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Are you having marriage problems and it’s time to communicate?

Suddenly you want to hide. Or do the dishes. Anything but face those relationship troubles. Clarity in your marriage communication starts with knowing precisely what you want.

When it’s time to make decisions with your spouse—about dinner, or vacations, or how to spend money—do you get anxious and find yourself looking at your toes? Or putting off a conversation because you worry you won’t agree?

These nerves about communicating in your marriage are normal. But if you don’t communicate, your relationship will suffer.

This blog about marriage communication will help you:

  • identify your fears and desires.
  • communicate with clarity in your relationship.

When you aren’t clear, you don’t ask cleanly and your marriage communication suffers.

When fear is running the show, you hide and can’t ask for what you want with clarity. Clarity in your marriage communication depends first on knowing yourself.
Until you get your fear in check, it will confuse you and you won’t ask cleanly. Let’s look at an example:

You want to spend vacation with your family.
You have a hunch your spouse would rather take a vacation to the beach.
So you ask, “What do you want to do during the holidays?”

Your spouse, who doesn’t know about your desire to visit family, says, “I’d love to go surfing in Mexico. Doesn’t that sound exciting?”

You’re sad because you’ve had a communication breakdown. You fear you’ll forever have to choose between your spouse and your family of origin. You decide your marriage is doomed and you’re headed for divorce.

Use this formula to guide your marriage communication

Sound familiar? You feel rejected, but you didn’t communicate clearly. You think you made a clean ask by inquiring what your spouse wanted to do for the holidays, but you didn’t. You didn’t ask cleanly and clearly. The communication breakdown happened all inside your head.

You didn’t communicate clearly with a clean ask because you kept vital information hidden from your spouse. You didn’t communicate your desire to visit family. And, when your spouse didn’t suggest that the two of you visit your family, you felt disappointed.

This isn’t fair to your spouse. If you want to have good communication in your marriage, it is vital that you talk about what you want and what you fear. You need to let your spouse know that you want to visit family and that you’re afraid your spouse won’t want to join you.

This vulnerability—talking about your fear and what your heart most desires—feels so scary that even when you think you’re asking clearly, you’re not. Fear hides our desire in an attempt to protect us. Fear makes clarity in your marriage communication challenging.

Try this:

Employ this formula to communicate clearly in your relationship:
Overcome fear to get clear so you can make a clean ask.

To communicate clearly, you first need to know what you want and what you fear.
List all the reasons you’re afraid.
List all the things you want.
Then combine a fear and a desire to arrive at a clean ask.

Example:
List all the reasons you’re afraid:

  • I’m afraid my spouse won’t want to visit my family.
  • I’m afraid that if I want to spend time with my family, I’ll have to choose between my spouse and my family.
  • I’m afraid my spouse won’t enjoy my family.
  • I’m afraid my spouse likes surfing more than sitting at the table frosting cookies with my siblings.

List all the things you want:

  • I want to visit my family during the holidays.
  • I want to spend the holidays with my spouse AND my family
  • I want my spouse to enjoy my family as much as I do.
  • I want my spouse to enjoy simple things like sitting at the table frosting cookies as much as my spouse enjoys adventures like surfing.

Once you have your two lists, combine a fear and a desire to arrive at the clean ask that will foster good communication in your relationship.

Try this:

For one week think only about your fears and desires. Get really clear by listing them all.

Imagine yourself using this formula to communicate clearly in your relationship:
Overcome fear to get clear so you can make a clean ask.

But don’t ask out loud. Just spend your energy getting super clear about your fears and desires.

Next time I’ll offer you a way to protect your fears and desires so they don’t make a sneak attack on your marriage communication.

This essay is part of a 4-part series:

Improve your marriage communication with these 4 steps

Identify your fears. Protect your desires. Discover your spouse’s needs. Integrate your desires with your spouse’s.

You want to have a marriage filled with trust: a home base where you feel safe showing up exactly as you are. You want a partner who will build a life with you: sharing the work load and life’s celebrations. And you want passion: sex that is exciting and also tender. Sign up to secure your marriage.

Sign Up to Secure Your Marriage

Rebecca S. Mullen
PO Box 346
Mesa, CO 81643