If communication is a key component of a successful relationship, secrets create complications, and divorce requires full disclosure, should we tell our spouse everything? Are we required to immediately notify our loved one of new information, or is delayed relay allowed? Relationships can be hard work, or an interesting journey shared with another person. Communication is a major component in deciding your relationship’s path.
Communication is a skill developed and refined until the day comes when we can communicate no more. The amount of fun or frustration experienced through that magical c-word increases as we become more proficient in it’s use. Showing respect, and taking time to learn our loved ones methods of interactions, and the hows and whys of their responses will allow you to nurture and create an environment where a successful relationship can grow. But this does not mean you have to tell them everything. It also does not mean you need keep secrets. Let’s take some time and look at a couple scenarios and think about if we would tell our spouse’s everything, part of what is happening, nothing at all, or if we would modify the situation before sharing.
If something in your business is causing stress?
Why is there a desire to talk about your problem? What exactly are you looking for?
- Release stress by sharing with a loved one?
- Looking for a PIC (Partner in Crime) to plan a solution?
- Prepare your spouse for the possibility of exploring your financial options?
- Notify them to only pay the minimum amount possible for the bills?
- Play the role of a victim to receive pity (some people do thrive on this!)?
Before sharing information, a moment should be taken to think about the results of the pending conversation. Far too often, people mutter or throw around information that they have had time to process. For someone who has not had this luxury, reactions may be unpredictable, or worse, very predictable. Think about it from the other person’s perspective.
- What is their situation?
- Can they support the family for a while if you can not contribute?
- Are they already mad or unhappy in the relationship?
- What additional stress are they currently under?
- Can they help?
- How can they help?
- What will their help cost?
- Is the help they provide worth the cost?
- Will the information cause more problems, or should a solution be sought before sharing?
It is not manipulative if you are taking the other person into consideration. They may not see it this way, but if you are truly putting effort into properly communicating with your spouse in a productive way, you are showing a high level of respect and consideration. It may shock you, but understanding people and proper decisions on how and what to communicate was not taught to everyone in high school.
If your spouse finds this to be manipulative, and you honestly disagree, you have a few choices:
- Get the weapons out, and prepare for battle.
- Go out with your friends an hope they cool off.
- Find a new Spouse.
- Let them know you married the wrong sibling.
Try to communicate in a productive way, expressing that the situation required a different approach. In other areas they have abilities that far surpass yours, but in this area, it was better for them to enjoy their night and let you handle this one.
Financial decisions have to be made, and the best option is not obvious or desirable!
What experience or knowledge can your loved one contribute to help find a solution? Some people are able to make good strategic financial decisions in times of stress, and some are not. When time is limited and your spouse has a tendency to add stress to intense situations, it may be better to seek advice from qualified friends, family, or professionals. Keep your partner informed, but think about finding a couple possible courses of action before discussing the issue with them. Even if you love someone and want to tell them everything, it may be better to discuss a problem when you are able to provide possible solutions. After reviewing the possible solutions with your partner, they may even be able to help discover a better one.
Confrontation with aggressive personalities
People handle confrontation differently. Sometimes an aggressive approach is necessary, other times, allowing things to cool down may be preferred. What can be shared at home depends on the personality of your partner. Gas thrown on a fire can be fun, or eyebrows and nose hair can quickly become victims. Someone may care about you, and still give bad advice. Remember, you pay the consequences, they may or may not suffer some of the fall out. When your spouse has issues dealing with confrontation, it may be better to let them know how you already handled a situation.
On the other hand, if your spouse is able to listen calmly and provide additional options, then provide as much information as possible. In fact, get the drinks ready and spend some quality time strengthening your relationship and strategizing like Sun Tzu or Machiavelli with your PIC(Partner in Crime). Turn a stressful situation into a team building event, and a fun night. This is also a wonderful opportunity to see how your spouse thinks when the angel is not whispering their ear. And since they seem to get angry every now and then, a nice little benefit is an understanding of just how concerned you should be when you are not on their happy list……
Problems with vendors, customers, or service providers
Business decisions are sometimes based on relationships. Issues with vendors, customers or other businesses have to be handled appropriate to the situation. Some of the variables that can have an affect on your options are:
- The state of the business’s cash flow.
- Assets that can be leveraged.
- Who the issue is with?
- Your only source of a product or service,
- The Main Customer who provides the majority of company revenue,
- or a supplier or company that your business would be better without.
- Consequences of available options.
- Is this Customer someone who can hurt your business or brand?
- Can This vendor blacklisted you with other vendors or suppliers?
- Are you in possession of inventory received on consignment the supplier will repossess?
- Will this relationship affect other relationships?
Depending on a person’s understanding of your business, their influence can help, or provide extra fuel for the fire. There are times when sharing your day is better than seeking advice. It is counter-productive for a loved one to remind you about the mortgage payment when trying to save a business. When a cool head and a solution are needed, focusing on the problem instead of the solution is a waste of valuable time and energy. Do not allow a tightly Significant other to steal your valuable mental energy and focus when dealing with time sensitive situations.
When taking advice
Would you purchase stock based on advice received from an unemployed 25 year old living with their parents, whose days consists of video games and Max after dark movies? Only if you like to watch money burn! Always review the source of the advice, and measure for yourself the amount of value. The 25 year old may have caught two minutes of Mad Money’s Jim Cramer and be on to something, so remember to do your due diligence and research before proceeding. Many things sound good until the results do not go as expected.
There is a difference between a stay at home parent who watches All My Children reruns all day, and someone who is reading financial reports while watching CNBC. Think about the person giving advice, and try to view the world through their eyes. Where their advice comes from is a different place than yours, and understanding their perspective will assist in truly understanding what they are trying to say. It will also provide a great measuring tool for how much weight their advice really has.
When someone attempts to help in an area they are not qualified or have limited knowledge, they will usually not be able to provide valuable advice. And once said advice has been given, they may feel insulted if you do not follow what they believe you should do. Make it a conscious effort to develop as little animosity as possible, because sleep is not optional and your spouse knows this.
Release of liability and final thoughts
Connecting with another person can be a wonderful experience, or more painful than nails scraping a chalkboard. By showing respect and taking the time to understand the person behind the partner, communication can reach levels only dreamed about in fairy tales and spy movies. Secrets complicate lives and create work to maintain. Instead of hiding things, or hoping the body is never discovered, develop ways to more effectively (and efficiently) converse with the person the police would always suspect first in your homicide!