Plenty of people avoid difficult conversations ,while some thrive on drama. If you’re one of the latter, get rid of drama-inducing habits as much as you can. Arguing regularly, including fighting over small matters, builds up to frustration, lack of trust, deeper anger and resentments in relationships.
Nobody can avoid difficult conversations, especially in a relationship that’s supposed to last for decades. Knowing how to bring up sensitive issues is a must, as well as knowing when to let the small things slide, no matter how annoyed you may feel about a particular episode. Not every battle has to be fought. Never forget how you and your spouse are on the same team.
As for tough conversations that need to be dealt with, here are some useful tips to help you converse with your spouse and not end up screaming at each other, or engaging in a silent war:
Know that your own feelings aren’t facts. Needless to say, feelings are tremendously important. When two people love each other, they must work very hard at valuing the feelings of their mate. When it comes to communicating, often times it’s our own blown up feelings that make us difficult to deal with. Tough conversations in relationship don’t necessarily involve supremely important topics. It could be as mundane as feeling hurt and rejected because your husband didn’t answer his phone right away. Or feeling enraged because your wife forgot to run the errand she promised she’d take care of. People make mistakes. People get busy. Not every hurt feeling of yours means your spouse doesn’t love you. Tackle any issues after you put your ego aside and put your negative feelings into proper perspective. Think before you speak. This cliche will always hold true, especially within what should be the most important relationship of your life.
Ensure both you and your spouse are prepared for what could be a less-than-pleasant conversation. Bringing up a sensitive topic while your partner is relaxing is never a good idea. Neither is it healthy to tell your wife or husband that you have to have “a talk” the night before they’re about to start a new job. And the art of tackling a tough subject matter goes beyond good timing. Specifically setting a time to talk with your spouse without unreasonable demands will help them prepare for the conversation while allowing them to choose when the exchange will occur. This way, when you do talk about whatever issue is at hand, you will be both mentally and physically prepared.
When in doubt, remember that a kind word, most especially one that involves you swallowing a big gulp of bitter pride, will tremendously benefit your relationship in the long run. A hurtful reply might satisfy an ephemeral feeling but the consequences can leave devastated lives in its wake.
All the best,
Dr. Warrick T. Stewart, Ed.D, CRC, LPC, PLCAS