If you are married, sooner or later you will have to deliver some difficult or heartbreaking news to your spouse. Maybe you got the phone call about your spouse’s dad being in a car accident. Or maybe it was the message that let you know your spouse did not get the job they’ve been working so hard to get. Let’s face it, life is hard at times. So, what’s the right way to handle these disappointments?
I recently got some really heartbreaking news. I knew that I would need to tell Tami and bring her up to speed, but how I wondered? I really hate to see her so hurt and disappointed. So, what is the best way to share some heartbreaking and difficult news with your spouse when you do not what to see them hurt?
You must tell them.
First Things First. It is almost always best to be open and transparent with your spouse, to share the truth with them and whole truth. In a healthy marriage, each spouse is responsible for their own feelings. In a difficult situation, this means that I must take ownership of my response to something and my wife must take ownership of hers. If I try to control her response by holding back some or all of the truth, that is on me, not her.
Make no mistake, I can and should comfort and support her in these times, but I should not attempt to control her feelings or protect her from the truth.
Sometimes, when someone wants to tell me “a secret,” I will first let them know that I don’t keep secrets from Tami. The rare exception is something like a surprise party for her or an anniversary gift. But, if the secret is anything besides a surprise gift that your spouse will be happy about, you must tell them. There are very few exceptions to this and chances are that your situation is not an exception, especially if there is something that you are dreading telling them. This is a sure sign that you must be honest and tell them the truth. If you are still convinced your situation is unique, feel free to contact us using the secure contact form here on our site at https://tandemmarriage.com/contact/
and ask for some insight. And yes, we know to keep these sorts of things confidential. We do so all the time.
Timing is Everything.
In marriage, the sooner we learn to get our timing right with important things, the better off we will be. For example, let’s say that you’ve been home all day with 3 demanding kids while your spouse has been at work. Do you really need to tell your spouse that the dog threw up on the carpet again the moment they walk in the door? Let’s try this scenario again with one minor change. This time you have same demanding kids, same difficult day, same dog vomit. The difference in this scenario is timing. Knowing that you want to create a welcoming, safe space for your spouse, you decide the dog vomit ordeal can wait. This allows you and your spouse to reconnect when they get home and will end up setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
This means that you may want to wait, but not usually more than a few hours depending on the situation, before telling them the news. Does it always go as smoothly as in the example above? Of course not, but remember that if the second scenario is the goal, you will reach your goal some of the time. If it is not your goal, you will reach it all of the time!
If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. ~Zig Ziglar
Honesty in marriage leads to greater intimacy.
Being honest is the easiest when honesty is the rule and not the exception. Nonetheless, there will be times when being honest is difficult. For these times, remind yourself that honesty and intimacy are tied at the hip! The more honest you are, the deeper the intimacy. If the trust in your relationship is shallow, the level of intimacy will be as well.
So there it is in a nutshell. Tell the truth and the whole truth. Be ready to comfort and support your spouse as needed. And enjoy greater intimacy, both emotional and physical.
If you have any comments or questions about this post, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
By Brad & Tami Miller. Contact us at brad@TandemMarriage.com. Copyright © 2017