When you’re married, you fall into one of two categories: you either fear telling your spouse something or you fear not telling them the truth. My husband and I are a typical example of the well known saying that opposites attract. He has excellent ball sense, I have none. I’m a neat freak, he’s definitely not. But on a deeper, emotional level we are also different. When we met each other, we were only children and both of us had to do a lot of changing over the years to become better people individually. But some things haven’t changed. I’m still quick to get angry and quick to forgive. I still say stuff as it pops into my head and I can sometimes be judgemental. So how do two totally opposite people, with totally different personalities communicate the truth to one another?

I’ve always believed that telling someone the truth is like ripping off a band aid: just do it (it’s also like Nike). That was until my husband started telling me things in that exact way. I could dish it out, but I certainly couldn’t take it. And the truth is that he was the same. He wanted to be coddled and wanted me to speak to him in a calm and soothing manner when I had to tell him something that might hurt him. I tried that once or twice, but it felt like it went into one ear and out of the other without making a pitstop along the way. In the first few months of our marriage, I quickly realised that I needed to have a direct, simple and concise conversation with him if something was bothering me. He, on the other hand, needed to pick his words extremely (extremely) carefully when he needed to tell me something that might hurt my feelings.

The truth is that the truth hurts. When you need to tell your partner something that might hurt their feelings, chances are it probably will. If you’re on the receiving end of such a conversation, you need to learn to take it on the chin, process and move on. Don’t dwell on it. And if you’re on the giving side of the conversation, make sure that you know your spouse well enough to minimize the damage. Lastly, I want to say that the fact that you have an opinion doesn’t necessarily mean you have to voice it. Some things have a way of figuring themseves out in a marriage without having a hard conversation with your husband or wife. Pick your battles to win the war.

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