8 things every married couple should talk about openly and often
Now a lot of married couples would probably tell you that they can talk to their spouse about anything. But is that really true? I’ve actually come across a lot who have a hard time even bringing certain subjects up in their own marriages. Cross-check this list and see if these subjects come up regularly in your own marriage. If they don’t- maybe it’s time they should!
1 | Finances
You knew this was going to be in this post somewhere, so might as well get it out of the way. While a lot of married couples have one person who is more “financially minded” (that would be me in our marriage) it’s uber important to be on the same page with your spouse about your finances. This includes this like: what you spend your money on, how much money you spend on those things, what your savings goals are, etc. Of course those are really broad, but as a rule of thumb, the more open you are about money and the more you’re able to stay on the same page, the less frustrated you’ll be later.
Being the financial person in our marriage, Josh used to trust me with all things finances and never checked our bank account- like never. And being an impulsive person, this wasn’t always the best thing for our savings account. Not that I would spend much at all, but I found myself making lots of little impulsive purchases here and there that would really add up at the end of the month. Things like gourmet coffees from over-priced coffee shops, new clothes and makeup from Target that I didn’t really need, snacks that probably only looked good because I went shopping hungry- that kind of stuff. But- I realized that what I was doing was hurting our bank account. So I asked him to check in on it here and there. Now, knowing that my husband actually looks at our bank statements and wouldn’t support my decision to buy yet another outfit from Target, I have an easier time putting it back on the rack than I used to. And our bank account is happier this way as well. The same principle has always applied to him, it’s just an equal playing field now.
My point is, while one person in your relationship might be better at handling money, both you and your spouse should have a good idea of where your money goes. That’s all.
2 | Critical things
No, not like mission critical. More like constructive criticism. Josh and I were watching the show Arrow on Netflix the other night and a piece of relationship advice was given that went something like this: “Find someone you never have to apologize to.”
Josh and I immediately looked at each other and said, “Uhhhhhh… that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works…”
What she meant by saying, “Find someone you never have to apologize to,” was that you should find someone who understands you so much that you never have to apologize for not being there for them, because they’ll understand that you had a good reason. Except that’s really really not how life works. Am I right? What if your significant other actually doesn’t have a good reason for letting you down? Are you going to simply understand why they did what they did and not hold them to a standard to where some of their actions are considered unacceptable?
I mean, as much as it’s great practice to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt (read more on why I think so here), there also comes a time and a place to hold them to a standard. Now, I’ve talked about this issue before (you can read about it here). But for this to work at all, your standards with your spouse are going to need to be mutually understood. Otherwise, if your standards are different, your words will only sound naggy and go in one ear and come out the other. So, that being said, don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your spouse how they could improve (where it matters).
3 | Feelings
The other day I was speaking with a married woman who I have been close to for a long time. She told me that she tries to communicate with her husband, but there seems to be a wall there. Although she’s able to ask him to change and do something differently in their relationship, and he doesn’t reject her when she asks, she still never actually sees the changes she asks for. So while my friend is being open with her husband about what she would like to see change (which is great!) she feels extremely hurt by the fact that her requests are being ignored.
Knowing her husband, like many other husbands, I don’t think he is intentionally trying to ignore my friend. He’s actually a really good husband- and she thinks so too. But what my friend finds hard to do is express how her husband’s actions (or lack thereof) are hurting her. Yes, she’s told him what she would like to see change, but when the change never came, she has a hard time letting him know how that makes her feel. And having a good husband who does most other things right can make it even harder at times to let him know that he is disappointing you in this one way that actually matters a lot.
My advice to her and women who find themselves in similar situations is to tell your husband how his actions are making you feel. He may simply not realized how important your request is and by letting him know that his actions hurt he’ll be given the second chance to understand the importance of what you’re asking and then hopefully, follow through!
4 | Bedroom Stuff
And I’m not just talking about the sheets you put on your bed. A lot of people come to and seek out other marriage blogs for advice on how to handle certain things in the bedroom. Which is totally fine and great! But marriage blogs can only give you so much advice for your life behind the bedroom doors. The rest is really going to be up to you and that spouse of yours.
Talking openly about your sex life is easier the earlier you start, but this can be done later in life, and you can get to the point where you feel comfortable doing it- with practice. If this is something that doesn’t come naturally to your in your spouse, but you want to try to talk about it more, start light. Be sure that you and your hubby are in a comfortable setting and don’t lay whatever is on your mind too heavy on him if this is not something you usually talk about. Try to keep it light at first and listen to what he has to say about sex as well. Then, after you both become more comfortable talking openly about your sex life, don’t be afraid dive a little deeper, always remembering to keep it an open discussion.
5 | Funny things
Many marriages fall apart for many different reasons. A lot of those reasons have to do with the standards and confrontation and honesty we talked about above. But, marriages can also fall apart even when it seems as though there is nothing structurally wrong at all.
In my experience, marriages can sneakily begin to disintegrate when a couple forgets how to laugh together. I’ve even gone through a period like this (specifically when our son was very young). To be honest, I was tired and stressed out and still adjusting to being a mommy who was needed at what seemed like every second of every day. Laughter began to seem like a distraction from getting the things done on my very long to-do list and I began to ignore it or even find it frustrating when my husband would try to have fun with me.
When I learned to live in the moment and enjoy those small moments with my family, I saw that my to-do list didn’t change, but my attitude sure did.
6 | Future Things
Ah, this is one of my favorite things to talk about! And I don’t think this is a hard one for many young-ish or new couples. But for many who may find themselves living in what seems more or less like a daily routine, the future may be something you haven’t talked about in a while. While my last point points out that it’s really important to also live in the moment, it’s wonderful to have dreams and plans and a vision of the future with your spouse, no matter how long you’ve been married!
One of Josh’s and my favorite things to do is put David to bed and get a bench and set it up in our open yard and talk while looking up at the stars. We talk about life and what’s going on in the now, but we love to talk about what our family might look like in the future, where we could possibly travel some day, the possibility of moving closer to our families. All that good stuff.
This being said, it’s also important to always remember to be content. If you’re always living in the future, but things end up not going as you planned, it’s important to roll with the punches and be thankful for everything that you do have and the experiences you have shared together.
7 | Spiritual things
Really, “spiritual things” should be something you talk about way before you ever decide to get married. But if you’re married and reading this and realizing that spiritual things actually never come up, don’t worry, there’s still hope. Now, I find that couples are either on the same page with their spiritual beliefs, or, if they’re not, their beliefs are usually seldom talked about in order to avoid yet another passionate argument that always ends the same way.
Being a Christian, we read in the Bible that we shouldn’t marry anyone who doesn’t believe God’s Word like we do. And that’s not because we’re better than those who don’t believe. But because when the Apostle Paul wrote those words, he knew what it would look like to have a marriage between two people who believe and value very different things. Yes, you can make it work. But wouldn’t you want a marriage where your spouse believes the same core things that you do? I mean, not believing in the same values, spiritual beliefs, and convictions as your spouse is a HUGE thing to not have in common! And if you plan on making a relationship like that work, there’s going to be a lot that you don’t talk about- you know, in order to keep the peace. Because eventually, trying to get your spouse to believe what you believe is going to grow old. The same arguments are going to grow old. And- truth be told- they’ll either stop because you and your spouse decide to separate or because you decide to be silent about those things.
So, if you- Christian- find yourself in this place, the most you can do is live out your faith the very best you can and pray for your spouse. Christianity is never going to look more attractive by trying to convince someone that it is.
John 3:34-45 says, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
8 | Embarrassing things
Yet another one of my favorite things to talk about with Josh. This is actually something that often falls under #5- funny things- for us. But embarrassing things can be more serious as well. For the most part, try to be open and set the example that it’s ok to laugh at yourself from time to time- or quite often like me. It’s also quite alright to start off the conversation by simply telling your spouse that you’re embarrassed but you would like to talk to them about whatever it is anyway.
There are lots of things on this list that any couple could find embarrassing to talk about if not done openly and often enough. But being open about most things will take the embarrassment out of many potentially awkward subjects. I like to tell people that conversations are only awkward if you believe they are. If you and your spouse seek to be open and understand each other in most things, then awkward conversations won’t really be a thing you have to deal with.
Think of anything that I missed? What other topics should be on this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and share this post with the married couples in your life!