Why does it seem that every happy couple you come across says that the secret to their relationship is good communication? As someone who has been married for many years, I have to agree. You cannot have a successful relationship without being courageous in your communication and talking about difficult things.
Make no mistake, once you pass the honeymoon phase, you will have your very first “difficult conversation”. Maybe it will be about money, other family members, or even the kids. There are a few key tips for having a healthy and grounded conversation to keep in mind when navigating difficult conversations in relationships.
Put yourself in your partner’s shoes
Imagine for a minute that your partner was the one bringing this topic up to you. How would you feel? Use this feeling as a framework when approaching the subject. You must cultivate a sense of empathy when having these difficult conversations in relationships. You might think it is not such a big deal, but your partner might think otherwise.
Decide on a special time to have the conversation
The chances of having a calm, grounded conversation while cleaning up after dinner are less likely to happen than if you have decided on when to have the conversation. You want to ask your partner if you can have a conversation sometime and when would be best for them. This is so you get your partner’s full, undivided attention. You will also catch them when they are ready to listen and not distracted by whatever they are doing.
Try to calm your emotions
Before you enter the conversation, do whatever it takes to calm your emotions so you have a clear view of the issue. Do the things that calm you most before having difficult conversations in relationships. Go for a walk outside, meditate, and do what you need to keep heavy emotions at bay.
Reflect on what your partner says back
Many psychologists talk about the concept of mirroring and active listening and how it is crucial when having difficult conversations in relationships. When your partner is responding to you or making a statement, repeat what they said back to them. Try, “So you’re saying that you feel ignored and like you don’t matter?”. This will help you understand where your partner is coming from and confirm to them that you are listening when they talk.
Hire a couple’s therapist
Sometimes you need a helping hand in navigating difficult conversations in relationships. You might ask a friend, family member, or a certified counselor to supervise the conversation and make sure both parties are getting the most out of it.
Difficult topics will come up, but it does not need to be so scary. When you learn to communicate in this high-level way, you will see your relationships transform, and you and your spouse will be one of those happy couples with the secret to happiness.