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3 communication tips when talking about something sensitive and heartfelt.
Once again, you settle on the couch after a long days work to watch your favorite Netflix show. Your spouse is next to you, and then BAM! It hits you. This is it. This is your life. Not only are your work days are on repeat, you come home and are reminded that your home life is also...on repeat. So, you wrestle with your thoughts for a minute and that still small voice that's been nagging you for the past few years is steadily getting louder. 'There has to be more to this relationship.' or 'Is watching TV with my spouse every single night normal or beneficial? Why can't we do something more with our evenings together, or our lives for that matter?' It's getting so loud that if you don't immediately transform those thoughts into words, you just might burst.
Yes, we have all been there. It's mostly women who grow steadily unfulfilled when they sense something becoming redundant. I couldn't quite put my finger on why that is until I realized something. Women love to be pursued. Not just in a "hey babe, wanna go on a date?" kind of pursuing, but an everyday, active curiosity of who we are pursuing. If you're a free-spirited, emotional, sensitive, and opinionated soul like I am, you know this need. And when it's not met...we get restless. Redundancy gets under our skin, and if we feel as though our spouse has become complacent, which brings about the dreaded boredom of life, we sometimes resort to unhealthy communication.
So, what should we do when these thoughts and feelings come up to the forefront of our needs? Well, I can tell you one thing; it's easy in these situations to commit communication sabotage and before you know it, you wished with all your heart you had kept your mouth shut. But before you push it down and let it simmer even more or say something in a way that will send your home accesories flying, ask yourself these helpful questions.
Is this a good time to talk about it?
I can't tell you how many times I've said something, and immediately after, knew it was the wrong time to say it. My best efforts at using my words carefully or not sounding critical are put to waist faster than I can say, "@#$%" because no matter how well I communicate, it won't matter. It just wasn't a good time.
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How do we know when there's a good time to talk about what's on our hearts as opposed to the wrong time? Here are few pointers.
Don't talk about a heart issue that has been simmering for quite awhile immedietely after it happens again.
There is a time and a place to address something right away, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about that issue that started as a tiny little seed which was planted awhile ago, that has taken root and grown into the biggest effing ugly pumpkin you've ever seen. It's a thought like, 'there has to be more to this relationship' that deserves a bit of analyzing before you voice it.
- Don't talk about a heart issue when your spouse is in a bad mood.
If you're sensing a Mr. Hyde sitting next to you that night, it's probably best to wait to discuss heavy heart matters.
- Don't talk about a heart issue when your emotions are high on anger.
Some of the best advice I received from my mentor was this. Figure out something physical you can do to try and keep yourself from spewing out your emotions. For her, it's literally putting her hand over her mouth to keep herself from talking. For me, on the other hand, I don't do that because I'm pretty sure my husband would think I'm a whack job. No, I squeeze my hands together as hard as I can. It takes the energy from the monster trying to escape me, to my poor hands who aren't able to talk, thankfully. Anyway, whatever you have to do to keep yourself from talking about something when you OR your partner are not at a good place, do it. Nothing good will come out of a conversation veiled in anger.
Have I thought through how I am going to say what I need to say?
Remember in high-school, when you had to present a book report to the entire class, but you wrote it based on reading a few pages here and there throughout the book? Well, maybe you weren't as lazy as I was. High-school for me was a time to mess around with my best friend. We would often find ourselves doing voiceovers of our fellow classmates, given our classroom was arranged in a circle. We had the perfect view of everyone. I would do a voice for Jimmy, while she would do one for Mr. Holtcamp . It was hilarious, and now that I think of it, we were pretty much simulating a real life, "Bad Lip Reading Class of 2005."
Sometimes, relationships are like that book report you wrote based on a book you didn't read. We say shit that we haven't studied for and end up getting a really bad grade, except not from the teacher, but from our spouse.
It's very important to do your homework on what you are going to say if it's a hard topic to discuss. Now that I know I need to do this, I have an actual ritual I perform before discussing something sensitive. And yeah, I call it a ritual. I got the idea from a book I read and my shortened version of it goes like this. You can really do this exercise for anything difficult you're going through, as it's a great tool for really digging deep as to why you feel the way you feel.
My "Don't eff this one up" ritual
First, in my journal, I write down the topic of my issue - Discussing...with my husband.
Then, I thank God that he has given me a husband, or thank him for something having to do with the specific trial. Yeah, always gratitude first, even when angry.
Next comes telling God how pissed I am with my husband, and sometimes, how angry I am at Him as well. Basically, I believe that God doesn't want us to hold our feelings from Him. He can handle it. He wants us to be real with him!
Then, I confess and ask God to show me what it is I need to work on in the situation. Oftentimes, I find that most of my anger is coming from my suppression of feelings. After expressing them to God, I don't feel the need to discuss it with my husband anymore. But sometimes, a conversation is still needed, except the anger and garbage from my mind has been addressed and I can better process what it is I need to say to him.
Is this a preference or an actual issue?
There is a difference between an issue that is an actual issue and something that is a preference. By that I mean, ask yourself, "Is this something I am just preferring to be different, or is it causing real damage to our relationship?" If you find that your issue is something you preferred were different, you need to come at it differently than if it's a real damaging issue.
An example of preferring something to be different could be this issue of watching Netflix every night. Sure, it's maybe not an ideal way of spending time with one another, but you are still spending time with one another. Know what I mean? If the other person, when dealing with a particular issue, isn't emotionally or physically causing you harm, then it's quite possible you should let it go as it's a preference. Voicing that you want to do something else sometimes is how you would address it, and leave it at that. How they react is on them. There's nothing wrong with voicing your needs. Just make sure there isn't a deeper issue at hand. Are those thoughts about your relationships being meaningless because of doing the same thing every night really true, or would you just prefer your circumstance to be different?
Many times, what we thought was this huge deal, and our lives are meaningless are just a fleeting moment. Hormones running high, stress, or not sleeping well. Sometimes they are more than that. That's why it's very important to first analyze your side of things before you go stirring the pot.
You'll be grateful you did.