We’ve all been told at some point in our lives to “think before we speak”. In relationships, it is very important to give proper thought before discussing certain topics. Especially if you hope to mutually agree on some type of change. Here are some serious topics that couples occasionally need to discuss, and how you can approach the topics with the degree of care that your significant other deserves.
1. More Time Together
Your Mission: To express your interest in spending more time with your partner. You used to spend tons of time together, but life has gotten in the way!
Don’t Say: “I’m very unhappy with the amount of time we spend together.”
Saying it in this way can easily be taken as offensive, and could make your partner immediately unhappy with the direction of the conversation. It is also very vague and could make your partner imagine the worst.
Do Say: “Remember when we were able to go on dates every week? I was thinking we could try to spend some more time together. I really miss that.”
This strengthens your bond as you recall your past history together and it gets your intention across clearly. Even if you are both busy and can’t squeeze much time in for fun together, your partner will likely have mutual feelings and be open to making attempts to make it happen.
2. More Time Apart
Your Mission: To tell your partner that, while you love them, you want some private time to spend out with the girls/boys.
Don’t Say: “I need some space.”
Not only can this be very rude (depending on the tone and inflection that is used), but this phrase is often said when a relationship is in critical danger. Your partner could take this to mean that you’re not happy within the relationship. It could make them feel like they aren’t providing for your emotional or physical needs. Don’t make your partner fear the worst simply because you’d like to spend more time with your family or friends, or do something that you enjoy that they don’t.
Do Say: “It’s been so long since I’ve gone out with/to [insert name/activity]. I love spending time with you, but I’d also like to dedicate some of my time to doing that. Maybe while I’m out, you can go [insert activity].”
Saying something like the above offers the opportunity to discuss the topic in a calm and approachable manner. It also indicates that you place value on the time that is spent with your partner and that you don’t simply want to escape from him. By giving him an idea of what he could do while you go off to do your own activities, there is a better chance of him understanding the reasons for your desire to spend time doing your own thing. For example, if he doesn’t spend time with his friends very often because you don’t particularly get along well with them, he could see them and enjoy himself while you do something you enjoy, elsewhere.
Your Mission: Get a low-stress discussion on finances started.
Don’t Say: “We need to talk about our finances.”
This phrase just sounds ominous! It can almost sound like you’re placing the financial blame on your partner right from the start. In this case, it could lead to defensive behavior and create a tense environment to talk about this topic. Remember, money is one of the most common reasons that people argue. By thinking carefully before approaching this topic, you will both be able to more effectively handle the tasks ahead.
Do Say: “Could you help me work on our finances?”
This simple question, when asked with respect, is a perfect lead-in for this discussion. Money can be a stressful topic, but by including yourself in the question directly, you aren’t placing blame. Instead, you are indicating that you would like the share the load. Not only that, by asking for your significant other to take part, you are demonstrating that their opinions are valuable and desired.
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