This article used with permission from Tammy Hill.com
There is nothing worse than sitting down with your partner in hopes to talk about something serious, and they do not react well. You might have even perfectly constructed what you were saying or maybe it is something you have talked about before. Yet still, things end badly. How could this be?!
We often think about our words and how our partner might perceive them, but we often forget about other factors that could stand in the way of a successful conversation.
Tammy’s husband Jeff taught this principle in an Introduction to Family Processes course at BYU and it is something I will never forget.
HALT! Avoid having serious conversations when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
We’ve all heard the term “hangry” right. Usually it’s discussed in a joking context. Though, I think that most people have seen that hanger is real!
I know that before my husband sits me down to talk about anything, he always asks if I need a snack first.
We know to avoid serious conversations until after we have eaten because otherwise we find ourselves in unnecessary conflict.
There have been times in conversations where I have recognized my hunger and said, “Hold that thought! I need to grab a snack.” You may think that’s a bit silly, but I assure you those conversations went much better than they would have otherwise!
If you are already in a bit of a fight about something, there is no use in bringing up something else! Wait until one issue has been resolved before you throw another one into the mix.
I think it is important to take note if you find yourself getting angry in the middle of a conversation.
If you notice your emotions starting to heighten, it might be time to take a break from the discussion. Find a place to take some deep-breaths and drink some ice-cold water. These things can help calm you down so you can effectively resume your conversation.
You might cock your head a bit at this one. Why loneliness? How can it negatively impact a conversation?
Take a minute to think about a moment that you felt really alone. A moment you felt when no one understood where you were at. It’s pretty isolating.
Now imagine that someone approached you while you are feeling this way, and wanted to talk about tightening the budget a bit. It might feel a little bit like one thing is stacking on another and you may start to feel overwhelmed.
For me personally, if I’m feeling lonely and my husband wants to talk about something serious I shut down. I don’t get super angry, rather I just feel so exhausted at my personal state that I don’t want to talk. I do not allow myself to be a contributor to the conversation.
In those situations where you suspect your partner is feeling lonely, it might be best to try to connect with them. Offer to do something you know they enjoy, leave them a sweet note, ask if they want to talk about how they are feeling.
Before you can ask them to be a willing participant in a deep conversation, it is important that they feel loved and needed in your relationship.
Have you ever heard the popular marriage advice, “Never go to bed angry?” Well, I hate to break it to you but it’s not necessarily the best advice.
When you’re tired, you generally aren’t thinking clearly. Your judgment can be a bit clouded and the longer you drag a conversation on, the worse it gets. Know your limits!
If you and your spouse get into a fight late at night, you might want to solve it right then. But if you wait, get a good night’s sleep, you may wake up to realize the problem wasn’t half as big as you thought it was and resolving it may be a bit easier!
I highly suggest sitting down with your partner to talk about each of these points and commit together to watch out for these feelings in each other, especially when having more serious conversations or making big decisions. These items may seem trivial, but I promise they can make a big difference!
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