Difficult conversations are part of marriage

Having tough conversations is somewhat upsetting but are part of any marriage.

What you need to know:

  • Oftentimes, spouses avoid having conversations that put them in bad light. As such, a partner will prefer to hide something that hurts them under the rug.

Marriage has several learning curves and sometimes, the ground gets soggy. That is when difficult conversations arise. You may call them the ‘must-have’ conversations and no matter how tough one may be, no one looks forward to these talks. Some of the issues that these emanate from include religion/faith, finances, and parenting.
Jascent Kisekka, relationship counsellor says these areas are quite tricky because they create a bedrock for the marriage. “That is why avoiding them will greatly damage the relationship. It could make the two of you bitter and the more the issues are swept under the rug, the more difficult they get to tackle with time,” she says.  

Why you must have these conversations
For a peaceful marriage: Inasmuch as these conversations will make the two of you angry, get you hurt or cause either of you to get their guard up, Kisekka says they help iron out pertinent issues. “If the issue is how you handle your finances, leaving it unresolved will turn one party into a bitter person. For instance, if one person’s spending habits are causing lack in the family, talking about it, irrespective of the pain the conversation will cause helps the aggrieved party get a heavy weight off their chest. “It also helps their partner understand they are hurting them and  makes room for improvement rather than having outbursts from the aggrieved party which does not solve anything but sustains tension,” she says.

Shows care: It is very easy for people to skirt around an issue that hurts them for the sake of not ruffling feathers. That a partner is willing to talk about a sticky issue shows they care about the other party and the marriage. “Keeping quiet about a painful issue means they do not care enough about the other party. That is because, at one point, they will not be able to take it and thus react in a manner that destroys the marriage. Being ready to talk about even the tricky issues means you want to ensure you and your partner have a beautiful marriage and you will stop at nothing to tackle any ingredient for disaster,” Joseph Kawuuma, a relationship counsellor shares.

Good mental health: Failure to address such issues causes tension and resentment between a couple. “When ‘must-have’ conversations are put off for later, with time, the aggrieved party could become resentful. Additionally, the issues get worse making it even harder to broach. That will eventually affect the mental health of the couple because tension and anxiety keeps building up,” Kawuuma says.
Builds trust:  Sticky issues will raise tempers as well as cause one to build walls. That may make one want to hold back. However, pretending that all is fine only causes strain. “When these issues are talked about, if your spouse’s heart is the relationship, they will appreciate your honesty and feel indebted to make things work. Ultimately, they will feel safer with you because they know that they are no skeletons in the closet for them to deal with. Trust is very crucial for any relationship to thrive and speaking out truthfully helps in building and sustaining it,” Kisekka shares.

Broaching the topic 
These conversations are not easy, therefore, to get good results have this in mind: 
Mind-set: Your mind-set as you get into this conversation is important because if you expect your spouse to be difficult to talk to, so shall it be. “In no way should you either be sure all will go smoothly or that they will simply shut you up. Having one sided expectations may set you up for disappointment. However, having the hope that they will hear you out will give you impetus to even make a move,” Kisekka shares.

Motivation: With your mind-set in a good place, your motivation for having the call is also worth looking into. For instance, do you want to have this conversation to better your spouse or to shame them? “That is communicated in the tone you use. If it is accusatory, the other party will feel attacked and become defensive. However, if you show your concern as well as your willingness to walk the journey with them, they will easily open up,”  says Kawuuma. 

let their guard down and become more open,” Kawuuma shares.
Appreciate that it is not easy: Inasmuch as all the above are all good, such conversations are never easy. The earlier you appreciate that, the better. “With that, you will be ready to be patient, kind, and willing to listen to all the complaining yet firm enough to stick it out. If you are easily swayed, chances are your spouse will make you feel that having that conversation was a wrong idea causing you never to travel that road in future,” Kawuuma shares.
Kawuuma says one must appreciate the intricacy of the matter. “That way, you will willingly be patient, kind, and listen to all the complaining. Otherwise, your spouse may make you feel that having the conversation was a wrong idea causing you back off, ” he says.

Kisekka says how you start the chat is very important as it can make or break it. Therefore, avoid phrases such as, “we have to talk” as that sounds as an attack  which causes one to have their guard up. “Get to the point, stay on course and keep the conversation simple.”