So what if your bride is broken? What if it’s not just a difference of opinion, or how God made her, what if there is something that really needs to change?
First, consider the log in your eye verses the speck in her eye. Since we all down play our stuff, and overplay our spouse’s stuff, she will see the significance of your stuff as greater than you do, and the significance of her stuff as less significant than you do. Working on all your big and medium size stuff before you talk to her will make it difficult for her to deflect by pointing to something you are doing wrong.
Second, consider that while it may need to be dealt with, it might not your “job” or place to do it. I’m not saying you don’t have a “”right” to deal with it, but rather suggesting that you may not be the best person to do it. I would suggest a good deal of thought and prayer go into deciding if you should be the one to say something.
Third, if you should say something, make sure you choose the right time. Just jumping on it when she does it because it bothers you is understandable, but it’s a very poor way to get the results you want. Discussing it when you are both calm is important, and that may mean some time other than when it has just occurred. Some couples can flag something when it happens and go back to discuss it later – that’s great if it works in your marriage, otherwise, don’t.
If you have gone through all that, and you are still convinced you need to talk to her about whatever, here are a few things that can make it go better.
- Don’t accuse – this just puts her on the defensive.
- A brief recent example can help, but don’t belabour it.
- Try to communicate how you feel when she does the thing you don’t like. To start with, she functions more on feelings, so this is speaking her language. Beyond that, it means you are not condemning her; you are sharing how it hurts you.
- Try not to get hung up on right and wrong, even if her actions are clearly wrong. If you get into an augment about right and wrong that means you are not dealing with the action.
- Don’t make the mistake that being in the right morally will somehow force her to change – it probably won’t.
- Don’t pile on. Don’t decide what you want to discuss, and add other complaints as you go. Burying her makes you feel right, but it makes her feel horrible, and that’s not going to motivate her to change.
- Gently reschedule if she tries to counter with something unrelated. Don’t ignore or dismiss what she says, acknowledge it and ask to discuss it after you have dealt with what you brought up. (Be sure to play by the same rules when she confronts you!)
- Keep it short. The longer you go over (and over, and over) something, the less likely you are to resolve it.
- Be willing to walk away without a promised change. Give her time to think about it, and to modify her actions. Pushing her for something now will make her feel bullied, and could either result in her agreeing to far less than she would be willing to do, or getting pushing into more than she can do.