Family Culture, Mental & Emotional Wellness, Struggles and Victories

5 Tips For Talking to Your Spouse About Work Struggles (Without a Fight)

Do you feel like talking to your spouse about work struggles always leads to a fight? I have been there, and it isn’t fun! These 5 tips will help you share without a fight.

As a Mom Entrepreneur, I have had my share of struggles. Some worse than others…and some made worse because of arguments that could have been avoided. I think we’ve all been there…

I have learned some things over the years about talking with your spouse about work struggles (without a fight) and I want to share this bit of knowledge with you!

I started out completely clueless about how to run my small business and manage my family at the same time. My husband was very supportive, as it was his idea to start a business in the first pace.

Unfortunately, we had a bit of a rocky start.

As it turns out, we weren’t communicating about our intentions for the business from the get-go.

I feel as though this led to some unwanted arguments and disagreements along the way. Needless to say, I have my experience in the “arguing department”.

Set a Clear Expectation for Talking with Your Spouse

Sometimes, talking to my spouse without a fight takes a bit of strategic planning, especially if its a sensitive topic.

In the beginning, I would often come to my husband with a struggle just to vent. Before I knew what was happening, we were in a full blown argument.

By the end of the argument, I was hurt because I didn’t feel like he cared and he was upset because he felt as though I was angry with him.

The truth was, I just wanted to share and vent. I didn’t know how to do this so the conversation ended in a fight.

Now, I start each conversation about my struggles with my intention for the talk.

Example CONVERSATION starters that really work

  • I know I’m inside my head on this…could you just be a listening ear for a few minutes?
  • Can I talk to you about something I need to work out? I really just need to vent.
  • I don’t need you to fix anything on this today, but could you help me work through something that I’m struggling with?
  • Can I share something with you, It’s been a tough day and the kid’s don’t understand. Haha!

Completely Remove the Blame Card

As a general rule, people who love us are defensive. It may seen harmful, but this defensiveness stems from the desire they have to make sure we’re happy.

When talking to my spouse about my work struggles, I have learned to try to never make my spouse feel like he’s to blame.

Throwing blame around is one sure way to start a fight. On the flip side, it can be extremely painful for the “sharer” when the other person is feeling blame and lashes out.

I am ashamed to say that this type of argument has happened more times than I want to admit. I’ll tell you why…

  1. I wasn’t aware that my words were “throwing blame” on my husband.
  2. He thought I was trying to pick an argument because of it.
  3. This defensiveness lead to hurt and confusion on both sides.

Sharing struggles can be accomplished without a fight, but It takes effective communication. Here’s how I begin talking to my spouse…

  • Address him spouse with gentle words of affirmation.”I’m so glad you’re here for me through this because today has been tough, but you make it better.”
  • Expressly telling him spouse that I don’t feel like he’s to blame. “You are in no way to blame for how I’m feeling about this, but talking to you helps me.”

Understand Your Spouse’s Need to be a “Fixer”

Honestly, this was one of the most eye opening revelations for me! Once I discovered that as soon as I started talking, my husband starting “working”, I was able to have more relaxed, productive conversations without a fight.

Not every conversation needs to have an action that follows. Sometimes, you just need to talk. Does your spouse know this, or is he always trying to “fix” what you need?

If you need something fixed, tell your spouse expressly. If you don’t need it fixed, tell him expressly.

woman holding man s hand

I have found that letting my husband know that I don’t want him to fix this helped me be able to share my struggles without a fight.

Reading Your Spouse – Is now a good time to talk?

If your spouse is like my husband, he’s unable or unwilling to tell you to “bug off.” Although I’m grateful for my husband’s constant desire to support me, I now realize that he would sacrifice his sanity to do so.

Over the past years of Mom Entrepreneurship, I have learned that It’s not fair to demand my husband’s ear if he’s too deep into a struggle of his own. The last thing I want is a full blown fight across multiple topics. Yikes!

Trust me, the line can get really blurry between work struggles and home life.

If you’re unable to read your spouse or you need to vent right now…

  1. Text first. Simply ask over text if now is a good time to talk.
  2. Confide in a friend or patent first, then once you’ve calmed down you can chat with your spouse.
  3. Plan a scheduled “work talk” time each day and stick to it.

Know When to Walk Away

Sometimes you have to walk away from a conversation, not because you don’t care about it, but because you do!

Nobody is perfect, everybody makes mistakes, and not every conversation runs without a fight. It’s going to happen…

One of the most powerful skill’s to learn is how to leave a conversation before a fight happens.

Here are a few warning sighs

  • This one is the most obvious, but also the hardest to listen to: your spouse tells you that you’re trying to argue. Ahh! Doesn’t that make you want to push harder. Don’t… walk away.
  • Your spouse appears distracted. Consider this: he may be doing this on purpose to avoid a topic he can’t handle right now.
  • A huge warning sign is when you can’t communicate without throwing blame around. It’s best to walk away or you’ll say things to regret.
  • A little ambiguous, but so true: you don’t really know what you’re upset about. Venting is one thing, stirring up trouble because you’re emotional is another. Step away from the conversation until you have a clear purpose for the talk.

Talking About Struggles with Your Spouse Can and Should Happen Without a Fight

Over 12 years of marriage and 5 plus years of entrepreneurship, I have learned to set an expectation for a difficult to discuss topic, remove the blame card, and understand my husbands need to be a fixer.

I have been able to appreciate the benefits from reading my spouse and knowing when to walk away…

Now, if I could just glue these tips to my bathroom mirror I may be able to talk about my struggles without a fight…haha!

Please comment and share a bit of your knowledge or a revelation you’ve had from this post!

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