There will come a time in your marriage wherein you would need to have a “must have” talk. This is the conversation that you would need to talk about stuff that may be sensitive, difficult, or cause emotional outbursts. But this is important because pretending that everything is fine can cause your marriage to fail.
Having these conversations show that you care enough about each other to put aside other things to talk about it and save your marriage.
Here are some tips to help you with it.
Don’t Put Off Having That Difficult Conversation
Look at Your Expectations – Don’t expect it to go badly because if you do, it will. Think positively and think that it will go well. Just put in mind that “If emotions become heightened, it’s a good idea to implement a safe word prior to the discussion which indicates that one of the partners needs to take a break,” says Michelle Smith, LMHC.
Know Why You Want to Have the Talk – Why do you want to talk? Is it to understand each other’s side better about an issue? Is it to confront them about something they did that hurt you? Or is it because of wanting more time together to increase intimacy?
Accept It Will Probably Be a Stressful Conversation – This is a talk you both avoided for a long time, and there are reasons for it being like that. Both of you will become emotional while talking and it’s normal.
Ways to Address the Difficult Conversation
Don’t Say “We Have to Talk” or “Can we talk?” – Go to the point immediately by pointing out the topic or issue and acknowledging it rather than asking “can we talk?” But make sure your spouse realizes that this is so that you can understand each side’s point of view. Besides, “Humans are complex and all of us experience emotions like anger and sadness, so it’s very normal that at some point in the relationship, you will disagree with your partner.” Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC said.
Suggestions for Beginning the Talk – Start with openers like, “I’d like to talk about…” instead of delaying the talk. Don’t stray from the topic or turn it into something else. Make it short and straightforward.
When And Where To Have The Difficult Conversation
Don’t Manipulate Your Spouse – When talking to them, do it honestly and make sure they know your purpose. Don’t take them to the movies but end up talking to them about the issue in a restaurant right when they’re unaware of it. This is manipulative.
The Timing Of The Talk – Have the talk when the time is right. Don’t talk when emotions are still high. Talk when the two of you have a clear head. Don’t do it before or after sex either.
Don’t Expect To Have The Talk Immediately – Inform them first of wanting to talk instead of immediately demanding to speak. Give them time to talk about the issue so that they can regroup their thoughts and that the chances of the two of you being defensive to lessen but don’t postpone it for too long. Give a time frame.
Don’t Trap Your Spouse – Don’t talk to them in places like a car or train as you would be trapping them.
Agree On Where To Have The Talk – If they don’t agree with talking in public like in a restaurant, have the talk in your home.
Strategies To Use During The Difficult Conversation
Show Respect for Your Spouse – Don’t act like you’re above your spouse or that they would know what you want. Let them speak.
Be Aware of Nonverbal Communication – Practice eye contact. Make them know that while you acknowledge them, it doesn’t mean agreement.
Be Prepared – If you’re going to bring up concerns, make sure to have facts to back you up. Don’t stray from the topic too.
Reach an Agreement You Both Can Live With – Have a time frame to see how you two would deal with the aftermath and the issue. “Give yourself time to heal. We can be harder on ourselves than on any other person. Realize that fully overcoming the issues you had to face during your relationship may take time, and that’s OKAY.” Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC said.
Know When to Get Help – If talking doesn’t help or the issue keeps on worsening, learn when to get help from a counselor or mediator to save your marriage.