Every couple will come to a point where one spouse will have to confront the other regarding an issue that is negatively affecting their marriage. Let’s be honest, nobody likes to be involved on either end of a confrontation. But if you find yourself having to confront your spouse here are some vital steps to prepare yourself:
Prepare your heart: Matthew 7:5 tells us to take the log out of our own eye before attempting to remove the splinter from our spouse’s. Nobody is without sin … so ask the Lord to forgive you for any sin that has infected your life because of the issue and to give you the wisdom, boldness, humility and gentleness that you will need to work through this process.
Prepare your proof: by “documenting” the destructive behavior. Matthew 18 explains that we may need witnesses to help back our confrontation. If you have people who have seen, or experienced, the issue being confronted invite them to be a part of the process. If you don’t have people witnesses … do you have any other “proof” like financial statements, screen shots, photos or videos that may come to your aid if your spouse refuses to acknowledge the destructive behaviors? The goal is not to shame your spouse but to verify the reality of the issue.
Prepare the desired action plan and potential consequences: What is the desired outcome of your confrontation and what will you do if your spouse refuses to take the action you desire? For example, if there is abuse going on … you want to inform your spouse that you and the kids will be leaving for safety reasons and will not be returning until he or she has completed a professional treatment program. If there is some illegitimate contact with another person, those means of communication must be broken and accountability employed. If it is an addiction … what treatment plan? Don’t confront without clearly stating your expectations of desired outcomes and changes of behavior.
Prepare your script: You want to carefully plan for what you need to say and how you want to say it. Every message has a fact and feeling side … as well as a verbal and non-verbal component. Strive to make sure you are communicating your facts and feelings appropriately; and make sure your non-verbals (body language and tone of voice) match the words you speak. If you shout an attack, you will probably experience a loud counter attack … and your confrontation will quickly deteriorate into a blame game. So, before you confront, write a script of what and how you want to share your concern … and then practice, practice, practice. This will pay off when you actually start to share with your spouse.