Every marriage needs a little tune-up now and then. Perhaps things aren’t working as smoothly as they once were, and relational residue is building up. When kinks come up in conversations that aren’t resolved, they don’t just disappear. In today’s busy world conversations are often cut off by interrupting kids, work, schedule conflicts, and much more. When you are having an important conversation or a disagreement and don’t resolve the issue at hand, this undoubtedly will become excess weight you carry around.
Unfinished business in a relationship is like a song that starts the first few notes and then suddenly comes to a stop. It’s nearly impossible to give your full attention to the present when there is a part of you that is being distracted about the unresolved past. What can you do to clean up this residue and make your marriage fresh again? Today, we are sharing tips for taking care of unfinished business.
Set aside time to “cleanup”
Set aside a time where you and your spouse can sit and have a conversation without distraction. Make sure the kids aren’t around to interrupt and your phones are off. This should be a catch-all conversation to tie up any loose ends. Take this date seriously as you would any other important appointment.
We suggest doing this once a month. Whether it’s a set date like “the last Thursday of each month”, or any time that works in your schedules, be sure to pencil in this time where you can talk about the extra weight you have been carrying around.
Use the “whatever happened to…” method
When you take the time to go over your relational residue, the “whatever happened to…” method is a great tool to start a productive conversation. For example, start the conversation by saying “Whatever happened to our conversation about childcare payments? It would be nice to have a final decision in place.”
Work as a team and try to resolve any issues that have been lingering. Take turns speaking and listen without being interrupted or distracted. The time you set aside to resolve these issues should be used for just that, and nothing more. Cleaning up any stuck gears in your marriage will take work, but will be worth it when things are running smooth again.
Provide a safety zone
One of the most important elements of conversation is to provide a safety zone where you feel safe to express your feelings without judgement. You don’t need to edit your words and you can say what is on your mind.
Communication meltdowns and unfinished business can occur when we don’t feel emotionally safe. Create a safe space to clean up things that have been on your mind. Your time together shouldn’t be a gateway for blaming or finger pointing, but a time to have a constructive conversation together so you can achieve results.
Communication is the lifeblood of a relationship, and when you have unfinished business it’s important to utilize your communication tools and work together to resolve things. Don’t wait too long to lighten your load – this can be a heavy burden to carry, especially when it adds up. Keeping a marriage fresh is hard work, but is achievable when you have the right tools. And the rewards that follow are endless.
If you want to explore more about communication and making time to have productive conversations with your spouse, check out Your Time Starved Marriage.
Do you and your spouse set aside time to discuss unfinished business? What are your tips or effective methods you have come across that help?