October 15th, 2014
How to Talk About Serious Issues with Your Spouse
Many of us communicate with our spouses on a daily basis and several times a day, but when it comes to how to talk serious with your spouse, it can be hard to find the right time, the right place or even the right way to effectively convey your message. Discussing “hot topics” is never easy, often least of all with the ones we’re closest to, but with my 3 tips below, your spouse and yourself will be able to openly and actively participate in difficult discussions rather than go on the defense.
1. Timing Is Key
We don’t always have a lot of one-on-one time to devote to our spouse. Our families, friends, and occupations demand the bulk of our attention and by the end of the day, many of us are stressed out, tired, and would rather not deal with taxing problems.
As difficult as it may be for some couples to find a period of “calm” amongst the everyday calamity of their lives, it’s essential that both parties take the time to address the serious issues that they or their partner may be having, whether it’s in the marriage, in the workplace, or elsewhere. This may be in the minutes before going to bed, or you may need to schedule a distraction-free time with your spouse. Whatever you do, don’t let “lack of time” be the excuse that can potentially end your relationship.
2. Be Open-Minded
Many serious conversations blow up within the first few moments because one or both individuals enter the conversation while neglecting one of the key components for this serious conversation with your spouse, which is to consider their thoughts, ideas, or feelings. For example, let’s say you want to quit your job. Rather than entering the discussion by giving a finite statement (i.e. “I’m quitting my job on Friday”) create an environment where you’re both given an opportunity to brainstorm and find a suitable solution. After introducing the problem (i.e. you’re unhappy at your job), ask your spouse what both of you can do about the problem.
Doing so achieves two key things:
- Your spouse and yourself will be able to agree on the issues
- Both parties will be actively engaged in working towards an agreeable resolution
3. Avoid the Blame Game
Once one spouse blames the other or makes accusatory statements, the conversation quickly derails and goes from being an earnest discussion to a war loaded with blame, negativity, and defensive actions. A fruitful conversation is one where neither party enters into it riled up and prepared to battle. Being logical, sticking to the facts, and being a respectful communicator (i.e. maintain eye contact, speak calmly, listen and seek clarification when necessary) will go a long way in keeping the conversation focused and on-point.
One or both spouses may have “hot button” issues that instigate an almost instantaneous negative reaction. In these situations, when it comes to knowing how to talk serious with your spouse, it’s best for both parties to have a plan in place which they both agreed upon for how to diffuse the situation. For instance, if one party raises his or her voice, the plan allows both to take a time-out and revisit the conversation later when calm has been restored.
If you and your spouse are finding it difficult to communicate, I am here to help you. I offer appointments in my office located in Greenville, SC. To schedule your appointment, call me at (864) 559-8181.