Even in the most loving of relationships, there are those moments when the subject is sour and the conversation is hard.
Sometimes, it could be the big issues, like finances, parenting, in-laws, sex. It could also be the little things like “who is not doing enough to help in the house” or “who is not prioritizing emotional connection”.
While these conversations may be uncomfortable to bring up, without discussing them with your partner, resentment and bitterness could build up and slowly tear down the love&togetherness in your relationship.
How then do you go about having these difficult talks without it resulting to a fight or bringing about more enmity between you both?
Here is a simple template you can follow:
First do your part to process the conversation on your own, before you decide if it is worth having.
Be sure that it is really important to discuss the issue in order to avoid a reoccurrence, protect your intimacy, prevent resentment, and that it doesn’t fall under the category of ”overlook and move on“.
When you make issues you should overlook an issue to be discussed, you may weary your partner over time and they may not be very open to engaging in future ”important” discussions with you.
One rule of thumb to decide whether a discussion is worth having is ”would resentment or unforgiveness persist if you don’t discuss this?” If the answer is yes, then it is probably worth discussing.
Now that you’ve decided that it’s worth discussing, an important part of your process is letting go and choosing to forgive any hurt even before you have the conversation.
Forgiveness is a choice you can make on your own. While an apology definitely makes it easier to forgive, if you always have to get an apology before you forgive, you are saying you are not in control of your own choices.
Forgiving enables you to express your hurt (yes it may still hurt) without seeking to hurt your partner in the process.
You will be able communicate kindly and respectfully, and that will enable the conversation to be judgement and accusation free.
By doing this, you have given your partner an opportunity to open up and engage in this difficult conversation with you. Of course, that sets you both up for greater success in reaching concessions and reconciliation.
Another important part of this process is choosing your words. It doesn’t hurt to choose your words carefully in order to avoid opening up with trigger statements like ”you always” or ”you never”.
Beginning with ”I” statements followed by a description of your feelings, enables you to communicate how you were affected by something or what you think of something without necessarily pointing an accusing finger at your partner.
This gives your partner an opportunity to empathize and hopefully motivates their willingness to want to make things better.
Always stop think about the effect you want your words to have, before you say them.
It is important that you know your perspective isn’t the only one that exists. So be genuinely interested and ask questions that will give your partner an opportunity to express themselves.
Be open and willing to understand things from a different point of view whether or not it sounds logical to you.
Prioritize your relationship and the willingness of your partner to communicate, over who is right or wrong.
PROFFER SOLUTIONS/MAKE REQUESTS
Be very clear about your expectations going forward.
What changes do you want to see? What does your partner need to do now or start doing to make things better? What are you willing to do differently also?
Ensure that you reach and agree on these decisions together, so that you can both be committed to taking action on them.
After decisions have been reached, find a way to reconnect. It is important to always end a difficult conversation feeling better than when you started.
A hug, a kiss, love making, a movie together, a stroll etc. Anything to lighten the mood and show your spouse that no matter what, you will always be there.
This will increase your willingness to have other uncomfortable conversations in the future, because this is marriage right?😀
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Leave me a comment if you find this helpful.
With Christ’s love,