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4 Ideas for when Communication is Difficult

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Hope for the Hurting Wife

I’ve often found myself at a point of wanting to share my feelings with my husband, but feeling afraid of his response. Communication can be difficult, just in the day to day matters of a home. Add heartfelt emotions to the mix and a conversation can get intense pretty quickly. Maybe he’ll want to fix the problem; he may point out that I messed something up; what if he doesn’t even want to listen? Here are 4 ideas for when communication is difficult.

Communication is difficult and can be particularly tough in marriage. Here are 4 suggestions for when you are struggling to communicate.  


1. Write a letter. 

My husband processes information at a different rate, and in a different way, than I do. I’ve found that writing a letter expressing my feelings – positive or negative – gives him time to process my words and the intent behind them. If what I’m sharing with him is negative, I try to sandwich it between positive statements so that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed.

If I’m sharing a problem or an issue I’m struggling with, I try to remember to end the letter with, “Can we talk soon?” This lets him know that I want to continue the conversation in person, but it also gives him time to think about my feelings and about how he may be able to help.

Sometimes I just want him to listen – to hear and understand my feelings. I will share that in the letter as well. Men are wired to instinctively want to fix things. It’s okay to tell him you just want to be heard.

2. Go outside. 

Some of our best conversations happen outside on a quiet evening. There’s something about the fresh air, the sweet sounds of nature, and being out of the house. I don’t know about you but it seems that so much of our marital stress is inside the house – bills, repairs needed, scheduling issues – so actually getting outside our four walls can help immensely. We can enjoy God’s creation and focus on our time together.

3. Find a neutral location. 

Some conversations require extra sensitivity. Often these start in our home, maybe even move outside, but when we still can’t complete them, we’ll often talk about them in a neutral location. We’ve talked in restaurants, home improvement stores, a bookstore. We aren’t likely to make a scene if the conversation gets heated, and so we focus on being civil and getting through the conversation.

4. Make a plan. 

There are those conversations that require some time and effort. Often, we can’t see eye to eye, or land on the same page no matter how hard we try. We usually both have valid points to make in a discussion, but getting together to have the conversation (and complete it) can be tricky so we make a plan. We write it on the calendar, clear our schedules and come together prepared to discuss and to hear from each other.

If you’re looking for a place to get started in making a plan, I highly recommend Grace Goals. It’s a method rooted in grace to challenge you to set new goals – could be related to marriage, could be related to other areas in your life. The great part is that the goals can be determined between you and the Lord, but you can work through the Grace Goals plan with others.

Bonus: Hold hands. 

So often our conversations become heated because I am not always a very patient person. I get frustrated if I feel that my husband can’t understand my point of view. (I’m a work in progress….) When we hold hands, though, I have the physical reassurance that he is for me, on my side, willing and wanting to support me. The physical touch creates an emotional bond that often helps us through the tricky spots.

I always think back to the passage in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 when I think about our communication efforts:

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

The end of that verse brings me to my final thought:

Remember to pray. Pray for your communication efforts – that God would open your heart and your husband’s heart. Pray that God’s will would be your ultimate goal as a couple. Ask the Lord to provide what is needed. Remember, God’s plans are higher than ours!

Do you have other tips for when communication is difficult? Please feel free to share them in the comments so that we can all benefit!

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Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee For Your Heart

15 thoughts on “4 Ideas for when Communication is Difficult”

  • I looooooove these ideas, friend! I’ve used a few before, but not necessarily intentionally. However, next time, I will try to be more intentional about trying some out! Especially holding hands – I don’t like to be touched when in pain or angry because I tend to withdraw into myself in order to “deal” but I think that one might be challenging for me. And a challenge will help me focus on the task at hand rather than my feelings. 🙂

    • Oddly, my husband is the one who started the hand-holding. I’m like you – I don’t want to be touched when I’m battling. Holding hands really helped to diffuse the situation…which made me kinda frustrated, but I got over it. 😉 Just keepin’ it real here! 🙂

  • The first paragraph of this post…..that is ME. It is like you were reading my mind. It is the reason my husband and I do not communicate on a very deep level. At least they are my reasons. Making myself vulnerable to criticism and being ‘fixed’ or even ‘ridiculed’ is tough. Even after 20 years of marriage, we still have a long way to go in the communication department. **Sigh**. Great post, friend.

    • It’s me, too – that first paragraph. And it’s taken time for me to appreciate the male/female differences. I do like that he wants to fix things – I genuinely believe it’s his way, as a man – to protect, care, etc. He and I are walking that communication maze together.

  • Thank you so much for this article! It’s so practical and helpful. I can really see myself in your description!
    Thanks again!

  • When it is har I email my husband even if he is sitting across the room because he reads the email in the morning before the wear and tear of the day get to us both – All suggestions are worthy thanks for the short list of do-able ones

      • I’m going through rough patch now in my relationship due to texts and Facebook. My communication is not there. I have everything I want to say or ask in my head but it never comes out verbally. It’s hurting my relationship. My boyfriend said last night that I need to open up otherwise we need to part ways. I like the letter idea but I can’t hide behind the pen and paper. Any advice on how to let my guard down to communicate openly before I lose him?????

  • Hello There,
    I just found you’re website on Pinterest, and I’m very drawn to it, what good information! I’m 47 years old and recently married (6 months ago) and our communication styles are totally different & it’s new- so we definitely need all the hep we can get. I don’t mean to criticize- but I love the LOOK of your website but the light blue writing is VERY difficult to read. My brain and my eyes are working SO HARD to focus and soak up the information, lol. I’m hoping to return to the website and gain wisdom and grace fro your articles, we’ll see what happens!

  • Thank you for these ideas. I struggle to explain my thoughts. Frankly, I’m an emotional girl who rides on the wings of my feelings. The idea of holding hands is genius, so is the letter. I think seeing your thoughts in ink really would make you think about your words before they are passed on.

  • I love all of these ideas, but my favorite is definitely hand holding. My husband’s love language is touch, and mine is service. If I can use my love language to serve his love language during our tough conversations, maybe we could actually communicate! Now to figure out how to put it all into action. 😛 Thanks for the great post!

  • Hello

    I came across the link on Pinterest and find it to be very interesting. But what if either of those ideas work. When my husband is mad he don’t want to be touched as like everyone else we think differently he’s 56 and am 46. It’s to the point when we get into an Argument we shut down for a week and there is no Communication. Help

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