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Questions for Dr. Amy

Dear Dr. Amy:

     I want to visit my sister in Israel next Christmas, but I am concerned about bringing the subject up with my husband. Christmas is the ideal time for me to travel because of my work schedule, and because it is really the perfect time to be in Israel. Keeping in mind that Christmas is important to my husband but not to me, how can I broach the issue without getting my husband upset?


Dear P.E.R:

      Thank you for your question. Here are some general rules for having touchy conversations with your spouse that may help regardless of the topic.

TIP #1: Where you choose to have the conversation is in important.

Any time you broach a topic of conversation with your spouse that you know will cause friction, pick a time that is convenient for both of you, preferably in a public place that you both find enjoyable. This helps ensure that voices do not become louder than necessary, and allows you to choose a setting that is relaxing and pleasing for you both. Also choose a setting that has minimal distractions.

      *The comfortability of the setting offsets the uncomfortability of the conversation.

TIP #2: When you choose to have the conversation is in important.

No one wants to start their day or end their day with a disagreement with their partner. It is not a good idea to start a sensitive conversation that may take longer than you expect either when you and your partner are going off to work, or right before you go to bed. And yes, those two times of the day may be most convenient because you and your partner are around, but it is not in the best interest of your relationship. Too often people begin their days or end their days annoyed with their partner. Why? Because a sensitive topic is raised with both time and/or energy limitations that donít allow either person to feel as though they have been heard and understood, as well as decide on a compromise pleasing to you both.

Allow yourself and your husband the time and energy required to have the conversation without interruption. Explain how you feel about spending Christmas in Israel next year. Wait to see how he responds before you assume that he will be upset. Always approach the conversation from a positive mindset. You canít change your spouse, his behavior, or his reactions to you and what you say. You can control how you handle his reactions, honor and respect his opinions without de-valuing your own.

           Wishing you success in your communicative endeavors,

           Dr. Amy

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