Frustration can deteriorate a marriage, causing heated arguments and possibly even lead to a divorce. Sharing your frustrations with your husband is an essential part of communication. However, you need to keep in mind that there are ways to voice your concerns without causing World War III. Remaining calm and focused is key when sharing your feelings.
1. Identify the Source
The first step in sharing your frustration with your husband is to identify exactly what the source of your frustration is. Spouses often allow small annoyances to occur over time without objection to avoid conflict. However, all the pent-up frustration from these small annoyances can lead to a volcano-like eruption at some point if your husband does something to put you over the edge. If the act itself isn't particularly significant, you need to determine if it’s the accumulation of annoyances that’s really upsetting you before you attempt to explain your frustrations to your husband. You also need to discern if it’s really your husband who is upsetting you or if you are displacing anger or projecting frustrations that are actually coming from other areas of your life such as your work. Dr. Neel Burton, in an August 2011 in “Psychology Today” article describes displacement as the redirection of feelings and impulses towards someone or something less threatening. Before starting a discussion about your frustrations, it’s essential to know why you’re frustrated, if the conflict is solvable, and whether it’s really your husband that's frustrating you.
2. Discuss from a Calm Place
The middle of an argument or heated debate is not the best time to voice frustrations that are really bothering you or frustrations that are recurring. You don't want your concerns buried within the raised voices and tit-for-tat that comes with a marital argument. Instead, share your frustrations with your husband when things are calm and there are no other hot-button issues swirling around the table. Make sure you share your frustrations face to face and resist the temptation to hide behind the modern technologies of texting and email.
3. Separate Perception from Reality
When you face frustration that you need to share with your husband, one of the key realizations that will help you in the long run is to keep in mind that your perception might not always be the reality. Just because you believe that something is true does not mean that it is. If, for example, your husband sighs when he walks into the house, you might interpret this as you husband being annoyed because dinner isn't ready when the reality is that he's simply sighing because he had a rough day at work. Further, when presenting your concerns, be sure to stop and ask your husband questions to clarify his point of view instead of assuming what he thinks and feels. You should also avoid using hyperbolic terms, such as "always," "never" and "every time," as the American Psychological Association notes that these terms can alienate your spouse and are really inaccurate because in reality, things rarely occur "every time" or "always."
Marriage problems typically arise as a result of a disconnect between the couple as opposed to actual trouble with communication, notes Steve Stosny, Ph.D. in a February 2010 "Psychology Today" article. If you have a strong emotional connection with your husband, you're more likely to easily communicate your frustrations before they escalate; however, if there's a disconnect between the two of you, it's likely that you're also communicating poorly. You can help strengthen your connection by making an effort to rekindle that loving feeling: Schedule date nights, cuddle frequently and share words of affirmation.
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