Ever have an awkward conversation that you just know you have to have with your husband–but you don’t know where to start?
Today’s Wednesday, the day we always talk marriage! And today Samantha Hanni is joining us to talk about how she broached an awkward topic with HER husband.
Remember: it’s better to have these conversations, even if they’re awkward, then to ignore important issues! If there’s something you need to talk about, or you need to confront your husband about, don’t shy away from it. Yes, it’s awkward and difficult. But your marriage is worth it.
Here’s Samantha–and I love how REAL her advice is:
The rumor mill was churning a few weeks ago as news outlets picked up chatter about another potential candidate for the U.S. presidency. The man in question was David French, a constitutional lawyer and decorated Iraqi veteran from Tennessee. He has since declined to run, but the chatter and controversy surrounding this potential candidate were more than intriguing.
One side story caught the eye of my husband.
David and his wife Nancy, acting as faithful and committed husband and wives do, agreed to some rules and boundaries before French deployed for his tour in Iraq. Nancy wouldn’t be active on Facebook, neither of them would drink, and striking up intimate conversations with the opposite sex would be avoided.
Most people would read that and think, “Very smart. They are guarding their marriage- what an example!”
Of course, that’s not how some of the media sees it.
Pundits implied that French was acting in an unreasonable, controlling manner, as if there was no mutual consent to the guarding of a precious commodity like a marriage.
As my husband was reading this story out loud, I thought to myself, “Hmm we haven’t revisited this topic in a while. Might be a good idea just as a tune-up.”
I broached the topic on the way home and like ripping off a Band-Aid, there’s never any easy way into this type of conversation. You have to dive right in.
As we all know, part of being an adult is having the courage to own those awkward and tough conversations.
I mentor and teach teens through church, and I always encourage them in their dating relationships to be intentional with their conversations, especially when it comes to boundaries and expectations. My husband and I had a lot of success with that when we were dating, but guess what? That pattern has to continue in marriage. Tough topics have to be reexamined, tinkered with and tuned-up.
So what are some ways you can navigate those tough conversations, be it about boundaries, finances, kids or family drama?
1. Explain Your Intentions
I took the time to explain to my husband that I didn’t want to put him on the defensive, but to ensure that all these topics were open for discussion. I was not trying to attack him, but essentially bring him closer by working through this talk. That attitude resonated with him, and we addressed some changes to make with our phone usage in the evening and thoughts on email correspondence.
I love how Emmerson Eggerichs puts it in Chapter 10 of Love and Respect,
As a husband you must understand that those feelings of being interrogated and thinking your wife is snooping or asking a lot of unnecessary questions are going to come over you. It will happen, and you must stop yourself before you get upset. Think about why your wife is doing this. She wants to keep things up-to-date. She’s moving toward you because she loves you – you matter to her!
These words ring so true. Through taking time to explain my intentions, my husband was able to receive what I was saying, and I didn’t feel pushed aside or disregarded by his reactions.
2. Think Bite-Sized Talks
Small conversations build bridges for the future. Small conversations build trust, encourage openness, and strengthen the bonds between husband and wife. The car conversation my husband and I had the other day lasted only a few minutes, but we gained greater understanding on how we are wired and refocused us on the importance of attending to the details in our marriage. Sure, some conversations require more in-depth attention, but more often than not, those small talks pave the way for when there are canyons and rivers to cross on down the road. If you and your spouse rarely circle back to these topics, if you never even had the conversations to begin with, then it will be much tougher to walk through when problems do arise.
3. Don’t Expect Talk-Show Flow
Pauses. Tension. Unveiling of hurts from the past and frustrations with the present. Recognizing where changes need to be made. This is not the trademark of the easy banter between talk show hosts and interviewee. What are your expectations when you have these types of conversations? Maybe it’s just me, but I want our words to flow, I want it to feel natural, I want it to feel conflict-free.
That’s not reasonable. Like, at all.
Just like French described his conversation with his wife, he described it as “painfully honest.” A good thing, but not a comfortable thing. Sometimes I think we confuse the two. Be patient when your spouse pauses to collect their thoughts, speak low and kindly, but don’t give up because it’s not as fun as discussing dinner plans (who am I kidding, that decision is like pulling teeth).
Whatever you are walking through in your marriage, whether you are a newlywed, or you’ve been around the block a few times, I hope you will be encouraged to attend to the details in your marriage and have the courage to dive into those less-than-comfortable topics. It will be worth it in the end.
SAMANTHA HANNI is a freelance writer and editor from Oklahoma. She is the author of “Change the Conversation: Teens, Dating, and the Church,” available for purchase from the Amazon Kindle Store. She is also published in “Big Dreams from Small Spaces,” by Group Publishing. Her other work has been featured on Devotional Diva and in the OCHEC Informer. She blogs at mrshanni.com. Samantha and her husband Kurtis live in Oklahoma City.
How do you handle awkward conversations with your husband? Do you avoid them, or do you jump right in, pauses and tension and all? Let’s talk in the comments!