Whether football, basketball, or any other team sport, it’s essential that players on the same team communicate with one another in order to run their plays. The key to winning in any human endeavor is effective communication. If you and your mate are experiencing financial turmoil, don’t go silent. “Burying your head in the sand” will most likely put you on a collision course with divorce. Your relationship does not have to become a statistic. You can overcome financial tension or thwart its development with effective communication; it is the bedrock of a harmonious relationship.
Nothing is impossible when people come into agreement. So says the ancient wisdom found in Genesis 11:6-7 which relates the story of what happened after the great flood. Contrary to God’s orders to scatter throughout the earth and re-populate it, the people decided to stay in one place and build a skyscraper that would reach into the heavens. They were so united in their efforts that God had to step in and implement drastic measures:
“Look!” he said. “The people are united; they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. Genesis 11:6-8 (New Living Translation)
After God confused their language and made communication impossible, they had to abandon the project. Here is the moral of the story: If you can’t communicate, you can’t build…anything! But when people get on one accord, nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. So, couples, it’s important that you communicate, confront and resolve the issues that threaten your unity. Here are my sure-fire strategies for effectively confronting your thorny financial and other relational issues:
- Select the right time and place to put the issue on the table; don’t be guilty of doing the right thing at the wrong time! Don’t force your mate to communicate when he or she is tired, hungry, or stressed.
- Be specific about the problematic behavior; don’t generalize or beat around the bush.
- Seek first to understand, rather than to be understood. In other words, Listen, Listen, Listen!
- Make constructive comments only. Do not attack your mate’s character or judgment. Simply stay focused on the behavior that needs to change.
- Agree on your spending priorities and commit to specific strategies for staying on track.
- Forgive the violations and missteps of the past. Let them go. Make a fresh start.
If you need more detailed strategies, consider getting our resource: FINANCIAL INTIMACY available at: www.confrontingissues.com.