“Honey, we need to talk”
These are dreaded words. No spouse or significant other wants to hear them.
These are also false words. No spouse or significant other actually means them. What we really mean is either:
“Honey, I need to accuse you of something and I need you to apologize (in order to ease my anxiety),” or
“Honey, I need to pry and you need to open up and tell me what I want to hear (in order to ease my anxiety).”
Either way, we’re asking the other person to calm our anxieties for us. This may feel like we’re initiating a mature relationship conversation, but it’s really just the opposite. Any time we are needing another to validate us or make us feel less anxious, we are actually regressing towards immaturity. We are moving away from adulthood, and asking the other person to re-parent us.
This is why, whenever you’ve used these dreaded words in the past, your partner has, at best, paused in confusion, or at worst, recoiled in terror.
Try something else instead: Authentic Self-Representation. Jenny and I talk about it at length in our book, ScreamFree Marriage. Here’s what it can look like:
“Honey, I love you and I love us, and that’s why I want to tell you something: I don’t like you right now. And I don’t like the fact that I don’t like you, so I’m trying to figure out if I’m doing something hurtful or annoying to you and I’m just not aware of it. Anyways, if you can think of something, lemme know. You don’t have to respond right now, or ever, but I wanted you to know what’s been going on with me lately.”
Peace begins with pause,