Having Serious Talks
Daily married life is often light and playful. There are jokes, stories, and general bonding. There will be also times in your marriage when you’ll need to have a serious conversation with your wife. It’s important that the weight of these conversations are well known while you’re having them.
It can be hard for Alison and I to keep a straight face during any serious conversation. We’re typically joking around and laughing, so transitioning to a serious setting can be a challenge. Early in our marriage, I didn’t know how to make that transition, so naturally I did it poorly. As time has gone on, I’ve gotten more skilled by using a few techniques.
Starting the conversation can prove to be the most difficult. If you’re initiating the talk, decide how to best broach the subject. If it’s a particularly unpleasant subject, getting started on the right foot is really important. This is going to be a conversation, but it’s different from your normal communication. You’re seeking some end, some result that you feel is necessary. It might be best to use the “sandwich” method. Start with something positive, meet the challenge head-on, and then finish with something positive.
The location of a conversation communicates a lot about its content. If you try to talk about a serious matter in the middle of a busy restaurant, you’re putting yourself and your wife at a disadvantage. This topic deserves your full attention and those 90 HDTVs aren’t helping. Choose someplace private, quiet, and where you can both be sitting. As humans, we communicate more nonverbally than verbally. The location can help add to the quality of conversation.
Be clear about the resolution you seek. The conversation will end, and when you get to that point, what would you like to have accomplished? Some subjects will require multiple discussions. That’s fine, but make sure that both you and your wife understand where you need to end today. Otherwise you might both leave the discussion disappointed or angry.
All marriages have difficult and serious talks that need to be had. When you get to one, give it the time, attention, and maturity that it deserves.