Though it may be uncomfortable, it’s essential for a happy marriage or committed partnership to have candid discussions about challenging topics. The relationship will suffer if you choose to avoid having those difficult conversations. That’s why it’s so important to have the skill of having unpleasant conversations with your partner. Maintaining open lines of communication is essential for any kind of lasting relationship, yet it can be challenging to broach touchy subjects. You and your partner will need to have an honest discussion occasionally. However, if not handled properly, these discussions can soon become passionate, emotional, and counterproductive.

Unpleasant conversations with your partner

Anything from money and chores to parenting and religious differences might make for a tense discussion. It’s important to approach any conversation with a partner in a way that shows consideration for their sentiments while still getting your point across. My experience as a life coach has shown me that many couples have trouble having meaningful conversations about contentious topics without getting into an argument. Emotions are distracting and might cause you to lose focus. With the correct approach and resources, though, you can learn to have those tough talks and strengthen your marriage.

Here are some advice from a life coach on how to successfully have tough talks or ‘unpleasant conversations with your partner’.

Pick the Appropriate Occasion and Location

The first step in having a fruitful discussion is picking an appropriate setting. Try to avoid having arguments when you or your partner is feeling particularly tired, hungry, or worried. Instead, choose a moment when you and your partner can sit down and discuss without feeling rushed. Also, choose somewhere private and peaceful where you won’t be interrupted while you’re having a conversation. By creating an inviting space, you can facilitate a more positive exchange of ideas. It’s possible you may ask your companion, “Is now a good time to discuss this issue with you?” Don’t force it if it’s not right. Instead, let’s schedule something for later.

Take an Empathetic Approach to the Discussion

Empathy is a crucial ingredient for any fruitful communication. Try imagining the world through your partner’s point of view. It’s much more probable that you’ll have a fruitful dialogue rather than an argument if you go into it with empathy. Consider your significant other’s psychological and emotional requirements. Is there anything you can do to make your spouse feel like they come first in order to get them to open up to you and talk about how to solve this problem? Remember that “emotions serve as the gasoline that propels us to action”. If you want to know how your conversation partner is feeling, ask them.

Statements Beginning with “I”

Using “you” phrases is a common pitfall in tense interactions between partners. This can put your partner on the defensive and lead to blaming and further arguing. Avoid using passive voice by replacing it with “I” statements to convey your emotions. As an alternative to stating things like, “You never help with the chores,” you could try saying something like, “I feel overwhelmed when I have to do all the chores by myself.” You can be honest about how you feel without directly criticising your partner.

To Hear Is to Understand; Not to Hear Is to React

In any conversation, listening is the most crucial step. But in the midst of a challenging conversation, we often listen to reply rather than listen to comprehend. Misunderstandings and tensions may result. Instead, work on active listening by focusing on what your partner is saying, asking questions to help you both understand, and paraphrasing back what you think they said. This demonstrates to your partner that you value their opinion and are making an effort to see things from their point of view. Wait at least three minutes to respond to what is being said. Show your conversational partner that you are paying attention by nodding your head and saying “uh huh” (You must refrain from checking your phone for the next few minutes.) Then, and only then, is it appropriate to make your case.

Never Mind the Person, Think About the Problem

Focus on the problem, not the person, when conducting a tough talk. Stay away from personal attacks. Instead, you should zero in on the specific action or circumstance that is triggering the issue. As an alternative to “You’re lazy,” you could add, “I feel frustrated when the house is always messy.” You can bring up the topic without making your partner feel attacked.

Explore Alternative Methods of Problem Solving

The point of every tough conversation should be to arrive at a mutually beneficial resolution. Focus on finding a solution that satisfies both of your requirements rather than trying to win the argument or prove your point. Use your collective intelligence and willingness to compromise to come up with original answers.

I once read of a married couple who were quite content to maintain two different households. Like many other couples, they attempted to move in together. They considered getting a puppy together, but ultimately decided to keep their canines apart because of how incompatible they were. They realised that living apart was beneficial to their relationship because they didn’t have to bother each other with mundane household chores. Since they didn’t see each other very often, it helped keep their relationship exciting and interesting. Granted, not everyone can benefit from such a drastic measure, but neither should you let the customary, unwritten standards (such as, married couples must live together) govern your life and your marriage or partnership. Some people may be confused, but it could make you happy.

Together, you can find an answer that works for everyone involved. However, there are some topics on which you and your partner should agree to disagree.