7 Courageous Talks That Strengthen Your Marriage
Marital strength is tested every day through little discussions that help us understand each other better. Being able to openly discuss your deepest and darkest truths with your spouse, without fear of rejection or humiliation, is crucial. These discussions foster connection, understanding, and growth in areas where both partners may currently be weak and need improvement. However, these are tough talks, and some couples would rather avoid them than face and work through them together.
The problem arises when off-topic issues are left unaddressed, leading to pent-up anger, hurt, resentment, and miscommunication. This can potentially cause a crisis in an otherwise stable relationship. A spouse who holds years of resentment due to their inability to communicate their truth with their partner may lose self-control during an argument and say hurtful things, blindsiding their partner. The origin of this anger or resentment may remain unclear, and once hurtful words are spoken, they cannot be taken back.
Below, I have listed seven "off-topic" or contentious issues that couples often avoid discussing. Addressing these matters one by one can deepen your connection and strengthen your emotional and physical intimacy:
The Sex Topic: Can you openly talk about and express what you need more of in your current sex life? Are you comfortable telling your partner what you like and desire, or does the topic embarrass you? Being able to share your sexual feelings with your significant other and working together to improve your lovemaking is one of the most intimate discussions you can and should have.
In-Law Challenges: Your marriage belongs to you and your partner, not your in-laws. Being able to discuss how to establish boundaries that protect your marriage from outside influences, including in-laws, is essential. Marriage is a sacred sacrament, and you both should feel secure in each other's protection of your honesty and truth around parents, friends, and family. Allowing others to meddle in your marriage betrays trust and can make spouses feel unsupported or insecure.
Money Talks: Can you openly discuss money and plan together for your financial future? Addressing financial matters deepens your marriage and intimacy. Holding each other accountable to the budget and jointly deciding how to spend your money keeps you connected and transparent in the relationship.
Lessons from Past Experiences: Your partner doesn't need to know all the details of past relationships, but they should hear about the personal growth you've gained from those experiences. When our partners are vulnerable about their past mistakes and the lessons they've learned, we see them in a new light and gain a better understanding of why they are the way they are. Sharing valuable lessons from personal struggles is crucial for closeness in marriage.
Life Purposes and Dreams: Can you openly share your life purposes and dreams with each other? Do you support each other's aspirations for the future? We all cherish our dreams and lifelong goals. Feeling supported by our partner in pursuing these dreams makes us feel validated and encouraged to achieve them. Marriage should make you feel more supported and capable of reaching your goals, not less. If your partner shuts down or dismisses your dreams, you may stop sharing your innermost self with them.
Dealing with Insecurities: We all have insecurities, but being able to share them with our partner makes us feel safe and loved despite our vulnerabilities. Sharing our weaker sides allows our partner to understand us better and gives them the opportunity to feel needed, which is crucial for maintaining intimacy.
Constructive Criticism: Can you openly express things you dislike about your partner without causing a huge fight? Seeing certain behaviors or habits in your partner that you don't like is normal. However, being able to communicate these issues in a loving manner encourages personal and relationship growth. By kindly expressing what you observe and why you believe they can improve, you are supporting their development.
Marriage is not only a romantic partnership but also a friendship and covenant between two people. Celebrating the joy of a lasting marriage involves not avoiding tough issues and feeling safe and secure while discussing them. These challenging discussions bring couples closer together and make them more aware of who their partner truly is. Avoiding the truth can create division but facing it can foster growth and understanding.