For someone who makes a living playing with words, I am amazed at how poorly I can communicate sometimes. Perhaps it’s not too surprising that I have the hardest time communicating effectively with the people who are closest to me in my life. Add to that a difficult topic for me to talk about without getting anxious–oh, let’s just say money as a random example–and it can get pretty bad.
It seems that whenever my wife and I get into a discussion about family finances, we quickly retreat into some well-worn (and completely unhelpful) roles. It’s as though we pull out our script books and start reading our parts. Oh, who am I kidding: we hardly need scripts by this point….
So after having one of those kinds of conversations, we tried again. And this time we talked. But instead of talking about money, or finances, we talked past those issues and started to address some of the things that motivate those scripted roles we fall into all too easily.
I wouldn’t say we solved our financial worries, and I wouldn’t say we tore up those scripts for good. But it was helpful to try to lay down, for a little while at least, those assumptions about how we talk about our problems, and to then try to address what’s really worth our care and attention.