Talking about difficult relationship issues (Photo byunsplash.com/@jentheodore)

Sometimes it can be helpful to ‘plant a seed’ or to talk about a particular issue in short bursts over several days rather than all at once.
Remember that the aim is to increase understanding of each other (not to be right!) —what upsets us; what supports us; what we can do differently or improve on the next time.
Research has found that 85% of husbands (& some female partners) flood—that is become overwhelmed by stress—during a difficult conversation with their wive & take a long time to calm down/ recover.
One way to avoid this happening is to raise a topic & then let it be. Rome wasn’t built in a day— you don’t have to sort everything today!
Here is an example of planting a seed: I was in the garden & said to my husband “I don’t really like that bench there because of (this & that). I would sit on it more if it were somewhere else.”It is only a small garden & I didn’t really know where I would like it better, so I left it at that and went off and did something else.

My husband didn’t reply he just listened.

Notice what I didn’t say:
I didn’t say, “Why did you put it here- it doesn’t make sense here!”(critical + ‘you’ statement).

I didn’t say, ” You shouldn’t have put it there” (blaming/you statement).

I didn’t say,  “You are always doing things like this“ (bringing up the past/ other things).

A few weeks went by and I didn’t raise it again. One day I noticed that the bench had been moved. “You moved the bench,” I said. “Yes,” he said. ” I thought it might be better here”.

Obviously this was a minor issue & big things can be more difficult to address.

Sometimes I find it helpful to talk about a particular issue in short bursts over several days.

To do this, again use ‘I statements’ + ‘an emotion’ for example, ” I am still feeling upset about our argument yesterday”.

Related to this, it is a myth that issues have to be resolved before bed time. It was found that many couples in happy long-term relationships prefer to sleep with difficulties unresolved.

See more about how to talk about difficult issues here.

About the Author

Brainheart Coaching: Improving relationships one step at a time!:)

Ann Marie Taylor is a  Human Givens Psychotherapist specialising in relationships & the author of 5 Steps to Lasting Love: an evidence-based guide. She is based just outside Greystones, in County Wicklow, Ireland (sessions now available online & by phone). To book an appointment you can text or call me on: 0863549969 or, if you prefer, email me through the contact form on my website here.