Communication. Most people in a long relationship will tell you how important communication is. And it really is important. I definitely think a majority of major problems/issues in a marriage could have been worked out much easier if someone had brought it up when it first started. Tackle the problems before they get huge but if they are already huge, it’s better to talk about it now instead of waiting for later.
It isn’t really as simple as just discussing each and every little thing that is bothering you; you do have to pick and choose which issues you are okay with and which ones really bother you and need to change. Maybe your spouse has the habit of moving his/her lips while he/she reads… is this something that you are okay with ignoring or maybe you’ll grow to love? Or is it something that irritates you so badly that you feel like you’re going to explode? Some people would say that’s a minor problem but for some it could be so annoying that it bothers them even hours after the person is done reading. You just have to decide which issues you can live with and which need to change.
It isn’t always about issues with your spouse. Sometimes you need to be open and honest and talk about the struggles you’re facing or the feelings you’re having. Or you may notice your spouse acting differently lately and you aren’t sure what’s going on. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something but you may need to be the one to bring it up. It isn’t always easy – there are some hard topics that people face in life but talking to your spouse about it can still be good. Sometimes it could be embarrassing but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
Whatever the issue or problem or struggle is, talk about it. Work through it. Be patient. Try not to get frustrated. Be kind. Forgive. Listen. Let the other person talk. If the conversation isn’t going anywhere, don’t force the issue at that time – but make a plan to talk about it at another time. I’ve definitely learned that talking about anything remotely serious when I’m really tired is not a good idea. Talking to your spouse on a regular basis about anything and everything is a good idea and extremely helpful for when issues arise because you already know how to talk to each other. Remember that you are both on the same side facing the same problem and working together to overcome it.
“People are very tender, very sensitive inside. I don’t believe age or experience make much difference. Inside, even within the most toughened and calloused exteriors, are the tender feelings and emotions of the heart.” -The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey