What do you do when you need to tell your spouse something that will almost certainly be met with a negative reaction—but it needs to be said?
“We can’t take that vacation we’ve been planning.”
“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t play golf this weekend because my sister is coming to visit.”
“I was embarrassed when you called me ‘flighty’ in front of my friends at the party.”
Sometimes in marriage, difficult conversations are necessary. It doesn’t do any good to hold angry or difficult thoughts in. Some things need to be said. If we just blurt them out, we run the risk of our spouse not responding well. Your husband may take your words as an attack on him or an invitation for an argument. Your words may come across as unloving. Your wife may feel you are always making decisions that don’t give equal consideration to her needs.
Instead of cutting straight to the issue, use a sentence or two to adorn your comment. Prepare your wife or husband for the bad news that is about to come by assuring them of your love and respect. Try some of these phrases or ones like them:
“I know how much you’ve been looking forward to our vacation, but. . .”
“You have been working so hard lately, and I know you need some time to unwind, but. . .”
“You usually go out of your way to praise me in public. It makes me feel like a million bucks, but last night. . .”
“You know that I never want to hurt you.”
“Do you know you are my best guy/girl—no matter what?”
“You are always so good about making the most of our budget, and I really appreciate that you never complain, but. . .”
“I know that you always try hard to please me.”
“It is so important to you to do a good job. I appreciate that.”
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, I truly appreciate your punctuality. Really, I do.” (Smile here.)
“You are one of the most loyal people I know. But sometimes. . .”
The next time you must tell you spouse something you know is unpleasant, try prefacing the bad news with assurance of your love and esteem for them. You will soften the blow and ensure a better chance of a favorable reception for your comments.