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Marriage Counseling: Taking Breaks
You and your spouse will learn important skills together in marriage counseling, but you might find that there are times where you still struggle to make progress in a difficult discussion. For example, you and your spouse might be struggling to make a big decision. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find a resolution to a disagreement and it seems like you are stuck.
Some of your conversations might require extra time. Consider taking a planned break from the conversation with a plan to return to your discussion later. Today, you will learn some tips for how to effectively take a break from a difficult conversation in your marriage (Related article: Love Smarter By Learning To Take a Break).
Take Your Break with Purpose
Abrupt breaks in important conversations with your spouse can lead to frustration and confusion for you and your partner. Additionally, ending your conversation early can make effective communication more difficult and time consuming overall. An important starting point for your break is being intentional about the purpose and goal of the break. Using clear communication can help your partner to understand that you need some time to regroup, which is the first step to a good break. Additionally, you can express appreciation for the effort they have put into the conversation so far. Make sure to also express your desire for the conversation to go well for both of you (Related Article: Learn How to Communicate with Your Spouse).
For example, you might tell your partner “I know this conversation is hard for both of us. I also know we both want to find a good compromise. Can we pause this conversation for now so I can regroup to make sure I can be fully present for our discussion?” Expressing yourself clearly and kindly will help you effectively request a productive break from your conversation (Related Article: Communication in Marriage: How To Take a Half-Step).
Set a Time Limit
Setting a time limit on your break might sound harsh or strict, but it doesn’t have to be. Deciding on a specific day and time to resume your conversation with your spouse can help both of you be mentally and emotionally prepared to continue. Surprising your spouse with a difficult conversation may catch them off guard and start things off on the wrong foot. Setting a specific time to start back on your conversation can help both of you decide how you’d like to prepare to talk again.
How long should you take your break? That’s up to you and your spouse. Some conversations might only need a five minute break. Some might need to wait months or years. The length of the break will vary based on many different factors, like the topic or urgency of your conversation. You and your spouse can determine the type of break that feels right for your discussion.
Once you decide on the length of your break, make it official! You can add it as an event on your calendar or set an alarm so you and your spouse can both remember and prepare to reconvene.
Approach Your Break with Patience
So you’ve talked about your break, you’ve put the time limit in your calendar… now what? Be patient with yourself and your partner, and use the time to thoughtfully prepare to resume your discussion (Related article: What is Emotional Safety in a Relationship?) For instance, if you were upset or frustrated during your initial conversation, you might use your break time to work on regulating your emotions. You might decide to talk through your thoughts with your own therapist. Or you might spend the time considering you and your partners’ points of view and deciding how you’d ideally like to compromise.
No matter what you decide to do with the break, make sure you use the time to work on building an attitude of compromise and cooperation. Just because you are taking a break from a specific conversation does not mean you should take a break from building trust with each other or spending quality time together.
Good Things Take Time
Let’s say you communicate the break, you use the break to prepare, and it still seems like you and your partner need more time. Now what? It will be important to remember that good communication can take time. Don’t be afraid to utilize more breaks as needed until you find a mutual conclusion to your conversation.
Additionally, your marriage counselor is a great resource for extra help and support in these challenging situations. In marriage counseling you and your spouse can strengthen your communication skills and your relationship. You can also learn additional conflict resolution strategies that can help you and your spouse effectively make decisions together as a team.
Ready to find a marriage counselor? Start couples therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins