Quite a few of the conversations and comments that surface as a result of the articles posted here on BMWK typically focus on something a spouse is or isn’t doing. This, of course, always leaves one spouse feeling frustrated and challenged on how to not only discuss it but also repair it. A number of couples struggle with knowing how to properly discuss the trials that arise in their relationships. In fact, talking about what’s bothering you in your relationship is almost an art form.
5 Easy Tips for Talking About What’s Bothering You In Your Relationship
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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.
Be True to Yourself
Your spouse isn’t perfect, but neither are you. As such, 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 any necessary changes.
Speak to your partner the 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?”
- “What causes them to shut down?”
- “What makes my mate feel comfortable enough to hear me out completely?”
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.
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. Remember, the point is to be talking about what’s bothering you in your relationship. If you know the goal, it’s easier to line your actions to match that goal.
Express 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.
Enter into the conversation with clarity.
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. When you begin talking about what’s bothering you in your relationship, it’s so that you can be vulnerable and clear about what your needs are.
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.
BMWK, what would you add to this list? How have you discussed the challenges in your relationship with your spouse?
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on September 27, 2012, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.