Core Values and the Key to Communication in Relationships

Communication between CouplesSo much has been said about the importance of communication in relationships. Whole books have been written about it, including the well-known Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. And still, the distance between Mars and Venus continues. No one knows how to heal the rift.

And the worst thing is that once there is a miscommunication, it quickly snowballs into more and more miscommunication until you’re having a full-blown fight. If this describes you and your partner, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:

Do You Have the Same Core Values?

Sometimes, the problem is not really a lack of communication but certain essential differences between people. One person might believe in the joys of having children while the other might think of children as unnecessary baggage. One person might not think too much about sex before marriage while the other person might believe in celibacy.

These are core beliefs which are very hard to alter and you need to think about whether you can live with them. In the case of celibacy, the problem is solved after getting married. But in the case of children, it’s something you might have to live with for the rest of your life. So think about whether it’s a problem of miscommunication or whether it’s really a difference in core beliefs.

Have You Done Everything You Can?

The truth is that everyone knows the secret of good communication. If you look back at all your good relationships, what do they have in common? A willingness to listen? Respecting the other person’s boundaries? General kindness? Praise and encouragement? No matter how you put it, the end result is the same—getting along, having a good time, having fun etc.

You need to seriously ask yourself whether you’re doing these things in your relationship now. Most people find that the key to good communication is in their hands; they just have to use it.

Dealing With Your Partner in a Non-Judgmental Way:

3 Tips For Overcoming Your Fear of Being Judged

Couples passing judgementPeople are going to judge you, and that is an unfortunate reality. Sometimes it will be for big things, and other times it will be for little things. Maybe it will be about how you dress, or what you do for a living, or the way you talk. Sometimes it will be your co-worker, your family, or even your significant other. With so many people evaluating you every day, it can begin to feel like you’re performing a role, instead of living your life. That you are trying to be a perfect person for those looking on, instead of being happy with who you are.

If you find yourself constantly being judged by your partner, you need to talk to them about that behavior. You need to establish clear communication, and set boundaries about what is and isn’t okay in your relationship. However, if you find you’re afraid of being judged before any judgment actually occurs, here are some small steps you can help you deal with that fear of potential future reactions.

Step #1: Realize That Most People Really Don’t Care

We are all the main characters in our own stories, which means that we often put ourselves in the center of our own universe. Of course people are judging us, because why wouldn’t they be? We are at the center of the story. Of course, once you realize this tendency, you also realize that most other people are so concerned with being the center of their universes, that they never even notice you. Even your partner, whom you share parts of your life with, is not going to think about every little thing you do.

Once you realize that, you realize something else. A lot of the time, when you think other people are judging you, you’re really judging yourself. You are projecting the things you worry about yourself (that you’re unattractive, that you’re awkward, that you’re simply not good enough) onto other people. If you accept yourself, and you make peace with your flaws, then you’ll find you focus on them less. As a result, you won’t feel people judging you as often. And if you think your partner is judging you, talk with them about it. A lot of the time you may find the thing you’re worried about is something they didn’t even notice.

Step #2: Ask “Why Do I Care?”

Many times we get so caught up in the feeling of being judged, that we forget to ask why someone else’s opinion should matter to us. After all, if you’re happy, or you’re having fun, what does it matter what someone else thinks? Even if that person is a significant other, a spouse, etc., there are certain matters where their approval or disapproval is irrelevant.

Too often we lose perspective when it comes to who is judging us, and what their judgment actually means. Think about when children dance or play. They don’t care that adults are shaking their heads or laughing at them, because they’re having fun. As adults, though, we often forgo doing the things we want to do, or enjoying ourselves, because we worry that people will shake their heads or laugh at us. So what if they do? You’re the one having fun, and enjoying your life.

Step #3: Don’t Judge Others (It Helps)

One of the best ways to help stop your fear of others judging you, is for you to stop judging others. This is just as hard, if not harder, than any of the other steps, because we’ve often been taught to value certain things in other people. We judge people based on their looks, their jobs, what they eat, and even who they’re related to. It gets exhausting, taking all of the factors you know about someone and creating a judgment.

Now just imagine all of the factors you can’t see. It’s just as impossible for you to know someone else’s life as it is for them to know yours. If your significant other, whom you are intimately close with. So, instead of judging someone based only on a list of things you can tell, instead, reserve your judgment. Instead, be accepting of people, and try to learn about them. The more often you accept other people, the less often you’ll be concerned about other people judging you. In fact, you’ll come to see that, more often than not, when other people judge you it says more about them than it does about you.

Three Ways Couples Can Have Fun Talking About Money

“What’s your net worth?”

Couples discussing financesIt’s the last question a person would dare ask on a first date, yet money issues are a top cause of failed relationships. While this magic number speaks volumes, net worth isn’t the only topic that couples need to talk about. Spending habits, income goals, and investment strategy are parts of a financial picture that influences compatibility and predicts relationship longevity.

Wouldn’t it be great to explore your partner’s financial habits and goals while strengthening your relationship? Upgrade your next date night with these fun ways to build fiscal responsibility together.

Vision Boarding

You could save money cutting coupons, or you could spend date night cutting out pictures of your wildest dreams. Vision boards are a creative way to start the conversation around goals and discuss ways to work towards your dreams together. Not only does this activity energize a couple around shared goals, it also gives them room to talk about ways to make these goals happen. Should you give up the cable subscription or work extra hours? Use your vision board as a reason to ask these sensitive money questions and partner around collective goals.

Couples Game Night

Don’t spend Friday night eating take-out and watching Law & Order reruns. Instead, invite a few couples over for a financial game night. Several board games increase financial literacy in a fun and engaging way including Cash Flow 101, The Game of Life, and Monopoly. Although we played many of these games as children, discussing your strategy with an adult mindset creates a learning opportunity for everyone in the room. Keep the dinner costs down by asking each couple to bring a dish to share.

Head to Head Challenge

What is it about competition that makes people work harder? Challenge your significant other to a contest that helps you make better financial decisions or reach your financial goals. For example, couples can race to save the most money over a six month period. The winner gets to take ten percent of the savings and decide how the couple will celebrate. Another good option is a no-spending challenge. The first person to spend money (excluding regular bills) has to submit to whatever penalty their honey has planned for them!

While money is still a taboo topic for many, couples should be comfortable discussing money and building their financial standing together. Use these proactive and fun ways to make money an open topic and strengthen your relationship.