Women are more likely than men to bring up marital issues in the first place. Often when issues are brought up, the conversation is shut down quickly. Men tend to be more likely to avoid discussing difficult marriage topics.
If you bring up the subject of marital issues, how do you bring it up? What do you say and what approach do you use? It is important to look at how you broach difficult subjects. Don’t blame and accuse your partner but instead bring up your concerns. Start with “I” statements and share your feelings without blaming your partner.
Try to describe your observations in a clear manner. Instead of saying, “you never help me with the kids,” say, “I have noticed every night when it is time for the kids to take a bath, you turn on the television.” Avoid becoming judgmental.
When conversations start out calmly and non-accusatory, they often end in the same manner. Discussions that start out with yelling and screaming will most likely end with yelling and screaming. Approach your partner in a respectful manner and you’ll be more likely to receive a respectful response.
Take a look at the timing. Don’t bring up an important issue when you won’t have time to discuss it. Try to find a time when your partner is going to be able to have time. Bringing up major problems just as your partner walks in the door or when he’s trying to sleep isn’t likely going to get good results.
Examine how you respond when your partner brings up tough issues. Do you accept feedback? Are you open to suggestions? Or do you immediately get angry and defensive? It is important to be able to hear what your partner has to say.
Check in with your partner periodically to see how things are going. Even if you think the marriage is going well, ask your partner. Inquire about what you could do to be a better partner. Ask what would make the marriage even better.
Give your partner feedback about what you think is going well also. Share your appreciation and provide positive feedback even more frequently than you share negative feedback. Providing positive feedback can increase the likelihood that your partner will be more willing to hear negative feedback as well.