We all have those topics…you know, the ones you try to avoid because they cause the tension to rise. You want to talk about it, but then again you don't. You are afraid of how heated the conversation will get if you bring it up…so you avoid it. But you want to achieve resolution. So what do you do?
Do you try to ignore the desire to discuss it and continue to have a conversation in your head over and over again trying to predict the outcome?
Do you bring it up, let things get heated and then end up more confused and distant than when you began?
Or do you hold hands?
Today's Wedding Wednesdays! topic is a technique for talking through hot topics. If you don't have someone with whom to try this technique at the moment, store this little information in your memory bank for a later day.
When Carl and I started dating we had lots of these little “hot topics.” These weren't just topics we wanted to debate, they were things we needed to talk about, but because they hit so close to home, they were difficult to discuss without letting our emotions take control of the conversation. That is when someone told us about holding hands. Sure we held hands while strolling down the street or riding in the car, but we definitely did not hold hands during an argument, ahem, I mean a discussion.
A wise man told us that as we discussed a hot topic, we should sit on the couch together and hold hands. Why hold hands? He suggested that holding hands would remind us physically and emotionally that we are in this together and that we actually like each other. He shared with us that holding hands would help keep the walls down and the communication lines open. He also said it would keep the volume level of our voices down.
And guess what!
He was right! We tried this technique when we knew we needed to discuss something sensitive that might lead to an argument. And what we found was exactly what the man told us…it's very difficult to yell at someone with whom you are holding hands. Holding hands kept our discussion at a friendly level. We were able to speak our minds and be heard more effectively because of the physical touch.
When we attended a pre-marital counseling conference, the instructor offered a variation on this technique. She called it “Knees-to-Knees.” Her method was very similar. She had each of us write down three to five topics that we avoid talking about in our relationship. Then she had us turn our chairs toward each other close enough that our knees touched. As we sat this way we were instructed to bring up one topic that we purposely avoid and discuss it.
Again, the physical contact of sitting with our knees together kept us from throwing our best verbal punches.
Although this seems like a very simple technique, it can bring about a major change in the discussions you have with your spouse.
In the past month, Carl and I had to discuss a very sensitive topic. This discussion could have allowed our ugly sides to shine, but we knew that the enemy wanted nothing more than to destroy our marriage, and we were not going to let him have his way. So rather than attacking each other, we wrapped each other up in a huge embrace and walked through this topic as best friends. As we held each other tight we were able to discuss this sensitive topic without raising our voices or throwing up our walls. It was a miracle. We made it through as a team. We didn't try to manipulate or cut each other down. Rather, we took this opportunity to grow closer as a couple and to lift up one another.
I encourage you to try this technique. Maybe there is something on your heart that you have been longing to discuss with your spouse, but you had no idea how to do it without causing a fight to break out. Sit down on the couch, grab your spouse by the hand, and then share your heart. Holding the hand of the one you vowed before God to honor and cherish while confronting or discussing will definitely help you continue to honor and cherish throughout the conversation.
Please remember: always bathe your conversation in prayer before approaching your spouse. Ask God for wisdom to address the issue clearly and effectively. Ask Him for wisdom for the words to share how you feel without belittling your spouse. Make sure you don't turn this into an opportunity to be passive aggressive or manipulative. Just be honest in a way that promotes coming together as a couple, and don't give the devil a foothold in your marriage.
Prayer is always the first step. Then after prayer, take the courageous step to face a hot topic knowing that you can do so in a manner that brings glory to God rather than builds up resentment in your relationship.
I'm praying for you as you try these techniques. I'd love to hear how it goes. Remember, you can always post a comment here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.