Its your honeymoon. Your perfect day just finished. The cake was great, the best man didn’t drop the ring, and you are now on the beach, after the perfect first night. Suddenly you realize. The wedding is over, now we have to be married? How do we do this?
note: If you aren’t married, file this one away for the week after the honeymoon.
I’ve been married 17 years now. It was NOT only yesterday that Tahnya and I said our hopeful “I dos.” Though marriage is not nearly in as much danger as the forecasters have said (the divorce rate is much lower than forecast), broken wedding vows are everywhere.
But here are 3 conversations that I wish Tahnya and I had learned to have, and had repeatedly through the years. These are based on my own experience and some small input from friends.
1. The Sex talk
To roughly misquote Mark Gungor, (Laugh your way to a better marriage), if it weren’t for sex, most men would probably not bother with marriage. Maybe a bit exaggerated, but he has a point. My personal feeling is that we’ve gotten our conversations backwards. The sex talk is had among guys, or among lady friends, and not in marriage. I’m amazed at the negative attitude many married women have towards sex. They “endure,” they put up with it, they suffer through.
Treat anyone like a dog long enough and he’ll act like a dog. Wives who treat their husbands with distain and “meprise” should not expect a superhero man. Sex should not be a “throw him a bone,” placate him, or manipulate him. If young couples learn to have the sex talk, communication in marriage becomes safe and other things can be talked about. When sex is not safe to talk about in marriage, then you have closed off not a door, but a gateway, right into the man’s soul.
2. The Money Talk
“Couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were over 30 percent more likely to divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times per month.”(source) (source)
Having the money talk won’t save your marriage or build you a great marriage. Learning to have the difficult conversations successfully will. If you can talk about sex and money, you can talk about anything else.
3. The expectations talk
I remember our first battle in marriage over expectations. It had to do with who got the oil changed in the car. Needless to say, we did not have clear expectations. To this day, communication that has unvoiced expectations leads to conflict.
How can you identity this secret trap in marriage?
Try this. The next time you are in conflict, change these words.
“Well, I thought…” to “Well, my expectation is/was….”
See how it brings about vulnerability and honesty? In this way, we also own that these are expectations we had. Fair or unfair, we must be honest.
While writing this, this article came across my desk.
Learn to successfully navigate these conversations and I can’t guaranteed, but I almost can, that you will be on your way to a healthier marriage.
What are some conversations you wish you’d had?