There are times in a marriage when difficult conversations must be had. It does not matter how much you do not want to discuss an issue, there comes a point when the elephant in the room must be addressed and dealt with. Difficult conversations are those that are emotionally laden and could cause either one or both of you to get angry, get defensive, or end up with very hurt feelings.
It is important however, that you do not keep putting off having a conversation that must be had. If you do your marriage could end up in serious trouble. Having a conversation that is not easy to have shows that you love your spouse and that you value your marriage.
There are things you must consider when it is time to have a talk that you would rather not have with your partner. What expectations do you have for the conversation? Define what your expectations are before you sit down to talk. If you expect it will go badly then chances are it will. Instead think in a positive manner and believe in your heart and mind that the conversation will go well.
Be clear about the reason that the conversation is necessary in the first place. Are you trying to diffuse a bad situation? Are you looking for your spouse’s thoughts and perspective on an issue? Is there something your spouse did that hurt, upset or embarrassed you that you need to bring to the forefront? Are you looking for support and reassurance about a decision you have to make? Whatever the reason is, make sure you know before going into the discussion.
Be aware that a difficult conversation involves tension and will bring up a maelstrom of emotions in one or both of you. Accept that stress will be a part of the atmosphere of the talk, and proceed from there. You both may go back and forth from one emotion to another as you talk and listen to each other and realistically speaking, it will be uncomfortable and unpleasant but it must be done.
It is never good to say to your spouse, “We have to talk.” This automatically sets off warning bells in the other person’s head and can put them on edge right away. Instead, begin the conversation with some type of statement that acknowledges that there is a subject that must be discussed that is sensitive and might cause him or her to become confrontational and touchy. Be as positive as possible by telling your spouse that you are aware that you look at things from a different perceptive, but that you want to find some common ground on the issue or problem that you are currently facing. Make sure you emphasize that you are a team and that you want to better understand the person because of the love you share.
When you begin to talk get to the point right away and keep it as simple as possible. Stay on track with the topic and don’t go off on a tangent. As well, do not mix in other topics with it or you will lose your spouse’s attention and your own train of thought. Some good opening lines for a sensitive conversation include “What do you think about …”, “Something has been on my mind about …” or “I want to understand your way of thinking about …” Get to the heart of the matter immediately and say what needs to be said but make sure you also listen, and are prepared to give your spouse the opportunity to respond.