How To Have A Difficult Conversation With Your Partner
It’s happened again! Another major disagreement…
S/he has said something about your family, told you your life history because you didn’t do something they asked you to, in short, they’ve hurt you so bad that you just want to walk away before you do/say something that would make things worse. But it’s too late, things have already gotten out of hand!
So what do you do now?
As much as you’d want to ignore them for the rest of your life because surely, they have crossed lines that even the American troops dared not cross in Afghanistan, you know you have to ‘confront’ them with your feelings about this battle that you both just limped away from.
The first thing you do NOT do is approach them when tensions are still high.
You can never be rational if you approach your spouse when your (or their) blood is still boiling. Don’t lie to yourself! Who is able to reason with their fellow man, or listen to someone else’s point of view when they are angry? No one! When you are flustered, you end up saying things that will exacerbate the situation. So the first thing you do is take some time to calm your nerves.
Then…you have some reprogramming to do.
Every time you have a quarrel with your spouse, the initial tendency is to think that they are the problem. “Oh! If they could just change and quit being such a problem, then I’ll be happier.” Right? Unfortunately, this thought process doesn’t help you fix anything. When you have a disagreement with your spouse, you have to recognize that…
It isn’t you vs. them. It is you AND them vs. the problem!
They are not the problem, the problem IS the problem. You have to be able to separate your spouse from the issue at hand. Of course, it’s clear that you are in contention with them, but if you keep seeing them as the problem, you are in essence saying to your subconscious that they are the enemy.
Your spouse is not the enemy!
They are human! Flesh and blood! Just like you. Which means they also err the same way you do. If they are the problem, that means you are perfect and have no part to play in working on the issue. So looking at them as the problem, limits you from opening yourself to working through the issues you both face in your marriage. How can your marriage thrive if you think you have no part to play in it? It can’t. It takes two.
Get off your high horse; you have one more thing to do.
After you’ve given yourself some time to calm down and have separated your spouse from the issue you’re fighting about, it’s time to reach out to them, in the most approachable way possible. How?
Use your words (the right ones) to get them to the discussion table.
Most times when we talk to our spouse about an issue we don’t see eye to eye on, we point fingers at every one and everything except ourselves. So you say things like “You always talk to me rudely, you are very wicked?” (Ok, so maybe you don’t say this verbatim but your words mirror everything wrong with this statement)…You are pointing fingers at them! This is one of the “best” ways to get them on the defensive and all chances of getting to a resolution are thrown out the window.
Don’t play the blame game, talk about your feelings!
Instead of saying ‘you did this or that’, tell your spouse how their actions made you feel. If you are uncomfortable talking about your feelings with your spouse, you are missing one of the most important components of a thriving marriage – vulnerability. When you are able to embrace vulnerability in your marriage, it becomes easier to say this statement instead of the previous one “I feel very hurt anytime you call me names and refer to my family the way you do. How can we work together to solve this issue just so you don’t feel like my family is taking advantage and we avoid talking to each other in a derogatory manner?” You are taking ownership and showing responsibility.
Doing this will disarm your spouse.
So notice how I use the word ‘we’. That easy, two-letter word is such a powerful word in marriage. It signifies unity, togetherness, and partnership.
“We” are going to work on the issue together.
“We” can fix this together.
It is not just your fault but something “we” need to work on together.
And who wouldn’t respond to such intentional words?
This is a way to bring up a difficult conversation with your spouse. There are more tips on my website: http://zeezeeio.com on how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict with your spouse. There’s quite a bit of work to do to get your marriage to the heights you intend for it to reach.
I’d love to hear from you, ask your questions, share your views, comment, like and share this article with a loved one who might need it. It’s always better when you share! J
Here’s to a renewed mindset and a restored marriage!
ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.
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