A few weeks ago, my husband and I took advantage of some free babysitting. (Thanks, Mom!) We went out to dinner and while we waited for our meals, we began talking about a recent struggle in our family, one that I’d published articles about but that we’d never actually discussed as a couple. The more we talked, we realized we had a lot to talk about! We found ourselves wondering how we talk every night but still have so much left unsaid.
Sure, we talk about our day, about work and school, and briefly outline the day to come. But those are not the topics that solidify a marriage, and couples need to find the time to go deeper. If you need to learn how to communicate better with your husband, here are 5 tips for bringing up the tough stuff.
1. Schedule time for kid-free conversation every week.
Learning how to communicate better with your husband about difficult topics starts with showing that the conversation is a priority. My husband and I set aside 15 minutes every night to have some child-free talk. A regular night away from the kids is ideal, but that’s not always realistic, so it’s important that you put this conversation time on the calendar and treat it like a regular appointment.
2. Write it all out first.
For some people, thinking about a topic is enough. For others like myself, journaling is a must before having any deeper conversation. Writing everything out allows me to process my feelings in peace and quiet. If you get flustered easily when talking about the hard stuff, take the time to write how you feel beforehand. This process can also stop your husband from shutting down when you need to talk.
3. Make yourself vulnerable.
Before my husband and I got married, someone told me a great tip for how to communicate better with your husband when the topic is difficult. She told me to talk while you’re in the shower together. Being vulnerable physically often helps couples to be vulnerable with each other emotionally and spiritually. So try taking a shower together if you need to talk about something difficult, or wait until after you’ve had sex. Vulnerability exposes you in more ways than one.
4. Know each other’s preferred style of communication.
If you are conflict-averse, try having a tough discussion in the car. That’s where my husband and I have our best conversations. With the forward-facing position, the gentle roll of the car beneath us, and the distraction of driving, car conversations satisfy both of our preferences for conversation. Find out what makes your husband most comfortable and use that knowledge to create a safe space for both of you.
5. Give your husband space to process.
Some people, especially introverts, need time to think through things alone before talking about them as a couple. They’re more likely to make rash decisions when they haven’t been given the chance to think through the consequences of their choices in peace. Sometimes distance can actually be a good thing—as long as it’s temporary. If you’ve brought up an issue, agree on a time you’re going to come back together to talk it out.
What do you think is your greatest challenge to having deep conversations with your husband?