“Hey Hon, We
Need To Talk”
Bob and Yvonne Turnbull
(Bob) heard that statement my mind usually went to a war-time
footing, “Incoming, Incoming,” and I would sprint to the nearest closet.
Well, not quite like that but you get the idea.
With many spouses, especially the hubbies, we
absorb that question as if there is something wrong. That
may not always be true.
But in any marriage tough topics
do come up that need to be discussed. That is a
given. When it does a spouse needs to be able to
say, “Hey hon, we need to talk!”
Ignoring or running from those
tough marriage topics is self-defeating as it causes
a chasm to grow wider between the couple. To keep
that from happening you need to come together and have a talk session.
To help you with that we want to give you some
guidelines to put into action.
For Talk Session
A. Make An Agreement
The agreement is: A problem for one is a problem
for both! Since the two have become one, if one thinks
there is a problem then there is a problem. We
know some of you are thinking, " But what if I truly think the
issue brought up is not a problem?" The
spouse possibly thinking there isn’t one needs to humble themselves
before the Lord and their spouse and not let pride or ego rule on the
throne of their heart. Thoughtful words could be,
“Honey you believe that’s a problem. Well, I love
you and if you think there’s a problem then, yes, there is a problem
that affects us both so let’s talk and allow God to work through us to
solve it.” Something on that order. Let
Philippians 2:3 be your guide - "Do nothing out of selfish
ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than
yourselves." (A marital paraphrase could be "but in
humility consider your spouse better than yourself.") Keep
in mind the agreement needs to be made ahead of this, so when you face
a difficulty you can go right into the discussion based on your
B. Focus On The Problem
Focus on the problem
as a separate entity, meaning, the two of you against the problem, not
against each other. Your foundation is to be the
solid relationship you have in Christ and with each other. You
are talking to your best friend - your TeamMate - not an
adversary. Once the two of us made that agreement it changed the
way we dealt with our tough talk sessions, though there are times we
still have to remind ourselves by saying the agreement out loud.
C. Hang in there.
The problem may not be
solved in round one of a discussion, but if each knows the other wants
this to be resolved in the most honorable way possible, that gives
encouragement to the spouse who initiated the discussion.
D. Build Trust
A spouse will
trust the other in a “tough” conversation if they know the other is
consistently loving them and has a history of wanting to co-solve
problems. If one spouse “has” to win each time
regardless of the truth then, yes, there could be a major
problem in their marriage communication. And if
this continues then the next step would be professional counseling.
E. Watch What You Say
nagging and complaining turn off the ears of the listener. The
reason is it feels like an attack and when one is attacked they go on
the defense. Then the couples usually are off and running in
attack modes on each other instead of focusing on the problem.
But if you approach the
subject by first letting your spouse know what they have done right
then you can tell them what you think needs to be changed, and how, and
explain how it not being changed affects you. If you follow the
example of Ephesians 4:29 your conversation has a greater chance of
"Do not let any
unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for
building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those
who listen." (Again, a marital paraphrase could include. "for
building your spouse up according to his/her needs.")