The One On: 4 Steps On How To Have A Conversation That Feels ‘Scary’
There are 4 things happening in a conversation between 2 people:
- What a person says
- What they actually mean
- What the other person hears
- What the other person makes it mean
Can you see how easy it is to mis-communicate? Especially in a marriage where there is the potential to have many conversations?
Some conversations feel “scary” to have in a marriage. You may be afraid of your husband’s reaction, or you are someone who avoids confrontation and contention. Maybe it feels scary because you may not want to hear what the other person is really feeling about something.
Why bother having a conversation if we know it won’t lead to the result that we want? The answer is: true connection in a marriage comes from a real, authentic place. It is sharing how we really feel and not holding it in. When we just comply, avoid, or react in conversations, then we build resentment- which is the biggest reason for disconnection in a marriage.
Here are 4 steps to ask yourself BEFORE you have a real conversation with your spouse:
1- Why do I want to have this conversation? If your answer has anything to do with an agenda- to change, fix, have him feel sorry, or for him to say something to you, then you may not be ready to have the conversation. The only reason to have a conversation is for you to feel more connected to him and to be true to yourself. Connection comes from being vulnerable and real. Otherwise we are just playing games and trying to control how the other person feels so we can feel better in our marriages- which we all know never ends up working.
2- What do I expect to happen after this conversation? You have no control over how a person is going to react (what they are going to make it mean to them). They may or may not change from what we tell them- don’t expect them too. This is when we get ourselves into a lot of pain. The only thing you can expect is that you showed up for yourself and shared what was true. Some of these things can sound like: I just want you to know that I have been feeling this way.. or I would love it if you could… You could put in a request, but don’t expect them to comply. It is letting them know how you feel and not holding it in.
3- How am I feeling right now to have this conversation? How many times do you just want to talk about something immediately because you are upset, offended, hurt etc? You are hoping to get it all out so you can feel better. I promise you that when you begin a conversation from a place of anger, resentment (stuff you have been holding in), defense- you will not represent your best self in the conversation. You may say things you will regret. Work through your feelings first. Write them on paper and get it all out- (don’t hold back). Then get to a place of love, peace, curiosity, calm, and being open. You will feel completely different if you approach a conversation from this place.
4- What is my plan? Think about the things that you want to share. It is better to begin the conversation with the facts and be specific. For example- Yesterday, you said this to the kids about the church. They came and asked me about it. I was hoping that we could discuss these things before you talked to them. Start with the facts, then lead into your feelings about it. Remember, there is no agenda behind sharing how you feel- he may or may not decide to discuss things before he talks to the kids. But you are calmly sharing how you feel so that you don’t build resentment. The best is to even approach the conversation with curiosity, really trying to understand where your husband was coming from. Then give them the space to share how they really feel.
So simple, right? I wish. Like everything else in our lives, this too takes practice. Doing these 4 steps will help bring so much more peace into your relationship. Not only for your marriage but with yourself. It is getting your own back and bringing love into the home.
I can help walk you through these 4 steps with your specific situation. Sign-up for a free session so you can have the confidence in approaching a ‘scary’ conversation. Click the link below!