This article is going to need all of us ladies to band together and draw from our experiences in communication fails and triumphs. We can not avoid it. At times we are going to encounter problems in our marriages that we need to talk about openly with our husbands. And at times they are issues that could cause the conversation to turn south really fast if we are not mindful of some strategies for discussing sensitive topics in a way that encourage more talking rather than seeing us or our husbands shut down.
Maybe your husband needs to know that you need something particular in bed. Or that you need him to stop doing something particular in bed. Maybe there are issues in your finances or serious character issues that concern you. Whatever it is, there is a way that we as wives can do our part to bring these things up in a manner that is more likely to be well received. We can’t guarantee it of course. Our husbands are responsible for their own response, but there are some keys that make it work better.
The first thing I want to mention is the importance of picking your timing well. If he is in the middle of a project or watching something important to him on TV, that isn’t the time to bring up a problem. I used to be very unaware of this and have worked hard to be more intentional about when I bring things up that my husband and I need to discuss. My husband has taken the time to tell me how much he appreciates that I have grown in my discretion in this area so I know that it’s really meaningful to him.
The other thing that is very important is to take the time to think before you speak. We often end up reacting to problems the moment they pop up, but if we can train ourselves to hold our tongues, collect our thoughts and then speak, we often end up being able to respond more reasonably. I’ve found it really helpful to write out my thoughts ahead of time on very serious issues. It helps me process out a lot of the emotions so that when I talk to my husband I can focus more on the facts and present things in a way that makes more sense to him. I’ve noticed that so many of the movies I see which depict a romantic relationship are often missing this aspect of communication when the conflict in the movie meets the crisis point. Self control in conflict is completely disregarded, but I think controlling our tongue in conflict is incredibly important.
Without a doubt it is also important to take the time to pray for insight, especially if you need to bring up an issue that could be hurtful to him. We don’t want our words to tear him down and if we take time to pray I know that God gives us wisdom so that we can say things in ways that encourage him to consider how he can change. There was an issue a number of months ago that began concerning me about my husband so I began praying about it. God provided me a way to very gently mention it to my husband at just the right timing, when his heart was able to receive it. Since then I have seen God prompt people who knew nothing of the issue I was concerned about say something that reconfirms to my husband the importance of him paying attention to the problem I mentioned. Prayer makes a huge difference.
Our tone of voice is also very important. If we can remember to say things gently and with kindness, we will find that what we say is more readily received. Whether the issue is serious or mild, we have the choice to say things in a passive aggressive manner and rudely or we can choose to speak kindly. If in our hearts we already disrespect or despise our husband, that is going to come across in how we say things. We can’t expect him to receive what we are saying if underneath our words, our tone communicates a poor heart condition on our part. And we won’t be able to hide that so take the time to deal with issues of the heart as they come up.
And that brings me to my final point. If you have a habit of sweeping things under the rug because you have a hard time dealing with conflict, you can be sure that those bad roots of anger, bitterness and unforgiveness are going to cause bad fruit in our relationship. A lot of the time we will not even see the connection between a hurt we have in our hearts and a bad reaction we had to something external, but very often there are indeed connections between these kinds of things. So have courage and deal with the stuff in your heart. Bring your hurts to Jesus and let him begin healing the broken parts of your heart.
So how about you? These are my top suggestions for how to deal with sensitive issues with your husband. What have you found to be effective? I’d love to hear from you.