No one likes to have a conversation that they feel certain will turn into an argument. However, there are times when we have to address sensitive issues in our marriage. How do you handle hard conversations without making ending in a fight? I have a few tips for you to try when you need to address something difficult.
Know The Other’s Needs When Addressing Hard Topics
There are two kinds of people in the world- those that run headlong into confrontation, and those that avoid it at all costs. Often times, I find these two types of people like to get married to each other, so that there can be no end to the frustration between them. I’m playing about that, but these two types of people do get married to each other all of the time.
It is really important that you understand your spouse’s tendencies when it comes to hard conversations. You likely already know how they feel about confrontation. Either, they want to hurry up and do it so the problems can be over, or they want to avoid it as long as possible and hope the issues go away.
Understand What The Other Person Needs In These Situations
Maybe you know your spouse’s tendencies already, but do you know what they need when they are dealing with hard conversations? Those that want to have the discussion feel as though they can’t function until they clear the air. Those that avoid confrontations have to mentally gear up for it.
For Those That Want to Have the Confrontation ASAP
Maybe you are the one that doesn’t have a problem with confrontation. When something bothers you, you want to address it right there in the moment. You need to share with your spouse that you have something important to talk to them about that may be hard for them to hear.
Even though you want to hurry up and hash the problem out, they may need you to give them space. It is best that you respect their requests, because if you force a conversation, it will end up going badly for both of you.
Work out with your spouse a time when you can talk about the topic. Decide together when you are going to have a meeting.
For Those That Avoid Confrontation
If you hate having hard conversations, you have to clearly share with your spouse what it will take for you to be ready to have them. You should take initiative to make that meeting happen. This will give you the time you need to get prepared mentally.
It is important that if you tell your spouse you need to come back to the conversation at a different time, that you stay true to your word. It will make them feel like you do not care about their feelings and frustrations if you put them off.
Know Which Position They Communicate Best
For some people, talking shoulder to shoulder is best. They may respond better to deep conversation while driving down the road or doing something together. Others need to be face to face, looking at the other.
If you are going to your spouse about a problem that you have with them, then it is best to go with the communication position that they feel most comfortable. This might mean you need to go for a drive to get shoulder to shoulder.
It might mean going somewhere for coffee so that you can look at each other. Make your default whatever will make the other person feel most comfortable. Since the discussion has the potential to put them on the defensive, you want to make it as easy for them as possible.
Present Your Problem and Ask For Help With the Solution
I’m asked all of the time by readers how they can bring up their problem with their partner. Here’s my top suggestion- share your problem with your spouse, and then ask them to help you come up with a solution.
Here’s a practical example. If you need your spouse’s help with some specific chore around the house, go to them about the problem. The problem is that you are having a hard time getting the chore done.
After you explain the problem, ask for your spouse to help you come up with a solution. Suggest ways that they can help you with the issue.
When you go to your spouse and demand that they make a change, it will put them on the defense. It is much easier to help them get there by showing them where you have a problem and asking them to pitch in and help.