Suppressing or withholding what is on your mind is counter to intimacy. It may be hard or uncomfortable to talk about it, but you probably should. If you say it with respect and tact, your spouse can probably handle the truth.
If suppressing has become a pattern in your relationship, you can – and ought to – make a change. It may not be easy at first, but it is so important for your marriage. (This is not talking about huge issues; for that you should get support and guidance from a professional. This is more about issues like “I really would like us to spend more time preparing for a beautiful and meaningful Shabbos meal.” “I want to set up a budget.” “I know I didn’t tell you for years, but I really don’t like when you buy me a Danish every week.” “I don’t want to go to your parents so often.”)
If you haven’t been sharing, it might be that you aren’t feeling so emotionally comfortable* to bring up uncomfortable topics or emotions. So together set up some ground rules for sharing.
- When one shares, that information must remain sacred in the marriage and not shared with anyone without express permission.
- After it is shared, you both won’t discuss it with each other for at least 24 hours.
You can start the conversation with words like these: “There’s something I’ve been withholding. Would you like to hear it?” “There’s something I haven’t told you that I think is important for you to know. Is now an okay time to tell you?” Wait for their acceptance to listen, then take a deep breath and share.
When your spouse shares something with you, it is so very very very important that you don’t judge or jump on it. Thank them for sharing “Thank you for sharing. That must have been hard to talk about.” and don’t talk about it with each other for 24 hours. And definitely not with anyone else. Only after a day or so should you begin to think about how to address it.
After a sharing, you might do something light and fun together to change the mood. On the other hand, sometimes based on what was shared, you may want to spend some time alone.
When you provide a safe place for these communications and guarantee the sanctity of their content, this kind of sharing can quickly lead to trust and intimacy – and improvements in your lives.
*!!!This is not talking about abusive situations.