How to Discuss Sensitive Topics With Our Husbands

This article is going to need all of us ladies to band together and draw from our experiences in communication fails and triumphs. We can not avoid it. At times we are going to encounter problems in our marriages that we need to talk about openly with our husbands. And at times they are issues that could cause the conversation to turn south really fast if we are not mindful of some strategies for discussing sensitive topics in a way that encourage more talking rather than seeing us or our husbands shut down.

Maybe your husband needs to know that you need something particular in bed. Or that you need him to stop doing something particular in bed. Maybe there are issues in your finances or serious character issues that concern you. Whatever it is, there is a way that we as wives can do our part to bring these things up in a manner that is more likely to be well received. We can’t guarantee it of course. Our husbands are responsible for their own response, but there are some keys that make it work better.

The first thing I want to mention is the importance of picking your timing well. If he is in the middle of a project or watching something important to him on TV, that isn’t the time to bring up a problem. I used to be very unaware of this and have worked hard to be more intentional about when I bring things up that my husband and I need to discuss. My husband has taken the time to tell me how much he appreciates that I have grown in my discretion in this area so I know that it’s really meaningful to him.

The other thing that is very important is to take the time to think before you speak. We often end up reacting to problems the moment they pop up, but if we can train ourselves to hold our tongues, collect our thoughts and then speak, we often end up being able to respond more reasonably. I’ve found it really helpful to write out my thoughts ahead of time on very serious issues. It helps me process out a lot of the emotions so that when I talk to my husband I can focus more on the facts and present things in a way that makes more sense to him. I’ve noticed that so many of the movies I see which depict a romantic relationship are often missing this aspect of communication when the conflict in the movie meets the crisis point. Self control in conflict is completely disregarded, but I think controlling our tongue in conflict is incredibly important.

Without a doubt it is also important to take the time to pray for insight, especially if you need to bring up an issue that could be hurtful to him. We don’t want our words to tear him down and if we take time to pray I know that God gives us wisdom so that we can say things in ways that encourage him to consider how he can change. There was an issue a number of months ago that began concerning me about my husband so I began praying about it. God provided me a way to very gently mention it to my husband at just the right timing, when his heart was able to receive it. Since then I have seen God prompt people who knew nothing of the issue I was concerned about say something that reconfirms to my husband the importance of him paying attention to the problem I mentioned. Prayer makes a huge difference.

Our tone of voice is also very important. If we can remember to say things gently and with kindness, we will find that what we say is more readily received. Whether the issue is serious or mild, we have the choice to say things in a passive aggressive manner and rudely or we can choose to speak kindly. If in our hearts we already disrespect or despise our husband, that is going to come across in how we say things. We can’t expect him to receive what we are saying if underneath our words, our tone communicates a poor heart condition on our part. And we won’t be able to hide that so take the time to deal with issues of the heart as they come up.

And that brings me to my final point. If you have a habit of sweeping things under the rug because you have a hard time dealing with conflict, you can be sure that those bad roots of anger, bitterness and unforgiveness are going to cause bad fruit in our relationship. A lot of the time we will not even see the connection between a hurt we have in our hearts and a bad reaction we had to something external, but very often there are indeed connections between these kinds of things. So have courage and deal with the stuff in your heart. Bring your hurts to Jesus and let him begin healing the broken parts of your heart.

So how about you? These are my top suggestions for how to deal with sensitive issues with your husband. What have you found to be effective? I’d love to hear from you.

8 Comments

  1. This is a great post Cinnamon Sticks. You asked for ideas so here’s what I try to do (though I don’t always manage to be this gracious).

    I tell him there’s something important I want us to talk about (the “us” is really important as it removes the suggestion of conflict) and ask when it would be a good time to talk. We make an appointment when we know we won’t be disturbed. I always make sure we sit side by side and hold hands – have you ever tried arguing with someone when you’re holding hands, it’s next to impossible. I tell him lots of positive stuff like how much I love and admire him, and I make it specific so he knows I’m being genuine and I care about him. Then I gently tell him what is troubling me and ask him how he feels about it and whether he has any suggestions about how we might change things together. When we’ve talked things through I always thank him for listening to me and give him a kiss.

    This method really works well and we almost invariably come to a common mind. Putting our ideas into action isn’t always so easy though!

  2. I would add that it helps to say out loud that you’re not putting blame on both him and/or yourself. That way you’re not attacking, just addressing a problem that is there.

    Another suggestion from my own experience is to do your best not to internalize and read too much into something that may not there.

  3. When it comes to praying I would add that it is very beneficial to pray for your husband to able to hear you and also to ask God to speak to him and guide his response.

    I never knew how beneficial praying for my marriage could be until you ladies said we should pray for orgasms. When I heard that I started taking all kinds of things to the Lord in prayer and the benefits have been huge.

  4. Great post! Thanks!

    If it is one of those subjects that could turn into my husband feeling like I am blaming him for, then I try to start out with a line that puts him at ease. Like “This is not your fault but it is a problem that is within your power to help me with, & I really need you.” He may need to hear me say it is not your fault jusxt your problem a couple of times…probably because I have made him feel at fault one too many times with my nagging. It works well. He loves me and want’s to make me happy. I love the hand holding suggestion. It communicates love & respect well!

  5. I love this site- just found it and I am looking for some answers.

  6. Please advise me how to approach the fact that I need sex, and since we are married, he is the only one that can provide for me. I have heard every excuse possible not to have sex with me. (We don’t even approach “making love”).

  7. I am sorry that this whole issue of the “sexless marriage” has touched yours. It’s heart breaking. We have quite a number of articles which address this. These two articles in particular may be helpful to you:

    http://christiannymphos.org/2008/08/28/negotiating-differing-drives/

    http://christiannymphos.org/2008/04/23/living-with-a-refuser/

    http://christiannymphos.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2293&action=edit

    Please read the comment sections too as there is additional support in there.

  8. With regards to sex, I just show him.

    If he is not doing something correctly, I show him.

    He does the same. We are pretty open and clear about it.

    If it is something that might question his integrity, I’d pray like I needed to part the Red Sea.

    As for NZGirl, if my husband wouldn’t have sex with me when he was around, I’d clobber him (kidding). I’d pray for God to move the mountain and search my heart for any areas I need to work on.

    I’d kiss him until he caved. If that didn’t work, I’d put on sex shows for him. If that didn’t work, I’d use him as my boy toy whether he participated or not – rubbing, toys, whatever it took. If that didn’t get him going, I’d buy a machine or possibly a doll. I’d make certain he could not help but see me or hear me calling his name as I enjoyed myself. Somewhere along the way I’d drag him into sex counseling.

    We have good prayer time so I would figure it was a desire issue. I’d ramp it UP big time for him. Play play play until he either ran from me or gave in. As I metioned before, the less active we are the less we desire sex so I’d ramp it up!


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