5 STEPS TO TACKLE YOUR BIGGEST MARRIAGE ISSUES
My eyes closed, I took a deep breath, and my heart was beating so fast I could see my shirt moving. Sweat was dripping across my brow as I began to wipe my hands dry on my pant legs.
Everything started to move in slow motion as I approached my wife, Alisa, to tell her how I’d failed as a husband.
What I was about to share was going to be big news to her.
This wasn’t the “your clothes on the floor are bugging me” bit, but news that could rock our marriage.
How had it come to this that I’m scared to talk to my wife?
I looked at those beautiful brown eyes I fell in love with so many years ago.
What happened since then?
What happened to the long talks, the openness, the sharing of our future together and dreams?
Those conversations were long gone.
I missed them and the emotional intimacy we once shared.
Our conversations over time had become short, superficial, and only scratching the surface. We moved around each other only talking about our newborn son, the weather, work, and activities we were attending.
Our marriage was dying a slow death due to the short curt conversations we have with one another.
I walked through our garage door, turned into our living room and there I saw Alisa resting from the long day with our son. It was now or never and I opened my mouth.
“We need to talk”, I said.
“About what?”, said Alisa.
It’s at this point that I knew what I didn’t want to do.
I didn’t want to dump everything right there on her. If the past was any indication of what would happen, it wasn’t good.
“I have a problem with pornography, but instead of us going at this right now I want to give you some time to process this and talk tomorrow.”
“Why not now? Tell me what’s going on Tony!”
This Was One of the Most Intense Moments in Our Marriage.
The hurt and pain I caused the woman I loved so much rocked me to my core.
Alisa was agitated, hurt, and fishing for answers, but respected my decision to sit on the very little she knew so that we could dig deep into this issue the following day.
You might find this odd to bring something up and then not talk about it at that moment.
It’s something that we had never done before this time. Every time there was an issue in our marriage we would blurt out our problem and then World War 3 would be on.
You know what I’m talking about.
When this happens one of you is on the offensive and the other on the defensive.
Both of you trying to be heard. Talking over each other. Punishing each other with your words.
In the end neither of you win. You build bigger walls, put on more masks, and lock down your hearts so that you can’t be hurt again.
Living a fulfilling marriage means that you and your spouse have to connect emotionally.
What came from this first experience has become a commonplace in our marriage now.
If you have looming topics in your marriage that need to be discussed, you may want to have what we call a “State Of Our Marriage Talk.” This process has five simple steps that will help you tackle your biggest marriage issues. Even the ones that feel like they may threaten your marriage (like my addiction to pornagraphy).
STATE OF OUR MARRIAGE TALK: 5 Steps To Tackling Your Biggest Marriage Issues
#1 DETERMINE WHAT YOU’LL TALK ABOUT
There may be many areas you need to address, but just start with just one.
- Physical or Sexual Intimacy
- Spiritual (Praying, reading the bible together)
- Emotional Connection
- Recreations Activities
No more pushing the issues aside.
This is a time during which you come together and instead of being superficial, challenge yourself to ask questions that cannot be answered with a “Yes” or “No”.
Instead of asking “Are you happy in our marriage?”, try asking questions like:
- If our marriage was a sport which sport would it be? Why?
- Name 3 activities that re-energize you?
- What blessing have we seen in our marriage?
LET THE CLOCK DETERMINE WHO TALKS
An effective State of Our Marriage talk requires each of you to listen as much as you talk. This can be hard as there tends to be a dominant talker and one who will listen without saying anything.
To overcome this you’ll need:
- Pencil, Pen, or similar item.
Each of you will have 5 minutes each to share while the other listens.
After 5 minutes you switch.
Do this 1-3 times and then open it up for another 5 minutes for the both of you to discuss.
We recommend keeping this process between 20-40 minutes long.
Much longer and it can be hard to stay focused.
If more time is needed agree to come back the following day after sleep, prayer, and time to process.
HOW TO CARVE OUT TIME ON JAM PACKED CALENDARS
Grab your calendars.
Electronic, paper or on the wall you both need to write this time down.
This is important for your marriage and you may need to move some appointments around to get your State of Our Marriage talk in as soon as you can.
Once it is on both of your calendars stick to it.
Don’t make an excuse or cancel on your spouse. You wouldn’t do that for a doctor’s appointment so don’t do it to your spouse.
If more than one State of Our Marriage is needed put that on the calendar as well.
We know one couple who has a standing State of Our Marriage talk each week for 30 minutes. They go over the area that needs the most attention during this time.
Consider setting a weekly time you two can always come together and have a State Of Our Marriage talk.
WHERE TO HAVE YOUR TALK
It is important that you find a place that is distraction free for the both of you.
These can be, but are not limited to:
- Living Room
- On a Walk
- Coffee Shop
- On a Drive
Once you choose where you want to talk make it a point that all electronics are turned off so you are not distracted.
This place should also be a kid free zone so that you can talk openly and honestly.
WHY THESE TALKS ARE CRUCIAL FOR A HEALTHY MARRIAGE
When was the last time you had a conversation where both of you talked and opened up?
Really think about this for a few minutes.
We’re talking about the kind of talk that afterwards the both of you walk away with the sense that you were heard and your spouse was heard too.
Has been a long time?
If your marriage is like ours or the many couples we interact with on a daily basis you tend to stick to the surface stuff.
Your days are filled with lots of things that you have to do or want to do such as kids activities, church, meetings, coaching, working out, etc.
You get uncomfortable when you have to talk to your spouse about deeper issues, sexual pleasures, or your dreams and goals.
The thing is that when you stretch yourselves and begin to really dig deep and communicate with each other the impact it has on your marriage is out of this world.
Right now, take time this week to set up a State of Our Marriage conversation on one topic or issue that has been weighing on your marriage.
If coming together with your spouse to tackle the bigger elements in your marriage feels a bit overwhelming right now (or you’re worried your spouse won’t be on board), we have another way you can start reconnecting.
The great thing is, only one partner needs to put forth the effort for your marriage to start seeing results — YOU!
This is an amazing way to begin rebuilding your connection one tiny step at a time so eventually you can tackle the larger looming areas with a State Of Our Marriage talk.
For more advice on how to strengthen your communication check out He Zigs, She Zags: Get Your Communication on the Same Path today!
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