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3 Tips for Difficult Conversations

No one sets out to be disconnected in their marriage. However, we can easily end up there when we allow hurts and misunderstandings to remain unresolved. One of the most challenging things to do in any relationship is to move toward the other person when we’re hurting. However, the longer we allow fear and pain to fill the space between us, the more disconnected we’ll become. The only way to reverse course on disconnection is to bravely initiate a vulnerable conversation and invite the other person to reconnect.

1. Change your goal from distance to connection.

When we have gotten really good at keeping a safe distance from each other, it is hard to imagine being in a loving relationship again. Having a conversation starts with identifying the goal of your marriage. Is it to keep a safe distance from each other, or is it to share meaningful connection and intimacy? When you change goals from distance to connection, it means dropping any cases you’ve been building against the other person, repenting for how you’ve allowed disconnection to happen, and letting the other person know you are putting your connection first.

2. Stop engaging in disrespectful conversation.

Disrespectful conversations often start to show up when there’s disconnection, and will only cause disconnection to increase. One of the classic signs of a disrespectful conversation is that both people sound like, “You, you, you.” If you’re talking about the other person instead of being vulnerable about your thoughts, feelings, and needs, then check yourself and adjust. Refuse to participate in any disrespectful exchanges.

3. Own and address your fear before having the conversation.

Taking some time to process what we’re feeling and identifying why we feel scared can actually help to lower our anxiety, and lowering anxiety is essential to bringing our best selves to a conversation. When our brain is jacked up with anxiety, our ability to think, communicate, and make rational choices is limited. Identifying what we’re feeling not only helps us think; it gives us the really good information we need to share with the other person about what is happening inside of us. It also prepares us to listen to hear what is going on inside the other person without anger, blame, threats, withdrawing, or any form of anxiety-producing actions or emotions.

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