We’re at the end of our Direct Communication series, and I wanted to give you a final pep talk today!
We’ve even looked at the 6 elements of direct communication:
And a bunch more (the links are at the bottom of this post).
On Friday, in our weekly email, we’ll include a quick activity that you can do with your spouse to talk about these issues and walk through direct communication.
So if you’re not on our email list, sign up!
Some quick thoughts about how to have better communication
Before we end the series, though, I want to emphasize a few things.
1. It’s so much easier to have hard conversations if you’re also relating to each other in good ways.
Yes, that means showing appreciation for your spouse. But it also means doing things together on a regular basis.
Find some hobbies to do together. Or my personal favourite: Do the high/low exercise everyday as a check-in.
What was the time you felt most in the groove today? What was the time you felt the most discouraged?
Talk this through with your husband. It helps you process your own feelings, but it also keeps you emotionally in-tune with each other. It’s then much easier to bring up things that you do need to talk about!
2. Hard conversations won’t just happen.
Have you ever waited for a good time to bring something up? Or waited for your spouse to notice that something needs to be talked about?
Part of direct communication is bringing things up when they need to be talked about, even if it can be awkward. If we wait too long, the thing often gets blown up bigger than it needs to be. And we also give time for bad habits to become ingrained.
Is there something that you need to talk about with your spouse? Make plans to tackle it. Put the kids in bed early. Don’t get on a screen tonight. Tell him earlier in the day, “I’d like to talk to you about something after the kids are in bed tonight.” Like just do it!
3. Sometimes you must insist on having those conversations.
If your spouse doesn’t want to talk about something, that doesn’t mean that you don’t talk about it. It’s okay to say,
I understand that this makes you uncomfortable and that you don’t want to talk about it. But we do need to talk about it. So if you won’t talk about it now, we will talk about it tomorrow. This is vitally important, and we are going to discuss it.
And then be firm. Remember: If your spouse is running away from intimacy, they are sowing discord in the marriage. If they are sowing discord, they do not get to reap intimacy. It’s okay to stand firm. That doesn’t mean being mean, but it may mean being firm and saying: We aren’t going back to business as usual until we talk about this/see a counselor/whatever may be appropriate.”
But hopefully none of that will be necessary–because the more you spend time together; the more you do emotional check-ins with each other; the more you talk about things directly, then the easier it will hopefully be to deal with the big things!
One last thing, and this one’s super important: just because you may need to have that conversation does not mean that it all needs to be solved at once:
4. Give your spouse time to process
Many people (especially introverts) need time to think about something before they can respond. So while you may want them to listen to you raise an issue, you can’t expect them to figure out how they think about it or what they want to do about it right away.
A reader left this thought, which is wonderful:
One suggestion I have that has been helpful in our communication, (and we went through a really rough patch of many years) is to give your spouse time to process. So, if you have something to talk about, you have been thinking about it and working it out on your own for a while and then you tell your spouse your thoughts. It’s not really fair to expect them to have a well thought out response and they may well be defensive.
We start such conversations with “I have something I want to tell you, please don’t interrupt and take time to think about it on your own. Let me know when you’re ready to talk within the next 3 days” And then make sure you follow up if they haven’t brought it up within the timeframe, but also give them the time and space to process.
Do You Have a Difficult Time Standing up to your Husband?
Some final words from you about direct communication:
The posts that got the most traction on social media were the ones this month looking at how the genders are discouraged from direct communication.
Men, you’re allowed to have emotions and share them. God made you to be emotional. And you don’t need to run away from communication. You’re allowed to listen to your wife!
And women, I’ll just leave this here:
Did you have a big takeaway from our series this month? Let me know in the comments! And remember to sign up for our emails to get the direct communication activity this week!
The Direct Communication Series
- 5 Reasons Direct Communication is Difficult
- 6 Elements of Direct Communication
- Why Direct Communication Feels Mean--and Why It's Not
- 3 Reasons Christian Resources Tell Women Direct Communication is a Sin
- 5 Reasons Christian Teaching Discourages Men from Communicating Directly
- The Direct Communication Podcast
- The Real Solution to Nagging
- 10 Tips to Talking to Your Spouse About Your Sex Life
- 10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Spouse
- How to Have that Conversation You've Been Putting Off
And please see my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, with lots on having difficult conversations and resolving conflict!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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