A number of couples struggle with knowing how to properly discuss the trials that arise in their relationships. There have been several comments from individuals who are at their wit’s end and almost to a point where walking away is an option. It is usually a spouse who feels they have given, sacrificed and done everything necessary to make their relationship work but their partner hasn’t put forth any of the work needed. My question always becomes what conversations or actions have transpired or need to occur (on the part of both partners) to generate the transformation they hope to see.
Addressing the problems in a marriage is no easy feat; here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. To thy own self be true. Not one of us is perfect, neither us nor our spouse. It is always best to start a difficult conversation by confessing any negative behaviors you’ve contributed. Take an honest assessment of your faults and be prepared to make the needed alterations. Especially if you will be expecting the same of your spouse.
2. Speak to your partner the exact same way you want to be spoken to. Think about how you best receive information. Now think about how your spouse best receives information. Ask yourself questions like “when is my partner the most responsive or what causes them to shut down and what makes my mate feel comfortable enough to bear all?” Most People tend to stop listening to a person they feel is always blaming them for something. Discussions always work best when there isn’t finger pointing.
3. Recognize the desired outcome. What would you like to happen as a result of your conversation with your spouse? If your hope is that your mate has a clearer understanding of your needs, determine the best way for you to deliver that information. Is it through a letter or during a heart-to-heart conversation? It is helpful to work backwards so to speak. If you know the goal it will be easier to line your actions up to match that goal.
4. Be able to express, to your spouse, why the situation has affected you the way it has. Our partners are more likely to take action if they are able to understand the concern a certain situation or challenge has on us. The only way they will know is if we tell them. In a trusted partnership it is okay to be completely vulnerable. Allow your mate to fully enter your world. Sharing your feelings and most personal thoughts and emotions provides that needed insight.
5. Enter into the conversation with a clear mind and expectancy. Forget what you think will happen, even if it may have been how things have turned out in the past. Expect a positive result. In order to do that you must make sure you have no hidden agendas.
Relationships, marriages in particular, do not come with a manual. There isn’t a right or wrong way to have a relationship. There is, however, an effective way to communicate. Whenever we feel like we are putting more effort into our relationship than our spouse we must talk about. If we feel like our mate takes us for granted or never listens to us, we must talk about it. In addition to talking we must make sure we are actively listening as well. Keep in mind positive communication works both ways.