Below are three suggestions on how to speak up when you have to present a potentially hurtful truth.
1. Remove any negative emotion.
Using the example of kids, I understand how upset a mom can get when you feel your babies are being disciplined too harshly. However, when talking to your husband, tell him your truth as calmly as possible. Remove the anger from your voice. Take the emotion down so that he can hear what you are saying. Emotion can cloud the truth and put him on the defensive. Then, rather than hearing what you are saying, he is trying to defend himself.
2. Plan a time to talk in private.
You never want to embarrass him in front of other people. Whether the issue is small or more serious, keep it private. Privacy will equal respect to your husband. Whether his breath stinks and you need to bring it up or its more serious like you don’t appreciate how he disciplines the kids, privacy will be important.
You know your man. I’m not saying baby him. Only you know if he needs that. Use vocabulary that allows him to feel like you have his best interest in mind. For example: while cuddling, you can bring up the subject by saying something like this, “Babe, some time this week, let’s talk about how we discipline the kids. I know you love your babies and want what’s best for them, but I had some thoughts I want to discuss with you.”
3. Let love be your guide.
Attach love to the truth. Love is patient and kind. Love doesn’t dishonor others. When love is your guide, the truth can come across in a brand new light. Love doesn’t delight in wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. You will be amazed at how easily it’s excepted. Even when it’s not excepted, you will know you have done your part by presenting the truth correctly.
The truth has no emotional value attached to it. It is our personal experience that attaches a specific emotion to the truth. The truth simply is what it is. It can be presented in love, anger, fear or even shame. The manner in which it is presented is up to you.
It’s not okay to lie. The truth has to be told, yet when it comes to your husband, present the truth in a way that builds him up. You can’t determine how he will receive the truth. However, you can determine how you present the truth. There’s no need to hurt him with the truth.