling money as a couple. Please let me know what other couple’s issues you would like me to write about.

Ann Klein – Columbia Marriage and Relationship Counseling teaching couples effective communication skills to resolve conflicts, reestablish intimacy, and restore caring and connection in their relationships.

The Importance of Greeting

Welcome to Ann’s Blog from the Columbia Marriage and Relationship Center. This is my first blog to all my clients and new readers!

I will write about different topics for improving your relationships. I invite you to join my blog and let me know what other topics about relationships you are interested in.

Do you recognize the importance of greeting your partner each day and putting positive ‘energy’ into your relationship?

When we are in a relationship over a period of time, we tend to focus on the negative traits of our partner and what needs are not being met. We may forget how important it is to keep building up the relationship with positive comments and appreciations. When you come home each day and meet, this is a time for an enthusiastic greeting-perhaps a hug and inquiring ‘how was your day?’ Yes, focusing on each other. There is a relationship space between partners. In that space can be a lot of negativity (yelling, unkind words) or a ‘rich nurturing soup’ with loving, kind comments and deeds.

Partners may feel dismissed and taken for granted when they go out of their way to fulfill their partner’s needs. Become aware when your partner does something special for you and thank them. Take time to show your partner you care by doing little things for them, such as, a backrub or getting them tea. Remember your partner may feel cared for in different ways than you would, such as, by touch with a hug, or with words, kind deeds, or even a small gift like flowers or a magazine. Check out the article on my website on ‘101 Romantic Ideas’ for more suggestions.

Dr. John Gottman, a researcher on successful marriages, talks about the 5:1 rule-5 positive comments to 1 complaint. So, over time by building up this ‘nurturing’ relationship space, lays the groundwork for listening to changes your partner will like from you and vice versa. The key to this is how you present your complaint and timing is everything. This will be a topic for another blog.

How have some of these suggestions worked in your relationship? What other ones have you used to build up your ‘relationship space?’

Ann Klein – Columbia Marriage and Relationship Counseling teaching couples effective communication skills to resolve conflicts, reestablish intimacy, and restore caring and connection in their relationships.