How do you insure both the little things and the large ticket items are discussed. Isn’t it easy to let the minor irritations slide for the sake of keeping peace? Well, that does work temporarily but over time resentment grows. Too bad there isn’t a flow chart showing us if resentment has taken root?
Having mentored dozens of couples we find men typically brush the little things under the rug. It doesn’t seem worth upsetting the relationship. If this is true and be honest men, do you not share things with your wife because it doesn’t feel emotionally safe? And wives, if your husband agrees with this last statement it’s your job to create an environment where he can open up to you without you getting defensive. If not, eventually he will grow distant.
1. Review Schedule for Upcoming Week
Besides the obvious value of ensuring we are communicating well about our schedule, it allows us to know important meetings coming up for the week that we can pray about for each other. Danielle does a wonderful job of sending a text before a big meeting that she is praying for me. She makes a note during our weekly check-in about these meetings. It is amazing how much peace it gives me when I get her texts that she is praying.
2. Discuss Hopes and Dreams
3. Provide an emotionally safe environment to discuss how each other has hurt, frustrated, embarrassed, angered each other the past week.
- Pray out loud together for God to help you both provide an emotionally safe environment for each other by not getting flooded and defensive.
- Ask your spouse, “What have I done this week that has hurt, frustrated, embarrassed or angered you?
- Validate their feelings – When they answer, the tendency is to get defensive. Instead, say “I am sorry that my action/response hurt/frustrated/embarrassed/angered you. I love you and would not intentionally hurt you”. Make sure your tone and body language are compassionate and not defensive. Their feelings are real even though you might think they are not justified.
- Ask curious questions and really listen.
- Next ask what your spouse wished you would have done differently.
- Either say I will work hard to do that next time. If you feel it will be difficult to do that next time, suggest an alternative. The key is jointly coming up with a solution.
- After the husband finishes this process, then the wife starts the process.
Remember this process takes time to get good at and can be hard the first few times. Be patient and persistent. The reward is you will actually feel closer afterward if done with compassion and issues will not build on each other over time.
4. Finish with discussing what your spouse did well the past week.
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