Do you think those communication classes we took back in high school were specifically to give us a sliver of a shot at communicating in our marriages? Communication in marriage can be difficult. First, you have two different perspectives. Second, you have two different brains processing things and two different mouths (hopefully calmly) delivering information. Bring an important or sensitive matter up at the wrong time and it can completely change the outcome. Timing. Timing is very important when it comes to communicating or having a talk with your husband.
You know those moods when everyone seems to want to push your buttons? When nails are going down the figurative chalkboard of every. wall. in. the. house?! The kids are grouchy, the mother-in-law is worried about red food coloring ruining their lives, you got griped out at work, and missed a deadline. And, oh by the way, let’s discuss that trip to Best Buy he made yesterday. That is not the time to talk about the new budget rules you’ve been wanting to change. Trust me.
Our daughter asked me if she could have social media. My husband is more lenient than I am when it comes to screens and technology (you know me, the “TV nazi”). I knew we might be on different pages on the subject. It was a touchy subject that could turn south if the timing was bad. I needed to wait for the right timing. Same daughter missed a large section of mowing and my husband and I end up being outside without any kids. It was the perfect timing! We were able to discuss her level of responsibility, the pros and cons of letting her have social media, rules that might apply, and ultimately communicated both our perspectives and came to a decision together. Perfect timing!
I’ve started learning to look for good timing when communicating with my husband; with everyone really. And that goes for when I’m not in a receptive mood and being aware of when others aren’t as well. Let’s look at how timing affects communication in relationships.
Bad Timing – the Calendar
I can’t tell you where I heard or read it but I can tell you I’ve never forgotten the lightbulb going off after hearing this piece of advice. Don’t discuss important things with your husband when you’re on your period. Whaaaa?! But that’s when I’m most motivated! Oh never mind, that’s actually when I’m most irritated and combative. Yep – don’t ask me why I never thought of that myself but hopefully your lightbulb is going off too right. now.
Whenever you get the urge to discuss major changes or issues and you’re on your cycle, recognize it, stay disciplined, and stifle that urge! I tell myself “later” and control my words. I’ll give you a hint – I had to learn to T.H.I.N.K. as a prerequisite to this technique. So, with all my love I’m telling you to shut your mouth girl LOL! Process your thoughts before you speak and learn to identify both good timing and bad timing. Your cycle is bad timing. Those stupid hormones jack with you. Do not discuss parenting, budgeting, or lifestyle changes when it’s that time of the month.
Bad Timing – His Mood
It works both ways. Most husbands will be honest if work that day was a disaster. You can tell when he’s exhausted. Maybe he’s a bit snippier than usual or you notice he’s collapsing onto the bed as soon as he walks through the door after work. Does he wear his stress on his face? Look for factors in his words and body language that might signal its not good timing. Say something pops in your head that you want to discuss with your man. Ask yourself, “Is now good timing?” Is he fed, rested, and at a state where he can hold a productive conversation with you?
Has someone else offended or wronged him? If so, he’s probably in a natural defensive mode. If you try to bring up something you need to work through that natural defensive instinct will most likely come up. Bad timing.
List of Bad Timings
- The cat threw up on the living room rug and the house is a mess. Frustration will make this bad timing.
- He’s worked overtime back to back more than one day this week. Exhaustion says “bad timing girl”.
- His favorite golfing shirt just got stained with spaghetti sauce. Bad timing – he is mourning the loss of his lucky shirt right now.
- He’s focused on a new project. Distracting him will not transfer his focus. Bad timing.
- You recently made him feel incompetent (intentionally or not). This one is tricky. Look for signs of distance, lashing out, etc. If you’ve recently had an argument that hasn’t been resolved, it’s not a good idea to throw another important conversation into the mix.
Bad Timing – Life
Ohhhh, life. It can be a whip. It can also heavily impact the timings of your conversations and the outcomes. Don’t try to overload the discussion. Stay focused on resolving one issue at a time. If you’re trying to decide how much to sell the house for it’s not good timing to talk about your mother wanting to come help you “settle in” to your new home.
Trying to communicate and work through an issue at 11:42 at night is not good timing. I know, I know. Sometimes life is so busy that’s the only time you actually get to talk together without interruptions. And if you’re anything like me, that’s when your wheels are turning. Late nights after long days when one or both of you are exhausted is not good timing for effective communication.
Look for the proverbial doors to open, times when there’s a break in the noise and chaos. Chances are they come up more than you realize. Now that you’re looking for them, you’ll notice. 🙂
Good Timing for Communication in Marriage
I knew a couple once that prearranged timing for evaluating and working through issues. It was like a scheduled meeting. They would evaluate their marriage and each put things on the agenda they want to work through and come to a decision on. That doesn’t really work well for my marriage, but maybe you and your husband are wired that way! Try it. Tell your husband that life is so busy and there’s never really a good time to discuss the important things. Schedule a Starbucks date, take your notebooks, and hold your first official “Good Time Meeting” LOL!
What’s really worked for us is building the habit of awareness. Simply be aware and sensitive to timing when needing to discuss issues. You have to communicate everyday with others around you. There’s no getting around it. But looking inward, at his demeanor, and at the outside circumstances can help us as wives determine if the timing is right or wrong to bring up those important conversations.
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